Never Ending Christmas Story Dec 2015 and New Year's Day 2016

Time passed quickly and I have been travelling extensively in the 2nd half of the year covering the US and China on top of my local travels within Malaysia and Singapore. Very quickly the year was about to end and Christmas was just a few days away. So I decided to just make quick posts in facebook instead of taking time to write this blog for Christmas. I then embed these facebook posts into my blog now to appear as follows :

2 days before Christmas, heading back to Singapore after a great time reuniting with family and friends in Malaysia! Travel safe everyone during this coming week of holidays!
Posted by Sun Fu Chong on Tuesday, December 22, 2015

1 day before Christmas in Singapore, "Honey I shrunk the Christmas tree!"Memories of our dear Mom of our family in the...
Posted by Sun Fu Chong on Wednesday, December 23, 2015

So all I have to do past midnight into Christmas day is to add the photo taken on the eve only with appropriate words as follows :

Shuan had passed his driving test in Kuantan and Han was with me in KL to clear some banking matters so that all three of us got back to Singapore late in the night of the 23rd to find that Ray, alone at home had put up the decorations. Ern was still in the army camp on National Service and could only book out to be home with the family on the eve of Christmas.  It was nice to have the Grants family invite all of us to have a nice Christmas dinner with them and we took this photo in remembrance of this special evening :

Click here to see Desmond as a baby in our home on Christmas day of 2009

It is just past midnite now in Singapore and we take this opportunity to wish all those celebrating Christmas to have a blessed time with family and friends.

The above is how I use blogger for my lengthier journals with the quicker facebook posts that are also timelier too to include them later by embedding them into this blogpost to create a smooth flowing account of events this Christmas season.

For more of my thoughts that flow to me on this Christmas season as well as more events towards 1st Jan 2016 whether posted on facebook or not but is important to record it in my personal journal here, they will be posted later to be found below. 

Christmas Day

Where the Thongs(Mom's side) and the Chongs(Dad's family) gather :

This photo is from Simon's facebook timeline shared with all. Thanks to Claudia hosting the big gathering at the Raffles Town Club where the the great buffet fed us all throughout the afternoon...ho ho ho!

Here is our extended family group photo from my camera. We missed Mom in it but I knew she was smiling to see her grand niece Beverly present whom I gave a 'high-five' to on her behalf when I saw her joining us late on the dining table earlier!

This photo was cropped to become my cover photo in facebook.

Here we're happy to see Justin joining us from the US.
Night Activities

It is not often that all the boys can get together on a holiday to play together in a sync internet game and so that is how they spent the night. 

Dad took the opportunity to do something more physical and....

...formed the 3 Musketeers to patrol the streets of Singapore on pedals!

Though the weather forecast predicted rain, the sky was clear of rain clouds...

...with the moon peering out of some clouds in the night sky.

The scene in the 'Gardens in the Bay' gave a feeling of a white Christmas in Singapore featuring an 'Ice Palace' on the grounds that charged an entrance fee of SGD12 per person to see snow inside. Unfortunately it was closed at the time we were there past midnight.

One of the 3 Musketeers, Matthias, seem to have some special spirit of Christmas that emanates light in himself as well as causing the buildings in the back ground to have a glowing effect, even shooting out laser rays to the sky! Expand this night photo to appreciate it.

Lim from KL also is a worthy member of the trio who rides pretty fast on his horse... bike I meant!

Dad the KL City Kid or Boynie(his real childhood name) was the camera man of the night. He had to make his own 'selfies' or in terms of the old fashioned days, use the self timer of the camera especially when all the 3 musketeers want a group pic together like the one shared above.

Musketeers burn up a lot of energy especially when on their pedals so eating local food like Singapore 'Hokkien Noodles and Satay' at 'Lau Par Sar' or the old market in the financial district was was a necessary activity!

On Sunday evening after Christmas

Dinner and Entertainment in a get together of representatives of 5 families from Malaysia, Singapore and the USA.

After dinner there was an impromptu entertainment by our in house talents :

As we listen to the talents within the family, Han earlier on the Christmas month of December 2015 participated in a concert organized by his Yale-NUS college :

Feelings and Thoughts of my Heart and Mind 

Looking back at 2006 and looking forward to 2016

Looking back at our family photo of 2006 above reminds me that our family in Singapore is missing 3 women in our year end family activities. One of course is the mother of our family, Geok Lee who is in heaven, and then the two girls in the US with their own startup families. Fei Min the oldest is in the West in LA while the younger Su Min is in the East in Boston who is expecting our first grand daughter this coming late Jan or early Feb! 

It was great when the girls could come over with their spouses to have our big familylane reunion in Singapore as they did in 2014 when the above photo was taken. Looking forward, I can imagine our nuclear family photo shot becoming more crowded as more begin to marry and bring along more kids of their own to our family reunion some day in the future. 

