Friday, January 20, 2006

PSLE and my maternal grandmother

I didn't really miss my maternal grandmother until many years after her passing. It was upon listening to my mum talk about her and recalling the little things she had done to help my family through some difficult times that I started to appreciate the grandmother that she was.

I don't remember much about her funeral either, except that it took place on the final day of my PSLE in November 1987. It was the science paper. Strangely, I can still remember one question from that paper. It had asked us to illustrate by way of drawing how to let water flow down a funnel resting on a glass bottle into it more quickly. It stated that no other instruments are to be drawn into the picture. I took it too literally and drew the bottle with a little hole smashed in at its neck. The simple answer was actually to just draw a hand lifting the funnel. This I only realised on hindsight. Like I said, I had taken it too literally and thought that hands were not allowed. Oh well...

What I also remember vividly was how my classmates were shouting, yelling in jubilation when it was all over, then racing one another to the school field, footballs in hand. But for myself, I was dragging my feet and trudging slowly towards a waiting motorbike. My dad already had an extra helmet in hand ready for me and the engine was already revving. I knew where we were going and wasn't too keen about it. I took a last wistful look at my friends, already in action on the field, as we sped off towards the school gate. Some noticed my departure and gave a cursory wave or two.

Then we were out of the gate and onto the roads. I felt down for the rest of that day, and I cannot say it was due to the loss of my maternal grandmother. I feel quite ashamed about it now when I think about it. Heh. Incidentally, it was also the last time I saw most of my primary school classmates.

My maternal granddad is my sole surviving grandparent. I sometimes wonder how painful it is for him to outlive his Significant Other by 20 years. During the Chinese New Years, I will see him sit quietly and wistfully by the window, looking out at times but mostly at the TV. This against the background of the din the young ones make. A decade or two ago, the young ones were us, the grandchildren. Now, it is the great grandchildren, e.g. my niece. My mum's family is four generations strong now and every year, there seem to be new addition(s).

I wonder how often he wishes that she is still with him to enjoy such a sight.

Akan Datang: Drinking with Ah Gee

70 days to go.


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