I enjoyed the personal eulogies delivered by family of the former PM Lee Kuan Yew. It was interesting to subtract the politics from the old man. Of all the eulogies, Dr Lee Wei Ling’s was the most well written. She has a great voice. Nobody came close to expressing the intimacy in the family, or the heartfelt appreciation to the people who cared for her Dad. It was so distinct from her brothers and her nephews, whose version of family life felt as if he was there but not really there. (Of course, there was his job.)
In re reading their eulogies for their mom, I felt that the brothers’ eulogies were a better read than their sister’s. It felt like Dr Lee drifted away from her mom after childhood ended while Hsien Yang tried to pull their family closer.
I wonder if who was the favourite child. Were they hard to manage as kids being so clever all of them? Did they have favourite parent moments? To do activity X, ask Mama. To do activity Y, ask Papa. How do they resolve unfairness amongst themselves – is Hsien Loong the mediator? Is Hsien Yang the party organiser? I wonder how they felt when they found out about their parent’s secret marriage from a memoir. I think in normal households they would have talked amongst themselves. (“Why didn’t they say anything? An abortion? TSK!” etc). I’m not in their universe, it strikes me as unusual that as PM’s children they were “in every danger of being spoilt, indulged, and led astray”. Why would they be in more danger than other kids? I had thought that in the matter of being led astray, they would be well protected from it – having 24 hour supervision from school to home. I wonder if it could be the rationalisation for their deprived and perhaps overly strict childhood. If they had friends, I suppose they are carefully vetted to avoid trouble. Personal life must be hard for them.
They had rifts amongst them – Dr Lee said she left home once. What about Hsien Yang who tried to distance himself from his father by changing the spelling of his surname from Lee to Li? This act to separate feels as if to accentuate that he is not his father. A clean slate for his own family. At the dinner table, what do they talk about other than politics and school/work? As the single sister, Dr Lee took on more than her fair share of filial duties. Are all chinese families alike?
I spent a long time dawdling on the floor, deciding which goes where. They resisted being together. It’s sad that in two weeks, nature will take over. Some will move to where there is more space. There are those will stay, because they are too far behind.
C screamed and sobbed. It was more than an hour now. Before this, she was happy, doing word play in the bath. “Mama?”, she would call from her tub. “Ya?”, I would reply looking in.
“Papaya,” she said, “Papaya. Mamaya.”
So incredibly cute.
We ruled out hunger, obvious physical discomfort and fever. B took her for a walk. I could hear her screams floating up to our flat. A came out from the bedroom just in time to hear the screaming. “Can you hear Mei Mei?” I asked. “She’s crying.” He looked concerned, “I want Daddy”.
“Daddy’s with Mei Mei for a walk. Mei Mei is upset. Why is Mei Mei upset?”
“I want Daddy.”
I carried A – his shoes were in the car – and we went down for a walk. I tried not to heave but he’s getting heavy. Her distressed wail floated by. It seem from everywhere and nowhere. We found them finally. She was sobbing so hard, she got sleepy from the effort. A wore a look of distress. “Daddy carry A.” We went over to pat her back to distract him.
At home, all of us sat on my bed while she cried. What is it? We never did find out. It could be teeth because when I asked if her mouth hurts. She cried harder sitting on my lap. A came in, hobbling with a toy racket. “Old man,” he declared of himself. She laughed. We fussed over A who got his sister to stop crying.
I took a nap. In the living room, the kids shriek and laugh. B was making rules for a new game.
Later, I woke up to cover a red velvet cake box cake with frosting. Now it’s not the time to bake from scratch. The timing tests out there that says it’s not much quicker. They forgot skill. Not everybody can knock one up.
I love what Mr TCM did to this space. Under the black typewriter case is the shoe rack. When it is light, I see lots of green. I need to learn not to leave my pens lying around since anyone can just reach in and help themselves.
I was looking for Singaporean mothers who practice baby led weaning when I came across a blog Opinionation, written by Grace. I have been seeking parenting books to learn the right way of parenting. Even though I haven’t properly learnt the skills taught in How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk’, her strong reccomendation of Burton White interests me. I think I will get on Kindle.