in memories of
Hwa Chin Foong
a scrawny little boy you were, clinging on tightly to the familiar warm hands of the only person whom you trust with your life in the midst of the taunting, unfriendly faces of strangers which filled every corner of your eyes. you knew you wouldn't go back home anymore, you knew you will never see that familiar smile of the beautiful 9 year old girl whom you call sister anymore, you knew you had to be strong and brave. and there you were, only about 80cm tall, tiptoeing from time to time, trying your best to see what holds before you as the creaky ship docks the pier. breathing in deeply the salty air as the soft breeze caressed your skin ever so lightly, you know that this will be your new home.
you hid and avoided men in uniform whenever possible. you looked ahead in pain, knowing that you couldn't do anything when the japs tortured young kids and women during the japanese settlement. your prayers were your last words every dawn as your tired eyes quietly gave in to slumber for your father's safety as he goes out for work. you were afraid yet so angry deep inside, taking each day as it pass.
holding your baby boy on your right hand, looking ahead reprimanding both your daughters to wash their tiny dirty hands to get ready for dinner. you called out for your eldest to help set the table and walked ahead to give your wife a tight embrace. your children jumped in joy when they saw what was for dinner; your best dish, chicken chop from the western restaurant that you worked in. a chef by day, a father by night.
you woke up before sunrise feeling giddy knowing that this is the one day that your children and their children return home to your side from worlds apart. you held in pride, the youngest member of your family, your baby granddaughter while you played with your eldest grandson helping him arrange the stacking blocks. you mindlessly looked ahead in the midst of your children's business without realising, the edges of your lips spread out wide from ear to ear. you were happy that your family is once again, together.
ah kong, you are a friend to me; a big kid who loves to play with us, who entertain us, who gave us abundance of laughter. you are a father to us; who worries, who teaches, who cares. you are a simple man; who lived simply, happy and loved. i missed the stories of the Japanese you've told me, i missed listening to your problems, i missed talking to you like we did whenever we can, i missed having you around the table for dinners, i missed hugging you just to see you blush, i missed teasing you, i missed your goofiness and most of all, i miss you, ah kong.