The Never Ending Christmas Story Dec 2012

Never Ending means it continues on and on.

This December has probably the hardest Christmas for us.
We are missing Mom who had to leave us early to be home with Heavenly Father.

Nevertheless our Never Ending Christmas Story must continue as the family has always been appreciating humor and laughter. This was explained in the first story of Dec 2006 that was converted to a video clip.

Most important, we are sure our 'Unstoppable Mom' would not want it to stop. Some changes need to be made to this year's video Story as the music played must be produced by members of the Church according to Elder Chong Woon Han who is on his mission. On my request, he had asked permission from his Mission President if he could receive and view family videos from home for Christmas and he had received approval subject to the music condition stated earlier. I guess the music standard for missionaries was set for missionaries to avoid them from being distracted from their spiritual goals. Compared to the past video stories, the music will have to be very much toned down and it is hoped that the content will still have some humor and laughter in it to be enjoyed but probably will be more subtle.

Let's begin with a photo draft of the Story. All photos of the family are authentic but readers are warned again that the events of the story are part true and part untrue created for purposes of humor only.

This is the symbol of the “Mayan calendar” to mean the world will end on or around 21 Dec 2012. See how magical it is that when you scroll the screen down, there is perceived movement of the extended spokes!

Our family members including extended family on Mom's side in Singapore believed it and therefore at the start of the year 2012 proclaimed, "We will eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we will diet!"

Without diet after, our pulse and blood pressure will be out of control, Dad explained in a chart

Luckily our family had Angels from America where one husband can heal the sick with medicine and the other by singing soothing hymns.
As the world was ending, Dad climbed up the mountain

One after another mountain he climbed....

 .. to reach the tops of the mountains to pray each time for wisdom and direction for the family

His daughters waiting below the mountain with their men began to be jumpy and impatient with Dad for taking too long to return!

The Sons reacted differently

Son no. 1 just exclaimed he would become a missionary like his father and a sister before him to save the world in his symbolic proclamation

He would go for missionary training in Preston, England...

.... and serve in the Manchester UK area under a Mission President

Crying repentance and baptism to the people in the streets and public places before the world ended

Healing them with music of the Gospel if necessary

He would not drink and be merry like the rest but eating is fine

If the world doesn't end by Dec 2012, he will enter YaleNUS  to do liberal arts in Aug 2014 after his release from his 2 year mission as he has already been accepted as the 2nd batch of this new institution.

Son No. 2 Shuan began travelling the world to increase his knowledge like meeting a Nobel Prize Laureate in University of Western Australia with the hope he himself can contribute to save the world from diseases

Next was to visit a remote area to do voluntary service to the community in Libon Philippines... 

... and more service project by cleaning up the Bay area in San Francisco as he attended lectures in Menlo College in the USA

His last trip overseas for the year was joining the ward Temple trip to Hong Kong, a spiritual trip that would prepare anyone if the world would end soon

Son No. 3 believes if the Tsunami hits the beaches, he can outrun it to the hills as a sportsman

As a member of the school military band, he has confidence that he can always protect his mom

He believes in silent Church service to prepare for the next world if the current is destroyed

As for Son no. 4, Ray the youngest, he likes the world to still be around longer as he is growing taller each day

He just wants enough time to be able to eat more and grow taller than his Dad as no one else has done it yet

Ray did do a community service project for the world too by going to Yunnan China in a school trip 

Mom was never worried about end of the world. She just continued to do work for the dead by going with her extended family to China to seek more ancestral history....

In 2012, Mom had actually visited all of the extended family members of Dad's side living in Malaysia as with my oldest sister above.

With Dad's oldest brother

With Dad's 3rd brother

With Dad's 4th brother

She even sought to visit the sick like the children's 'Ee Poh' in hospital

She loved babies and children

... or she would love the young baby of her American Angels

and even the older baby by keeping him amused

.. and even babies from the wayward country of Mongolia!

Telling stories to the older children even in a moving train.

She must have always loved children. If not she would have stopped at 2 as encouraged by the government in Singapore in the early days

Instead she bore 6 children who are contributing to save the world in some way

She even added a number 7 child by adding Tuan Anh, a student from Vietnam that Mom fostered as a foreign student living in the hostel of ACJC under the junior college program.

It must be due to all her accomplishments and lives she has loved and touched that has sufficiently changed the world for better that it was time for her to return to her heavenly home, even if the world does not end so soon.

We got her to the airport just on time to catch the 5.15pm flight as per the LCD screen

We said our good byes in the departure lounge with much tears as we will miss her

But we know she will be happy telling her many stories of life on earth to others there and will be happy

As for Dad he is always left in a lurch, this time with the challenge of a new life in Singapore to care for the boys. Can he survive?

He looked up at the ceiling in the airport to see a dynamic modern art formation of golden tear like shapes of molecules in rows that started dropping

They dropped randomly at first as if it was chaotic but soon they appeared to be organized formations floating beautifully in the air

Like the boy, he was fascinated by how beautiful they were moving in organized rows like strands of molecules of life. Watching this inspired him that he can organize the molecules of his body and find success in life wherever he is and no matter how chaotic it might appear at first. Everything  moves in perfect sync.

