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Profound thoughts on death and dying

Just watched The Fault in Our Stars movie. It is about two teens dying of cancer. And when I came out of the cinema I was greeted with news that another planed crashed and more people died.

Reminds me of the time when I used to sit with cancer patients and after warming up with them, I would broach the subject of ‘the afterlife’ and if they are sure where they are heading. You see, some people who aren’t sure what is going to happen to them after death, sometimes find it hard to let go and die in peace.

The movie showed flashback of the mom telling her 13 years old daughter not to be afraid to let go (as in die if you have to).

With all these planes crashes and tragedy, I wonder if people also think of their own lives? We will all die someday. Or maybe in the next moment.

Maybe it is the oxygen tube and tank that stir up my need to write in length. During the movie, we have our little boy siting between my hubby and I. First I told little boy, “That’s exactly what Vincent had. We had three tanks.” Then, hubby who didn’t hear my whisper repeated the same thing.

Yeah, maybe that’s why I just want to ramble. Of the mini tank which we carried on our back, the 2-3 feet in height which we had to strap to a luggage trolley, the humongous one which our dumb doc prescribed and finally the oxygen concentrator which we rented, after finding a smart doctor.

Maybe I didn’t quite get over the people staring at Vincent when we had to bring him to the hospital with oxygen, trolley and a tube. Those idiotic people who stopped me in my track to ask kepochee questions while I was rushing into ER so that the nurses can fix the oxygen supply to their hospital main one (and charge me of course).

Whatever….I pause and thank God that I had my dose of such sobby-sobby stuffs in my life once. I can now better grasp life tragedies. Not that it is easier or less painful to see those family of the flight tragedies…but at least I have a bit more of the jigsaw puzzle of life.

During the movie, in the most sombre funeral part, the Van Houten Dutch guy made me LOL. He said, “This is where we pretend to pray.” I find that utterly funny. Because so many people think they are praying but actually, they spew a lot of nonsense.

Oh maybe, I am still quite sore with all those people who spew nonsense about life and death as if they had been to hell and back and can smugly talked like they know it all. I think I have not question God why these things happen. I have resigned myself to the fact that we all have to die, somehow. So I don’t ask why.

At the same time, I don’t spew religious nonsense and cliche words like God is putting us to test lah, God will not place a trouble too hard lah, God this, God that.

Looking at my last blogpost, I think I am making this Obnoxious blog looking like some depressed woman’s blog. But then, it is not like you can find someone who can actually relate to what I wrote up there. Plus it is not like FB is the place to talk sombre stuffs

So yeah, here is flushing some of the sick feelings of so many tragedies. While brushing my teeth, I think this year has been filled with more deaths and funerals than anything else. Right from Karpal’s shocking accident until now, it has been one tragedy after another.

It has been 12 years now

Dear Vincent

You would have been 13 now. I have plenty of 13 years old in my class so I do not need to visualise how big 13 years old are.

Today, I suddenly thought what you would have been like if you are still around. Sensible as I am, I know you had taken a better path. I know that 12 years ago, on May 1, 2002, you probably had decided you had enough. It was like a marathon run for you just by breathing, so said Dr. Cheang. All those drugs they injected into you and force fed down the tubes probably worn you out.

So yeah, 12 years later, I am actually glad you chose to stop breathing altogether and changed our world. It was hard but nevertheless, it was doable for us. In Christ.

Even now, if I hear the song ‘Winds Beneath My Wings’ it still scream ‘Vincent’s song’. So yeah, mommy never forget you. And guess what? I no longer wonder if you still remember us. Jesus did gave us many examples about life and death. So I won’t ask the question because I know faith will somehow reunite us one day. Or not. It doesn’t matter because you were never really far apart from my heart.

So, happy anniversary up there on heaven.

Next week, I am going back to UMMC PICU and walked the path where you had been. The long and crooked corridors, the quiet ward with machines beeping all the time, the gloomiest place on earth where parents prayed for their children to survive. The place where they wrapped you up in some old white-turn-gray bedsheet that costed me RM5, the metal casket that the morgue’s mandatory rule was to put you inside, but saved by Prof’s kindness who let me carry you.

