On 20th Jan 13, I was transiting in Doha Airport for my flight from Rome to Singapore. I saw my cousin posted a note on FB about the death of my uncle. I was shocked and found out that my uncle died of old age related complications. He was in his early 80s.
A few months ago, he had TB and we were advised not to visit him as it was contagious. He recovered from it, and I thought that everything was fine. Nobody told me that his health was extremely weak and he was hospitalized for some time.
Sadness overwhelmed me and I started to cry in the airport. I knew he lived a very good life, but I was sad because I did not have the opportunity to thank him for all his kindness and generosity over the years.
Back in Singapore, my aunt told me to prepare a eulogy, and I was in tears again when I started writing and thinking about my uncle.
Since I was very young, my mother told my siblings and me that Ah-Q was very good to my family. She reminded us that we need to be grateful. Ah-Q knew that my family’s financial situation wasn’t very good (when I was young), so during Chinese New Year, he would always give my siblings and me additional red packet (with quite a decent sum of money). He also told my mother to look for him if we needed any financial help.
He was a very thrifty person, but towards his family, he was a very generous. He embodied the good Chinese values where family and kinship is the most important thing in life. In the early years, there were as much as 17 extended family members (including my mother) staying at his little shophouse. As the big brother, he took care of the bill and fed everybody. He was selfless and really cared about the younger siblings and cousins.
He was the pillar in the extended family. Everybody has received kindness and help from him. At the wake, there was an out-pour of grief and sadness. Everyone was reflecting how great a person he was.
I was thinking: How many of us could be like him? Not many, especially in this modern individualistic society, where personal gain is more important than anything else.
I was also reflecting what would the best way to remember him.
Using him as a role model and remember the values that he embodied. There is no way I could repay his kindness and generosity now, but paying it forward.
At the end of the day, it's the kindness and love that matters.
A reminder for myself.
Thank you Ah-Q for your kindness.
I will always be grateful.
May you rest in peace. _/\_