Very soon he is on his feet running again to make the new life in Singapore a success

Well the final video came out but quite different from the above draft. The music constraint of the mission led to a different spirit or inspiration as the video clip was being put together. Furthermore the timing was such that December month on the 22nd happened to be the 30th anniversary of our marriage that led to the retro bit in the video clip. Nevertheless I believe you can feel and hear the laughter and humor that is always naturally found in the family!

As it was a special edition, being published on our 30th Anniversary month, The Never Ending Christmas Story of 2012 became entitled, The 2012 December familylane retro. It is hoped that this retro video style can be repeated every 10 years to see how the family continues to grow in their varied and different ways. Meanwhile, with some more time, we could maybe see the real Never Ending Christmas Story of 2012 out on this post below!

(Postdated Development comments : There was no time to produce another video so the pics from this 2012 year end story will be used in the 2014 Never Ending Christmas story found here.)

24 Dec 2012   Christmas Eve

Nieces are simply a delight and very touching is how I'm feeling this Christmas Eve or maybe it's the women in our lives that are always delightful and touching. While Mom is gone and her daughters had to go back to their own home in the US, the niece of Geok Lee and my niece in Singapore somehow are bringing good cheer for the boys and I for Christmas this year. On the eve itself, we were invited to the home of my niece, daughter of my 4th brother, in Singapore. For lunch on Christmas day, Mom's niece, daughter of her oldest brother, is hosting family members at the Raffles Town Club. Here are some pics from our Christmas eve dinner :

Here my niece in red on the far left is making sure all the delicious food of turkey, ham sausages and pork are in order for the guests who are mainly family members and some friends

Christmas style dishes is the menu of the evening plus even curry chicken!

Who do we see just on the other side of the serving table looking at the ham?

It's none other than Ray the youngest already at a head start with food piled up on his plate!

While the adults are enjoying conversations on the dining table and the kitchen...

.... the youth are playing board games at the patio

Grandma is enjoying her grand kinds!

Soon the boys are learning some latest computer games information from their older cousin...

... as the adults relax in the living room exchanging latest family news

After all the good food and bonding with family and friends, it was getting late and all began to leave for home

Not long after we  had arrived home, we got a pleasant surprise from our neighbor who brought a large dish filled with pies,baked potatoes and macaroni for us! We really feel touched and blessed by the love of our family and friends in Singapore. Life is still good indeed in Singapore!

Plan for Christmas Morning is Mom's niece is taking Ray and other younger ones for ice skating and later will meet us in the family reunion lunch. In the evening, we will have a fun time with the Monsons, a new couple that came to Singapore from the US early this year, who invited us for dinner and will have fun and games after. 

Late after 11pm in the night, we have a scheduled video conference call with Elder Han Chong in the UK  who can connect to all family members only, according to his Mission President, and that should be a nice Christmas reunion for all of us.

Look out for more photos and  videos that will be posted below.

25 Dec 2012   Christmas Day

The Day begins with the following posting on facebook for all our friends and family members :

It was nice to wake up on Christmas morning to find Ray, our Santa Claus, had woken up in the middle of the night to put up the Christmas decorations! He had been traditionally the one doing it in past years as recorded in a blogposts of 2005 and 2006 with a video highlight too. This year, understandably so, with Mom's passing, he was less motivated to do it earlier. We're glad he found the spirit to do it right before Christmas day!

We're at the ice skating ring as planned in the morning. Shuan and Ray are with their two younger cousins having a good time in an environment that is as close as we can get to a white Christmas!

Christmas Day Lunch with all of Mom's family members:

The parents get together in the lounge at Raffles Town Club

With the youth in their own group

A brief tour of what was served for lunch!

Everyone together

The children together

Christmas Day Dinner with the Monsons

The sumptuous Christmas dinner starts

Followed by singing of Christmas hymns....

....and fun with board and card games

A before saying good night photo

Christmas Day online family reunion with Elder Han Chong in the UK

Listen to his new British accent in a Google+ Hangout session with family members who gathered in 7 locations

Here is an excerpt of Elder Chong's Week 27 letter with the subject  (Post-Christmas & New Years - Photos Galore!):

Hello Everyone!

Thank you so much for all your Christmas gifts and thank you for the wonderful Google+ hangout that we had!

I had a fantastic Christmas and New Year's, and we did all kinds of stuff. I'll have to let the photos show you what I've been up to.

The Christmas Eve celebration at the member's home :)

Christmas Eve at a member's home, with 5 of us Elders squeezing onto one couch

My contribution to the Christmas Eve dinner at the members' home. I cooked stir-fried tofu with onions, Chinese cabbage with garlic, mushrooms and fu zhok, and a mixture of trimmed beans, peppers, corn and prawn mixed with olive butter :) The others brought fried rice, tong shui (prepared by Sister Loh from Singapore!) and pizza. Hence, we basically had a Chinese Christmas Eve Dinner!

Unwrapping my presents on Christmas Day

Opening the package I got from the Clementi Ward! I'll be writing them soon!

Me in my new suit hehe :D

An investigator took us to an Indian restaurant :)