Well, May 1, 2002 had been the darkest day in my life but I know it was also the turning point. I found God. Your brothers embraced Christ’s teachings and we got a little brother after you. So, yeah, all is not lost because we found God.

“Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” And I say yes! I believe. And if anyone can believe Jesus’s Beatitudes of Blessed are they who mourn, they have truly lived like I am now. Praise to You, Lord Jesus.

Happy blog anniversary to chanlilian.net – 9th year

February 14, 2005 was the day I officially moved from lilianchan.blogspot.com to chanlilian.net. Back then it was a big deal to go dot com. I couldn’t get dot com because some other woman in Hongkong had owned it. Anyway, I like dot net because it is like a fishing net catching blur sotongs. Dot com sounds too commercialised.

So happy 9th anniversary to me. I am one of the earliest bloggers in Malaysia, became quite popular and then, sort of fade when the blogging popularity waned. I have made quite a tidy sum from the strong advertising market in 2007 to 2009. In fact, must earlier when USD1 was equivalent to RM3.80, we bloggers cashed in on the pay per post.

Personality wise, have I changed? Nope. I am still as annoyingly obnoxious and still as self assured. Don’t piss me and I will leave you alone. But I am a bit tamer after I converted to Christianity. And now I have no choice but to swallow all the flowery languages back because of my commitment to teach.

My first blogpost was in October 23, 2004. That means I am going to be a 10 years old blogger in October this year. I still have the archieve on Blogspot. http://lilianchan.blogspot.com/2004_10_01_archive.html

Many bloggers do not last long because they are not writing from their hearts. Either they are writing about subjects or putting up fake personalities. But some of us are practically allowing words from our minds and hearts to flow through those quick fingers and turned them into blogposts. We are the gifted ones. We stay true because we are sincere. Of course, sincere doesn’t mean nice. It can be bad ones too.

You know what? After 9 years, when I read back, I realise I was pretty good in handling life. Parenthood, marriage, community involvement, women stuffs and all. I dont think I have cringed at any one of my old blogposts. I screwed some people on my blogs before and I haven’t feel guilty about it because I was right. Hey, I am never wrong LOL.

In these 9 years, many fellow bloggers have grown up, got married, got babies, got sick, got better, die, divorced, screwed up their lives, suicide and died, recovered, turn gay, converted to religion, dropped out of religion, fallen into pits of depression, became the old lady that they once made fun of me, became overly kiasu parents and more. It is sometimes nice to sit back, reflect and see how others are doing. And you get a picture that we never know what may come our way.

You have to know Petaling Street Project to understand what blogging in Malaysia was like. If you go huh? what? then, you are not worthy of the name ‘blogger’.

So happy anniversary to chanlilian.net. Remember the name – Obnoxious 5xmom.

Mother-in-law’s legacy fulfilled for this CNY

Today is the 5th day of Chinese New Year and I can finally put up my legs with a relaxed mind. No more list of things to buy, things to do and time schedules plotting in my brains.

I do wonder if it is worth the trouble, the cost and the works. And I think it is worth it.

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So many times, families only get together at funeral wakes. Ever notice how we Chinese only come together at senior members of the family’s death?

They will put on mourning clothes, go through mourning rituals and then, every goes their separate ways immediately after the body is buried/burned.

That is so wrong, isn’t it? That’s why it is good for us to have family members gather at Ching Ming and Chinese New Year. At least everyone gets to see and meet everyone minus the need to appear sad and mournful.

Many young people, including my sons probably do not see the importance of having family gatherings. I myself hate these sort of things when I was younger and just married. It was like putting ourselves on parade for scrutiny.

People wants to see how well your kids behave, how much your spouse is earning, how clever are your children, how neat you are as a housewife, how pretty is your girlfriend/handsome is your boyfriend and if they are making a lot of money etc etc. Yawnnnn….

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When family gets together they seem to have that ‘authority’ to probe deeper than regular strangers. That is why young people hate wasting several hours of their lives going through this ordeal.

