A Joyous Christmas Season, Dec 2009

How quickly the year ends with the coming of Christmas.

In Late November
You can tell Christmas is coming soon when in late November, the shopping malls already have their Christmas decorations up to usher in the shopping spirit of the season! The reindeers are seen outside The Pavilion.

In Mid- December
Then at the Toastmasters Club, right in the middle of the month of December, the meeting has a Christmas theme with members encouraged to wear the Christmas colours of Red, Green and White.

5 days before Christmas
On the Sunday before Christmas, I was in the Church in Penang to take the above photo in a happy reunion of several long time members of the branch in Penang including Lyanne from KL branch on the far left. On my right are Woon Shuan (17) and Woon Ern (12) , my two boys who were personally ordained by me to be a Priest and Deacon in the Church in Singapore.
At the home of my former missionary companion David Soon (behind me) with my oldest brother and wife(right of me). Memories of my mission with David Soon in Malaysia are found here

2 Days before Christmas
Mr Poon Boo Tek, my old physics teacher, and his wife(pictured in the centre sitting down) returned home to KL for a visit from Sydney Australia where they had migrated to in the early 80s. A few teachers and students gathered together for a nice Chinese dinner in SS2 Petaling Jaya

Mr Poon was also my Karate master who not only taught me martial arts but was an exemplary teacher of humility and self discipline that had greatly influenced my life since my days in St Johns Institution. (1971 to 1975)

On Christmas Eve
With the maid having just left to return home after 12 years of service in our family and Mom not feeling the strength to handle a large Christmas dinner, we had settled for a simple family dinner on the Eve. Driving to Singapore, I would stop to get dinner rolls and honey baked ham and Mom would prepare the salad. We were prepared to do without the usual Christmas turkey on our table.
We were happy to have Sharon Wong with Derrick from KL who got a ride from me on this trip, to join us for our simple dinner.

We even had a small Christmas tree with simple presents from Santa.

On Christmas Day
Our first visitors on Christmas day were none other than our close neighbors Dixon Grant with his wife Chelsea and their new baby Desmond Sheng Grant. They had surprised us by taking the trouble to roast a turkey for us and brought it to our home for lunch.
I was honored to carve up the turkey as I usually do yearly to serve everyone on the table.
How wonderful our Christmas turned out to be, thanks to the Grants who truly brought the spirit of Christmas to our home with their thoughtful minds and kind hearts
Merry Christmas Everyone from all of us in Singapore!

2 Days after Christmas
A surprise photo was emailed to me from Su Min in Utah who went to visit our old friend from the mission times, Ralph Cannon, who turns 95 in April 2010! On the right is her friend Jay Liu. I have been trying to call him while in Singapore before Christmas to talk to him but couldn't get through and little did I know that Su had made that visit soon after Christmas! See a missionary photo of Elder Cannon in Kuala Lumpur in the early 80s by clicking here

The sudden departure of my Father

Friday afternoon, 20th Nov 2009

It happened so very quickly. After lunch, I got a call from a neighbour of my father's office who had just purchased his office. I was informed that my father had been taken to the Tung Shin hospital nearby. Apparently he had a possible heart attack and had to be rushed to the hospital with the help of his neighbours at the office. I had to cut short my meetings at the office but still couldn't rush to the hospital immediately as I had to clear some banking business urgently as I had a planned trip to East Malaysia first thing Monday morning. At that moment, I suddenly realized why I had online booked the air tickets just a day earlier for my staff for Monday morning but not for myself as some uncertainty came to my mind to cause me to leave out my own ticket.

At the hospital, I found my father on the ICU bed on the 2nd floor of the hospital. He fell into an unconcious state from a suspected heart attack at the rest room of his office floor. His heart had stopped beating when he was rushed to the hospital and was resuscitated by the doctor at the hospital. The doctor explained that the brain was most likely damaged during the time when the heart stopped working due to lack of oxygen to the brain. It could have been a good half hour before it was resuscitated at the hospital. See the following first pics taken at the hospital :

Friday night, Nov 20th

I was at the hospital till about 7.30pm with remaining family members who decided to return home for dinner or shower to return again later. Just as I got home for a few minutes, the phone rang from a family member who said the hospital asked for all family members to return quickly as they didn’t think he could live through the night. I was the first one to get to the hospital about a quarter past 8pm to be told that his heartbeat was very faint. At about 8.25pm they pronounced him dead and removed the ventilator that had been helping him to breathe in the entire time at the ICU. Soon the rest of the family members arrived and it was time to prepare for the funeral. See the following pics for the events that followed :

Saturday, Nov 21st

The casket was placed at a Kwang Tung Cemetery funeral parlour in Jalan Dewan Bahasa for all to come to pay their last respect.

Our family, primarily mom and the boys, rushed down from Singapore to join in the funeral rites

Sunday, Nov 22nd

In the morning, the family members had a chance to choose a site in a nearby temple to place the ashes after the cremation

More relatives and friends, especially from the Church, came by to visit in the afternoon with their condolences

Monday morning, Nov 23

Early in the morning at 5am I woke up to take the early morning watch at the funeral parlour. I had a quiet moment with my father perhaps for the very last time before his body will turn to ashes. I meditated and spoke verbally to him as if he were still alive with words to this effect, facing his casket with his photo,

“Father, forgive me for often being late to render you assistance when you needed me as I have been indeed a very busy man in my life. Nevertheless, I am satisfied that I have been able to give you the assistance that you critically needed while you were alive during your lifetime especially in your latter years.
Thank you for being the father that I know, a hard worker filled with integrity and professionalism; who provided well for his family, being always kind and willing to help others, all of which has greatly influenced my life and that of my own family.
May peace go with you forever under the continued watchful eye of our maker are my sincere thoughts and prayers for you this day”

Soon it was time for all the other family members to arrive for more ceremonial rites and the Cortege left about 10am for the Cheras Crematorium as per the pics below :

At the crematorium, the final rites & farewell :


Memories of my mother's funeral on in 1982 and her life with my father can be found here

Old pics of my father and part of his early story written for his 80th birthday in 2001 is found here (PC View only)

My reflections on Father's Day 2008 and my last significant meeting with my father can be read here 

My last Father's Day with my father in 2009 with my shared thoughts of him can be read here

His ashes are kept in a vase on the 2nd level of the green tiled temple seen above

The view from the floor where the ashes are kept, looking in the direction of the city

Dad's reflections on Woon Shuan's Birthday

Happy 17th Birthday Woon Shuan!

The account of Woon Shuan's birth has already been journalized at his blog . Interesting that the blog was first created on Nov 7, 2007 that noted he weighed 7lbs at birth. (See the Story of 7 ) Unfortunately has not continued to maintain the blog and this is reflective of the personality of Shuan that I will continue to journalize as I share my thoughts of his life on his birthday.

If you have read his blog about his birth, you would agree that is birth story would overshadow the stories of many others. However because he was not the first to be born nor the first son to be born or the youngest in our family, he grew up as the 4th child in our large family to be overshadowed by other sibblings. Nevertheless, Shuan as we call him and not Shaun, has shown himself to be one who progresses on a steady pace, keeping up with all the rest as the following pics show :

With his own unique situations in the following pics :