Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Remembering Dr. Sun Yat Sen

On our last day in Singapore, my wife suggested that we should visit the Nanyang Memorial Hall which is located along the "Balestier's Heritage Trail" where tourists could enjoy seeing several famous spots in one area. Our hotel was just located along the next street.

We walked under the blazing sun and found the sign that led us to the colonial mansion where Dr.Sun Yat Sen had once lived during his struggles for democracy. My heart skipped with excitement at the mention of his name as he has been like a historical idol of mine. I have watched much movies and read thick biographies about him, Chiang Kai Shek and Soong May Ling @ Madame Chiang.

The mansion's colonial architecture is nice and elegant with a huge neat sprawling gardens. I always believed that in my past lives, I must have lived in China during the era when the Ching Dynasty was falling with Dr.Sun Yat Sen staging revolutions. I feel some strong connections with him somewhere! Tell me where?

At the cozy and dim lit entrance, you need to pay $4.00 per adult to tour inside and admire all the old photographs and history. Inside there,  I got 2 shocks and learnt something that opened my eyes! I have been wrongly informed that China simply ignored Taiwan while the Japanese Army seized their country. The truths was, China was being forced to sign a treaty to surrender Taiwan. Now who is talking craps?

While some may be bored to death at such places, I loved every minute inside. I spent half hour looking at the many photos and salute those great names in this room. Now I know where the Singapore's landmarks got their great names from - Ngee Ann City, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Boon Kheng Road, Lee Kong Chiang, Wee Ah Hood and many others!

They were all staunch overseas Chinese supporters of Dr. Sun Yat Sen. All of these comrades were very selfless and risked their lives as well as sacrificed their families. Many were also being executed by the Japanese Army who invaded Singapore. My heart sank to the bottom of the floor!

When the Chinese Mainlanders started to boycott the foreign products, they created their own Chinese styled advertising.

The whole wall was filled with old newspaper clippings. The word " WELCOMED AT NANKING" made my eyes gleamed. Next week, I will be taking a bullet train from Shanghai to Nanking! Deja Vu!
 There were several floor to ceiling sized paintings to commemorate the life and struggles of Dr. Sun Yat Sen who is hailed as the Father of Modern Taiwan. I have visited Taiwan many times but I never found time to visit any of his memorials or museum. Shame of me!

Lastly, the above chart gave me the 2nd shock. Think about it.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Lavish Wedding In Singapore

I have been living off my suitcases this month without unpacking much except for dirty laundry. After Bangkok's grand funeral, I attended a grand wedding at Conrad Hotel in Singapore the following weekend. Next week, I will be off to Shanghai for a week's break and I still hope to find quality time there to read all your blogs.

Here my honey posed with the groom's sister who "dressed herself to kill" for the lunch reception. The hotel is so big with superb class services where you don't find any Bangla workers serving you.

I was attracted to this 2 lovely boxes for the guests to leave their "ang-pow" gifts! Yes, we have to pay our fees before you eat the food. The lunch table was tagged like (Sin)$1,800 per table. It really burnt a big hole in my pocket but the dishes were all fantastic and good enough to please the Empress Dowager. I cleaned all my plates dry!

The handsome groom is my wife's cousin and we are very close with his very kind and generous parents. I was not surprised to see so many relatives flying all the way from China, Hong Kong and Malaysia as a respect to the parents.

I always enjoyed myself meeting up with relatives from my wife's side which are very different from mine. Here they have drama queens, gossip queens and kings who would bring the house down with laughters. They are all very humble and would speak anything without 2nd thoughts! However, my relatives are too polite and reserved people who would laugh softly in the public! Adoi! I am not like this!

I must admit that all the Singaporean guests who attended were very well dressed from head to toe. Even the 2 ladies wore pretty wigs (See the photo) to look their best. Sadly, the worst dressed guests were from Malaysia and China! One relative-couple from Guangzhou wore plastic slippers into the ballroom with deplorable clothes but they live in a 4 storey house in China!! They have money but no dressing taste!