 

 

 

I am not sure it is good or bad, but I dont really care about the who, what, how etc of each other’s lives. Which is why I am one aunty who never ask annoying questions. Just come, eat, say hello to the others and bye-bye.

I still find it weird how children from the same parents, born of the same family, grow up in the same house can somehow drift far apart. Well, if they are living far away, it is understandable. But if they are living within 10KM radius, I think something needs to be looked into.

Someday, I hope all my four sons will somehow get back together at least once a year. After all, I have showered them the same love, gave them the same support and though they are not all the best friends forever due to characters differences, I want to be comforted that at least they will do it in memory of me.

During these gatherings, whether my in-laws or my own siblings, I do find comfort that if our deceased parents/parents-in-law look down from heaven (or wherever you believe they are now), they will be happy to see that their offsprings are there as their children.

So yes it is quite disappointing that somehow, some of them have drifted off (those who live within 10 KM radius LOL) ….and they usually do not give us much chance to attempt to get them to come together. That makes me wonder – what do they do on Chinese New Year? I suppose we can only do so much. Tell them, ask them and whether they find it in their heart to come or not, at least we have tried.

Through the two and a half decades I have been married, some have died. Each year or maybe a few years apart, we lost some members of family, we welcomed new babies. The cycle of life.

The internet is a bad place, just so you know

Many years back, there were blogs and only blogs. So, those of us who chose to be bloggers were responsible for inviting our blog wars. We got no one to blame but ourselves should we get negative comments or dissed by strangers.

But now, Facebook and all the other social media sites have opened the can of worms. Now everyone can online. And hence, everyone get trolled, get dissed, get all sorts of negative abuses or in my favourite Hokkien term – kena tiu.

IMAC
(My old Sony Vaio, in pink and costed me over RM7K and my iMac which was confiscated by the police but returned to me in nice condition, but thats another story. This is a very old photo…now I am darn broke because I am no longer a blogger but some gomen people earning meagre pay but I think serving bigger purpose so its alright.)

For us the seasoned bloggers, we have developed a more cunning approach to things online. We know what to put up and what to say. Things have to be very politically correct online because you never know whom you can accidentally offended.

People tend to get so self-righteous and so full of opinions. I would call them so full of shits, actually. But do they know they are full of shits? No. Not ‘online people’. They think they are always right.

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For example, the other day I talked about laughing Buddha and refer as fat man. Someone got offended. So yeah, nothing you say can please everyone. The above used to be my collection of laughing Buddhas. Some of them are gifts. And frankly, I have no idea where I put them now, after I converted to Christianity. And no, it is not about religion. But you know lah….everyone wants to be seen as defending their faith. And even in this case, if there is one Christian who comes along, that person will accuse me of not being ‘Christiany’.

So yeah, online life is like the story of the donkey, old man and son. If you follow all the idiots’ ideas, your donkey will fall into the river, you wont have a donkey to sell and in the end, the old man and the son will die of starvation.

End of the day, everyone gotta learn that shits will hit the fan and they will probably get it. I got mine alright…been to the police station three times, been questioned like I am capable of causing a revolt and all that nonsense.

Ultimately, each of us have to face our own conscience. But unfortunately, nowadays, people do not have that conscience anymore. I teach my children and also the children in church that conscience is that little voice we feel within us when we do something wrong. That Jimini Cricket of Pinocchio. It is the godly voice within us. And for us Catholics, it is the Holy Spirit that dwells within us. The one who prompts us, pointing out right from wrong, that thing that prevents us from committing very bad things.

I am shocked at the kind of shitty opinions dished out by perfect strangers over several issues. People seem to see things from their miniscule mono-vision. Kids were left to fend for themselves in Sweden but do people see and feel their plights or the parents? No….these bunch of morons will talk about racial and religious issues. There is absolutely no compassion, no empathy, no feelings involved. All they see are hatred and animosity.

There are many more cases. I suppose if we do not have this freedom of being online and that accessibility, we will get less involved in all the negativities. But then, we will miss out the positive things.

