Thursday, October 11, 2007

It's In My Genes

Jess met Alice the other day in church and somehow linked six degrees of separation to me. Alice said, "I remember Chris, she is very animated." Anyone reading this who knows me would most probably be rolling around laughing by now.

Yes, I can be quite comical at times. Okay... SOME times. Alright alright... Most, if not all, of the time, ok? Happy now? My mom called me a cartoon when I was a kid. As far as memory serves me, I've always liked making ppl laugh. Sometimes it's fun, sometimes it's tiring and sometimes it's just plain painful. But when a person laughs... it was worth it. Weird huh?

Which makes me wonder why I do it. I think it's in my genes. No, really. If you've met my family, you'll know what I mean. Since most of you never met my mom, here's a little glimpse at my family that raised the cartoon in me.

This happy couple...
This is actually my mom's 50th birthday. She'd just fully recovered from her first battle with colon cancer.

We invited the whole family, family friends, church friends... basically everybody to celebrate the victory with us.

Spawned these two rascals

This is actually some random shot my mom took of us and then we framed it up and gave it to dad as a birthday pressie. Haha... it's still on display at home. We scribbled some stuff on it. Dunno it you can see it.

As you would notice, my sis' hair has a funny colour. This was the tail end of her James Iha wannabe blonde top hair that shocked my parents into oblivion. Years later, I chopped off my hair to the spiky look and home-coloured it shocking red-pink. Dad almost had heart attack. Naturally, it was sis who did the bleaching and colouring. She's bad influence *tsk tsk tsk*

Lemon Meringue Pie
My mom baked her famous lemon meringue pie for one of my dad's birthday. Is my dad so happy 'cos his beloved wife slaved in the kitchen to bake this insanely tedious pie?

Not really. She always baked cakes for OTHER people's birthdays. Then my dad would come home, smell the wonderful freshly baked cake and just when he's about to pinch a piece. "Mike! That's for so-and-so's birthday! Don't touch!"

So this is like "Finally, she baked for ME!" Later on, my mom felt a little bit remorseful and everytime she baked, she'd pour out a small portion of dough to make a small, mini loaf for the family. Dad was happy with that.

My birthday

I quite remember this birthday 'cos I'd just woken up and walked downstairs groggily to find everyone sitting around the dining table, minding their own business and a nicely wrapped present on the table.

I think it was the year before, my 16th birthday, when my mom bought me my Ibanez acoustic guitar. I still play it today and it's priceless. Then this year they got me this killer Fender coiled sensor external pick-up. It totally rocked and was great for playing with the church band.

Mom's buddies

L-R: Auntie Hong Meng, mom, Auntie June, Auntie/Dr Helen.

Looks familiar? Guess who was the zanniest of the lot? They had a ladies group that did Bible Studies over tea. Syiok, right? Many a times, my sis and I wormed our way into these meetings to whack the goodies. Auntie June was my mom's best buddy. Mom probably spent more time with her in person and on the phone than with any one of us.

One buddy missing here is Auntie Lalita. She's my mom's wonderful prayer partner. After my mom passed away, she asked if she could have my mom's collection of prayer journals. You see, my mom wrote down every prayer request and wrote down the answered prayer in red in a column on the right. Needless to say, the right column was jammed full of red scribblings. I found them... there were at least 3 books. What an encouragement of God's faithfulness and Auntie Lalita cherished it very much.

Sweetheart Darling
This is Auntie June's daughter, my mom's god daughter and our god sister - Min Shen. This talented, funny, zanny, gifted little... well, maybe not so little anymore... 'girl' almost never came to be because some stupid doctor couldn't pick up a heartbeat during one of the routine pregnancy check ups. But, side by side... my mom and Aunty June prayed and cried, prayed and cried, and prayed and cried out to God some more.

She grew up in my house half of the time. My mom was ALWAYS feeding her until the time she learned to speak, the first thing she called my mom was - Aunty Mam Mam 'cos my mom was constantly asking her, "You want to mam mam (eat)?" When she was a toddler, we even fed her dried sotong. Haha!!! Oh crap... Auntie June and Min Shen don't know this! Oh well, now they know.

Every year, on her birthday, my mom would take Min Shen out on a date. It was amazing. You'd see this 5 year old kiddo joking and laughing with a 40 year old lady over cakes and desserts. Then she started calling my mom her 'sweetheart darling'. Kiddo... YOU are our sweetheart darling. Sis and I still try to take her out whenever we're in town. We're so proud to have this little sister who's grown into a fine young lady with a pet rabbit named Char Siew. Haha!!!

The last birthday...
This is the last birthday my mom celebrated. It was her 51st. She passed away about a week or 2 after.

She's wearing what we called the Paddington Bear hat. Sis got it for her since her hair didn't quite grow back after we stopped the chemo. Despite the pain and imminent death lurking just round the corner... my mom still smiled wide... always. Of course, her tea buddies celebrated with a spread of tea and cakes - and the two rascals still wormed their way through the treats.

It's in the genes
So you see... my zanny character is a colourful inheritence from these two wonderful people who are my parents. Laughter is the DNA of my family - peptides and nucleotides of loving experiences, double helixed into the person that I am today.

This is probably the most romantic picture I have of my parents. My dad was never very expressive in his affections. I don't remember ever seeing my parents walking hand in hand but their love was displayed in a wealth of invisible ways:

My parents hosted Christmas dinner every year. Dad would spend a bomb on roasted turkey, gammond ham and my mom would slave in the kitchen for hours to cook the sauces, salads and the rest of the feast. My mom remembered everyone's birthday by heart and she would have a personalised gift ready. I don't know how she did it. Walking around a shopping mall. she'd spot something nice for someone. Everywhere my parents went, they'd pick up stuff for friends and family back home. If anyone was in financial need, my dad always said, "Just take first." Oh, there is so much more.

So, everything that I am today, mostly the good and some of the bad, is inherited - either genetically or just by the blessedness of having been raised by mom and dad.

Next up... I'll try to post something on my extended family of aunties, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews... all lah!

1 comment:

minshen said...

whoa what a picture!

Lol, I remember those times. Good ones. Your mum brought me to parade when I was 7, I think, and bought me some Barbie Doll thing *ew*

She was like my babysitter! Sigh. Those days. And my brother would usually watch TV. And you had hamsters! I forgot the names but I remember the female had lots of babies and she was really active.