The bride and groom are very matching with their natural good looks. The 6' 1" tall dashing groom was a model in Singapore and currently works in the advertising industry like me.

 I heard Ah Hua scream so loud to show the groom's close up. So I had to steal his photos from his Facebook! Oh My God! I am a thief!!!

Okay is he handsome boh?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Thai Funeral @ Wat Sraket, Bangkok

It was the first time in my life to visit Bangkok for just a 1 night's stay. It was also the first time my whole family were just together in Bangkok and to attend the funeral of my mother's only brother. He was a doctor who graduated from the prestigious medical school of Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok before moving his practices to Philadelphia and San Francisco where he spent his retiring his last years in Thailand. He passed away in 2011 and had pledged to donate his whole body to the same medical school at Siriraj Hospital for them to do research and studies.

His body was released to his family recently after one year and he was accorded the sponsored Royal Funeral at the Wat Sraket (Temple) in Bangkok. Usually only the Royalties and High Ranking families would be able to conduct funeral rites at Wat Sraket. I am not bragging here but just wish to share some few photos of this high profile funeral for your own knowledge only.

Wat Sraket is a well known temple in the heart of Bangkok and attracts many tourists & worshipers who would climb their way up the monument. The above building is where the funeral and cremation ceremonies are conducted for the privileged ones.

Many distinguished guests were invited for the last day where long lines of flashy cars carried the VVIPs, Movie Stars and Hi-Societies including the former Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun. He has white grey hair and can be seen seated in the above photo. My brother and father sat behind while I sat with my wife and cousins farther back.

It is a funeral customary in Thailand where the deceased's family would specially print invitation cards to invite relatives and close friends to attend the funerals. All the attendees must wear full black where the men has to wear black ties and ladies in long black attires. The high society would often visit saloons to get their hair done with make ups to look good as their personal respects for the send off ceremony.

They have beautiful wreaths and funeral offerings for the altar and monks. My niece who is the well known actress and face for SK-II received the flowers for her grandfather's demise.

At the main hall, they placed my uncle's casket facing the seated attendees and mourners. It was beautifully decorated with fresh white roses and white flowers which made the air very sweet and fragrant smelling. It was the first time I actually saw white roses with my own eyes.

This is a close up view of the casket which was placed in front of the door leading to the cremation pyre behind.

A relative told me that the highest ranking monks in Bangkok conducted the prayers everyday. I had earlier posted these similar photos in my Facebook and was surprised to see several monks responded with comments and "Like". Time has changed and Facebook has become a necessity for communication tools.

Life is just a journey for everyone of us. Time flies very fast. We should lead a meaningful life and live our lives to the fullest. My late uncle was indeed a blessed man with his kindness and selfless deeds even after death by donating his whole body and organs to be cut up for medical research and studies. I could not even bring myself to donate my organs or cornea when I die. I guess I am a real coward! Tell me, have you pledged your organs after death? My wife bravely did long ago.

I am proud to say that my nieces and nephews in Bangkok are surprisingly all very good looking people. Here my famous actress niece knelt to give offerings and make merits for her late grandfather. Her cousin who is also my nephew in white shirt with Royalty titles to his name and is well known in the celebrity gossip magazines.

At 3:00pm sharp the Royal Guards from the Grand Palace arrived with the lighted candle which was being lit by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulayadej. The monks conducted the final rites and transferred the King's candle fire to light up the casket to start the cremation.

My very sad and frail mother was the first to place her joss stick and sandal wood flowers,

followed by the former Prime Minister, the Royalties, Thanpuying Natree Krairiksh,  relatives and even movie stars.

This is how the joss stick looks after being beautifully wrapped with candles and sandal wood flowers.

Here my other pretty niece carried the tray of joss sticks and offered to all the mourners.

This is how an honoured funeral is like in Thailand.

The Day My World Ended

At sunrise of 3rd August, my wife came to fetch me in her brand new car. She sped all the way through the morning traffic to Shah Alam. It w...