So, welcome to the big bad world of online. You are going to get hurt, real bad. So be smart and play it well. Unless of course, you want to fight it out just for fun.

Carrying on that mother-in-law legacy

My living room is decked with Chinese New Year decor. We have a huge big red lantern at the front door, plenty of corny greetings on the wall which I have no idea what is written there and the mandatory Chinese pussy willow with the hanging stuffs.

plum blossoms

Last year, we didnt do any Chinese New Year gathering because we just moved into this new place and everything was topsy turvy. But this year, I took a leap of faith and opened and Event page. Invited all my in-laws, from the sisters of my husband to their children to their grandchildren and even a great-grandniece of my hubby.

Technically, I am a great grand-aunt. Not many people have that privilege so I must treasure it. Frankly, I dont even know what the little girl is supposed to call me. Her mother will call me ‘kim poh’ or grand-aunt. So maybe I am a kim-chor.

I said it is a leap of faith because I may have to single-handedly deal with feeding all my in-laws which can number up to 40-50 people or maybe more. My two sons have pre-warned me that they will need to work during CNY due to the expected high number of guests at their hotel/restaurant.

Chinese pussy willow

However, I told myself that I shouldn’t be afraid to deal with it because I had been doing this since I got married. Which means I have had twenty five years of experience dealing with the in-laws. Except that I forget one point – I am getting older and hence, am not as energetic as when I was in my 20s and early 30s. The number of the clans have grown and multiply.

But I am a queen of cheats. I can dish up meals using all the cheats of pre-made curry paste, one-pot dish and more. I dont know why but suddenly, I thought of my late mother-in-law’s reminder that her children must gather together during Chinese New Year.

Not many daughter-in-law has that privilege of being given the task. Moreover, my husband is the youngest. So yeah, I am going to host a lunch for my in-laws on the first day of Chinese New Year. It will be like a tradition from the parents-in-law time. I dont actually fancy doing it because it is hard labour. Yes, it involves sweats and muscles. But I think these little efforts have sealed in my children the importance of family.

These sort of family values can only be instilled when we actually practise it.

Currently, I am focussed on finishing my work. I hope to get everything published and printed by end of this week. Come Saturday, it will be down to serious business of carrying out my mother-in-law’s legacy. Though I don’t pray to her like the previous faith I adopted, I think she will be smiling from heaven.

Sticking to the basics

I am not sure why but suddenly, I realise if we stick to our basics, life is pretty well chartered out. Maybe it is the homily delivered by Fr Bernard about God’s mission for us. He said something about moving but don’t need to go too far. For example, he said John baptised Jesus and he was gone. John, I mean.

That sort of comforted me that though I know that certain calling, I decided that I am not going to see through them. Yet. I can see that if God’s willing, I am going to live for another say….20 years and I probably have lots of years to do what I wanted to do.

pom pom flower

So, meantime, I shall just sip my coffee, eat my cake, learn a bit more about my faith and not go the full mile. And what full mile is that? Someone asked me twice if I am interested to volunteer my time with some orphans. Another one asked me if I want to return to pastoral care in cancer hospital. The heart tells me to just go for the pastoral care course in Assunta. Another voice suggest maybe I should do more soul searching and then, jump into pastoral care if I feel so strongly about it.

lobster thermidor

But nay…I will just sit back, enjoy my kids growing up, do whatever work I am doing now, drink more coffee and eat more cake. Anyway, the above is the lobster thermidor my eldest cooked the other day. Well, that two lobsters are sort of my hubby and my evaluation that he is actually a great cook. You can say it is like the fruits of our labour. Those nights when he couldn’t sleep as a baby and we had to carry him, facing a white wall so that he could wind down. Either he was weird or we were lousy with our parenting skills.

jade cross

So, yeah….in as much as I love my religion, I will do nothing. And in as much as I desire doing more because I love my religion, I am just going to do nothing. Drink coffee and eat cake. Be a little nice. But not too nice. I guess God has His purpose for everyone. Mine is probably drink coffee, eat cake, until it is time to move on.

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Hooray to all the coffee and cakes in the world.