On the Eve of 2016

We can dream all kinds of things of the future like I did as a young boy nicked-named Boynie by my parents and called by all my siblings with it to this date. They are all older than me and never did they expect that this Boynie would have more kids than any of them! Neither did they expect a Didi to come by too! Predicting the future definitely isn't as accurate as recording something of the past so I will not dwell too much into the future but pray often for the well being of my family and also of my friends as my memory of them is somehow well entrenched in my Heart and Mind! My favorite saying goes as follows, "Live as if everything depends on You, Pray as if everything depends on God."

When I say entrenched, I mean they or my good memories of them are like attached to me with super glue. Let me give an example of something that happened recently that coincidentally led me to connect to an old friend that I had lost contact with for about 13 years. 

His name is Bill Shuetz a young man that came to Kuala Lumpur in the 90s as a lecturer in IT for a local college. Now he had returned to the US after his tenure was over and without the internet then, we used the snail mails to stay in contact. I will add photos to our story to make it more real as I have always done with my personal journals to this date. 

In Nov 1998, I had a trip to Los Angeles and we had arranged to meet. Now Bill is a vegetarian and I recommended him a Taiwanese supermarket that sold all the vegetarian meat looking and tasting products that were all made from soy bean. I remember that Bill was so elated and some of us in our group who followed him were amazed how he filled a whole shopping cart with them! 

I had also introduced Bill to my former Mission President, Talmage Jones who came from the Redlands to visit me in LA.

Bill also got to meet an old friend and business associate of mine Tony Seow from Utah who was running a business in LA at that time.

It turned out to be a nice little reunion for me in LA with old friends from the US. An interesting event that Bill invited me to attend was a lunch lecture/talk in his university by a speaker with expertise in International politics or relations. Right after the talk, Bill introduced the speaker to me and when he heard I was from Malaysia, this lecturer remarked something to this effect, "Malaysia? Why I actually wrote a book about Malaysia and cited it as a model country with good multi-racial relations with its people!" Then he added regretfully, "Unfortunately, I published my book in 1967" I immediately understood why it was regrettable. Well he couldn't predict the future either that records Malaysia had a racial riot in 13 May 1969 when the opposition party had a major victory to celebrate in the streets but were attacked by supporters of the major ruling party who lost. I was just 10 years old then to only remember a curfew was imposed to restore peace in the country which had no repeated incident since then but the timing was unfortunate for the writer!

Now something unfortunate happened that caused our relationship to be severed that is self explanatory with the next photo below :

After the post mark date of December 2002 in the mails that were returned to me, I didn't know how to stay in touch with Bill anymore with my regular snail mails that were sent out to all my family members and friends yearly, before email became common, as shared in this post here.

Then a weird thing happened just before I left for a spiritual China trip in November last month and I was sitting on my desk in Kuala Lumpur clearing out piles of paper, letters etc to find an envelope that was sent early in the year which I had misplaced and never opened it! 

Oh! It's 10 minutes to mid-night here in Singapore where the countdown will begin soon to start our New Year.  Without a need to send snail mails nor even emails today, I'm sending a photo link to Facebook, containing our history of experiences recorded in 2015, just minutes to the ushering of 1 Jan 2016!

With our family history of 2015 that I just managed to complete, which is mobile phone friendly too, I can share it with...
Posted by Sun Fu Chong on Thursday, December 31, 2015
To be Continued... 

Here is more...
The postmark of the envelope was dated in Feb 2015 and inside was a wedding card. Now the family name Shuetz sounded familiar but I checked every document in the envelope but there was no first name given of the father of the groom!

I pulled out the old correspondence file to find previous family newsletters from him and the last was in Feb 2001 where Daniel could be his son old enough to be married in March 2015 as in their newsletter, it was printed that he was 10 in the year 2000. I decided to check with a returned mission missionary from my facebook group named Emilie Wong who was from Irvine too to check if she knew Daniel's parents. She was not online and before she could respond, I found Bill was in facebook too as a mutual friend of his father. I added Bill and he accepted me in facebook so that we could make a video call to begin our connection again!

Such is life in the social media world. It beats snail mails and emails providing the connectivity that I seek with my friends and family members through time and places when I can't physically be there to spend time together!

Happy New Year to all of you out there listening into the pulse of my Heart and the brainwave of my Mind! Love to share something my childhood friend Thomas Poh posted in his facebook for the new year :

We met after 45 years of separation and got together again only because of Facebook! I met him in Seattle in a recent business trip to the US where he was introduced to a prospective business partner of mine who I discovered as intelligent as he was like many non-Asian Americans, would not understand the above writings that Thomas captured in this photo at the Doi Suthep temple in Chiang Mai Thailand. The reader can click on Thomas Poh's name above which has a link to our reunion meeting.

Hope to catch up with some of you personally sometime in my next travelogue visit of the future, which is very unpredictable as I have mentioned earlier! So far I have Travelogue1 and Travelogue2 for the past which I cherish. Until then, all the best to you and yours!