Monday, March 16, 2015

40

These are all back-dated posts.

I dallied for a week, waiting for the family female birthday season to be over before I hoped to catch a breather and blog it all down, then Mr Lee died and I wasn’t in the mood anymore.

I’m still not in the mood, despite the March 16 right on top of this post, it’s actually March 31 and I’m writing all the birthday posts retrospectively.

So Mr Lee died a week after I turned 40 on March 23.

About the big event (my birthday, that is), an old friend said: It’s not the number, Shimian, it’s what you have achieved.

In the wake of his death, I feel terribly guilty.

Perhaps, such is the nature of funerals, to couch and view every action of the dead through rose-tinted glasses. But I really feel very small.

Apart from the value of frugality on which I am in complete accord with the great man on, he represents everything I am not. I will never live my life by one goal and one principle, I will never be as demanding of myself as he was, I will never think beyond myself and my own little family unit, I never think myself capable of changing anything aside from myself, I find it difficult even to tell others what to do, I am certainly incapable of harming a hair on anyone’s head for a loftier cause (sometimes I wish I could bring myself to).

Do I compare myself to every big shot who dies? No, of course not. But I suppose the deep immersion into the life of the man (for work, from Facebook updates) forces some reflection, on values in particular.

It’s been said that to live through an ideal requires a will as strong as steel. I am ashamed, my will is water. And I know now that surely, it’s true that nice guys never win.

Perhaps it takes a Japanese Occupation and turbulence to create steel wills. I wonder what Mr Lee would have been if he had been born in 2000. And I wonder what drives our leaders today, apart from the oft-quoted phrase about wanting to ‘give back’. Do they have steel wills?

Anyway. I say I have achieved nothing and my friend says, But you have three children!

And so, indeed, it was the little ones who brightened up my busy, frenetic, chaotic 40th, an important halfway mark which I thought I would commemorate in a big way, but didn’t. 

In the end it was the usual small annual rituals which prevailed, and it is these I will continue to treasure till I’m 80.

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* Cake and dimsum treat from Mum. Teng, Mum, Pa and us. KK took the photo.

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* Author of Big Day programme: Jo, in consultation with Day and Lu

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* The outcome

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* Presents! Lu (bag hook), Day (Uniqlo scarf), Jo (necklace)

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