Tuesday, July 17, 2012

多事之秋.... Eventful Autumn just became more depressing....

*Update: My grandpa passed away peacefully at 5pm on July 19 in his home in Sibu. RIP grandpa, we will all fondly miss how you loved us unconditionally over all these years. Hope you will find eternal joy in the better place.

I have just returned to Bangkok from a whirlwind visit to Sibu, my mum's hometown in Sarawak, braving 6 flights in 3 days across 3 countries. This trip was emotionally challenging, because I did not envision myself needing to make a trip to potentially say a final goodbye to one of the dearest persons in my life - my maternal grandpa.

Maybe I had been naive for a long time now. This great man is already 97, has 8 filial children, even more grand-children and great-grandchildren, and is such a great head of the house that he is hugely respected by everyone, what more can a man ask for?

He has now lost his ability to use his legs, needs to be fed and taken care of by a full-time maid. For every meal, he painfully swallows a few sips of formula milk, hardly enough to keep his weak body functioning, and yet, he called my name when he saw me, he still smiles when spoken to, and bravely swallows every mouthful of milk, though it tastes bad and his swallowing reflex is giving up on him.

Just a few years ago, when he was already well over 90, I had a 60+ year-old uncle complaining to me that my grandpa had better skin than him. It pains me now to see him shrivelled, his wrinkled skin dry and shiny.

I held his hand as I sat beside him, surprised to see that this little man's hands were as big as mine though I stand a head taller than him, even more embarrassed to realise that it was the first time I held his hand.

I accompanied him as he slept under the rays of the setting sun, watching his face disappear into the darkness as night fell. It could well have been the last time I saw him. I kissed his forehead when I left, ironically, also for the first time.

I hope that when I eventually bring Noah back to Sarawak, he will have the privilege of sitting in great-Grandpa's embrace. I hope that I can hold his hand again, and kiss him again. But I hope even more that as he fights for his life now, he can have happiness and peace in his heart, that he feels satisfaction over what he has done over all these years, and all the love we are showering him with.

Be Strong, Grandpa, we are all supporting you!

As one beautiful life is born, another fights to see tomorrow's sunrise. I would like to accept this as part and parcel of life, but it's just so tough to let go, just so difficult to say goodbye.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Stranger's random gibberish after an eventful month

Another month has elapsed.

A lot has happened. Too much, in fact, for me to take. There have been heart-warming moments, and even more heart-stopping ones. I even managed to squeeze a highly-effective whirlwind trip to Singapore in between.

I had thought that the most exciting part of my story in Thailand (work-wise) was the initial part, the ploughing the road alone in a foreign country with a foreign language, sweating and bleeding for the company when no one can actually see what I am doing.... but how wrong I am. Now, it feels like everyday is a battle. I have come to realise that I might be too young and naive to have taken up this job in the first place. Total commitment to the company is one thing, but being strong enough to lead the company through all sorts of unexpected twists and turns is another.

I guess for everyone in any job, there has to be a steep learning curve that we have to overcome to reach the next level, and maybe that's what they mean by experience. But does the process of building up experience always need to be devastating? Do good lessons always need to be expensive? Things have happened, for the better I guess, but they really make me feel that my time in Thailand is not as simple as it may seem, though I take heart that whenever shit happens, there will always be angels appearing out of nowhere to pull me out of the mire and lead me towards a brighter path. That is God's grace, and I am extremely grateful.

I will emerge stronger than ever, more prepared than ever for future challenges. The company is in better hands now, and this pair of hands will just become better and better, come what may.

And there will always be this cute little boy and his lovely mum waiting at home to shower me with shrieks of delight at the end of the day.

That, to me, is more than enough to keep me going.

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