Sunday, October 23, 2016


Sunday, most people go to church, chill out, send their kids for enrichment classes. The kids go to Bootcamp.

Visiting the paternal grandparents is a routine that has stayed consistent for 12 years now, except now they go every other Sunday. The flat itself hasn’t changed much in two decades. Things have gotten dusty, creaky, faded, mouldy.


What’s changed is that everyone is older. The old folks have gotten slightly more eccentric in their ways, while the kids are fussier.

They really hate going up North on Sundays.

They have to wake up at ungodly hours, even earlier than school days, between 6 and 7am thereabouts so that KK can make it to the Kranji golf course at first light of day.

Before he hits the course, he first deposits them at the foot of the block of flats and they groggily make their way up with their individual bags of packed activities (work and books and phones and games and whatnot). Their noses wrinkle when they step into the flat because of the slightly musty, sour smell.

Jo sits very straight on the edge of the sofa because she says she doesn’t know any clean surface on which she can rest her skin.

The rooms which they used to play and sleep in as babies, they no longer dare to venture into.

Eventually everyone collapses on a slightly grubby mattress which Tata places on the floor because they’re sleep deprived.

* Lu with the loves of her life. BB and, er, Jo?

Once they wake up, without going into too much detail, they are afraid to eat and afraid to use the toilet.

* Lu's up. It's 1015am

They’ve outgrown the playground and mostly stick around in the flat getting bored and somewhat hungry until KK finishes his game and comes around to collect them six or seven hours later. There isn’t much communication as much as the kids going 不要, 不要, 不要 (don’t want) the entire time, with varying degrees of intensity. (in descending order, Jo, Lu, Day who finds it very hard to say no to an elderly person)

Lu comes back scratching away at her rashes, Jo always comes away with renewed determination never to go again while Day is flush with food nightmares. Some of the most intense, enduring memories of their childhood will stem from these Sundays.

* The kitchen they hardly venture into

But like it or not, they need to go.  As impassioned as their arguments are as to how traumatizing it is, they really mean the world to their Tata and Nene, and it is at times like these that I realize just important the word (filial) is in KK and my worldview. 

(of course it helps that KK golfs around the area on Sundays and when they're gone I have the day free)

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