:: 2007, 2008 ::
I am so glad to have 2007 over and done with.
2007 actually ended with the demise of my granddad.
Granddad lived to a ripe old age of ninety one, and two nights ago,
He contracted pneumonia and passed away peacefully in the hospital.
When I went for Grandpa's wake, I was surprised by its sheer simplicity.
There were no monosyllabic chants streaming from the cassette player; there were no cloth banners-
No incense. No rites. Grandpa wanted the entire process as simple as it could be.
Just a year ago, he wrote his will, and specified that the wake should be non-religious.
If you insist, just put some fruits on the altar, to appease everyone.
He wrote that.
I think my grandpa must have been a wise man.
In his will, he wanted everyone to be happy.
Rejoice, for I have lived till past ninety, and that itself is a cause for celebration, he wrote.
And so, my mom and her sisters arranged for the wake on sunday, after receiving news of his demise.
The commercial organizers came and then decorated the void deck in the traditional Buddhist format.
With recurring chants and splashes of yellow everywhere.
Complete with options A, B and C.
Mom and her sisters realised that it was not what grandpa wanted, and fought to change it
While facing the onslaught of criticisms by the distant relatives.
"You're not filial," some said.
"How can he rest in peace," others added.
But mom and her sisters insisted, and replaced the entire wake setting with a spartan, simple
'No-frills' wake, with some flora
And a can of Carlsberg beer, wittedly hidden behind my grandpa's portrait, in front of the coffin.
To dispel any further comments from the distant ones, mom photocopied duplicates of grandpa's will
And distributed it generously to all that visited.
I was never close to grandpa, but I know that he was a great man.
A former school principal, and someone whose articles to the chinese daily was frequently published.
A dedicated binder of articles, lying close to his corpse, attested to his knowledge, his widsom, and his mastery of the word.
Even thought there was much to journal about - this eventful day one of the year,
My heart goes out to my grandpa.
For he embodies all, that came and left, leaving
A trace of indelible memory, that lingers to what remains of the night.
Tu ne quaesieris, scire nefas, quem mihi, quem tibi
finem di dederint, Leuconoe, nec Babylonios
temptaris numeros. ut melius, quidquid erit, pati.
seu pluris hiemes seu tribuit Iuppiter ultimam,
quae nunc oppositis debilitat pumicibus mare
Tyrrhenum: sapias, vina liques et spatio brevi
spem longam reseces. dum loquimur, fugerit invida
aetas: carpe diem quam minimum credula postero.