Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sands Manukau and KidzGrab.

When the Documentary, "It is Ok to cry!" which featured me on National TV, there was another group of women who were featured. They are the Sands Manukau. These ladies work hard in helping newly bereaved mums while they are bereaved themselves.

Recently I befriended AnneOChen on the committee.


KidzGrab: a company with a big heart.


We are very excited to be raising funds for Sands Manukau for the next month starting on February 2nd at 7am on www.kidzgrab.co.nz

We will be selling their Inkless Hand and Footprint sets for them to raise the $30,000 a year it costs to fund the awesome work these guys do.

Sands Manukau is a registered charity providing care and support to parents grieving the death of their baby during pregnancy or up to a year after birth. "We believe that making memories is a critical part of the grieving process and allows parents the opportunity to bond with the baby in the short time available. We provide Care Bags for all families that come through Middlemore Hospital, as well as offering phone support, monthly support meetings and a bi-monthly magazine"

The inkless kit (yes inkless no mess!!!) will go on sale at 7am 2nd February and ALL PROFITS will go to Sands Manukau. Please pass this on to as many people as you can and support the incredible work these folks do in our community.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Rainbow children: My darling Samuel

Last week, I learn for the first time the term Rainbow babies from a fellow bereaved mum, Caterine from Australia.

Rainbow babies are conceived after the lost of a baby.

"Rainbow Babies" are the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it does not mean that the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and the clouds. Storm clouds may still loom over but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy, and much needed hope.

Many mums for various reasons choose not tohave rainbow babies, and many well meaning people tell them, " You will be alright, you can soon have another."

For me, my rainbow baby came 7 years after Andrew died. I had not planned for him. I went through hell during my pregancy because I was worried I would have a repeat of Andrew.

1996 Samuel, the final chapter

He hears your cries,
He sees your tears,
Enough is enough!
He dries your tears.
He makes you laugh.

In January 1996, I thought I was having gynaecological problems. Every morning I met with my older friends doing Tai Chi. They were menopausal women so we talked a lot about women’s problems. I was bleeding when I shouldn’t be bleeding, and was dry when I was supposed to bleed. Once, I had a gush of blood rushing down my legs. I was really frightened. I went to the doctor and she said, perhaps the pills did not suit me, so she prescribed another type. She did this twice.
Around Easter, I told my neighbour Dorothy Debrah from Ghana. She was training to be a dietitian in England.
She asked, “Are you sure you are not pregnant? Some women bleed when they are pregnant.”
I had no symptoms of any kind, no nausea and no craving for particular food. I was climbing up and down a steep slope gardening. Dorothy frightened me and I insisted that CO took me to the doctor. We went to her and she wrote me a referral letter and rang the gynaecologist for an urgent appointment. We went to Dr. Selina Chua straight away. Dr. Selina Chua listened to me, and read the GP’s letter. She told me to get on the bed and hooked on the machine. The machine went Bop! Bop! Bop!
She said, “Congratulations, you are pregnant.”
I burst into tears. She was baffled. I was married and why was I crying? CO told her about Andrew. Selina was a very understanding doctor. Immediately she rang the radiology department to make reservations for a very urgent ultrasound scan. She recommended that I had an amniotic fluid test because I was 42.
Dr. Chua explained the options I had. I didn’t have much choice. I was too far advanced in my pregnancy to have an abortion by D & C, and scrape the baby away. I would need an induction to deliver the baby if I wanted to get rid of him. By induction, the hormone prostaglandin is intruded into the cervix. This hormone softens my cervix; the induction mimics the process of natural labour. Prostaglandins will usually cause ‘period type’ pains in the back or lower abdomen and these result in my cervix opening a little, to enable the midwife or doctor to break my waters. This artificial labour can be tiring and painful, and until the baby is expelled. Either way, the baby is killed in the process.
Selina said, “Let us not worry prematurely, and wait till we get the scan results.”
This didn’t pacify me a bit. I was crying and crying.
God in his infinite wisdom planned it that when I found out I was pregnant at 28 weeks; it was too late for a normal abortion. If it had been earlier on, there was no telling if I would have aborted the baby. The odds were too much against me. It was literally hell I went through when I had Andrew. Would I have the strength or be stupid enough to go through it again? I seriously contemplated getting rid of it. I remembered Olwyn Dickson telling me that it was terrible for a woman to go to labour knowing she was having a handicapped child. It was worse for me, I was going to have not only a handicapped baby but one that would die. My world had turned upside down, and helplessly, I was hit over and over by a sledgehammer.
They couldn’t scan me straight away because the clinic was closed for lunch. We had an hour to wait. We went to the cafeteria and I told CO I couldn’t eat. Food was the last thing on my mind. The horrors of the 55 days with Andrew flooded back. I was on tenterhooks. History was repeating itself. What had I done to deserve this? CO ate his lunch and I sat crying. I didn’t care that the other patients and their friends were looking at me.
The radiologist came back from his lunch and was very good when he did the scan. He had never encountered a Campomelic baby, and we told him, the most important sign was the femurs bending; you will see a kink.
I remembered telling him, “Check the femurs! Check the femurs!”
He reassured me that the baby was normal. I didn’t want anyone to say my baby was normal. The last time Dr. Tan said my baby was normal, my baby died. He told me the baby was a boy. I got no joy from this news. I think it was CO who told the technician to tell us the sex of the baby. All my previous three pregnancies, I hadn’t wanted to know. I wanted the element of surprise. CO later said, he thought if I knew I was having a boy, I might feel better. It didn’t.
We went back to Dr. Selina Chua. She made an appointment for the amniotic test. I was so confused and worried. Dr. Selina Chua informed my GP. My GP was very worried. The contraceptive pills she had prescribed me were very potent. There were a lot of male hormones. If the baby was a girl, she would be very masculine. I was thinking about the Campomelic SOX9 sex reversal. She rang CO to tell him this information and told him we were better to have an abortion.
This year in 2010, there was controversy over a gender row concerning champion South African runner Caster Semenya. She was suspected of being a man or of having male sexual organs. There were reports that claimed sex swap tests had shown she was a hermaphrodite. I thought of Andrew and other Campomelic babies whose sex was ambivalent. When people discuss Semenya, I refrain from saying, you don’t know about being Campomelic.
We had the whole issue of debate about abortion again, and I was worried. Though the scans showed the baby wasn’t Campomelic, I was worried that the scans were wrong. I went to the amniotic test. It was the biggest syringe needle I had seen; the technician injected the long needle near my navel. I asked if the needle would poke the baby, and she said no. The fluid the technician drew out was dark brown, almost black. I asked her why; she said she didn’t know. That was probably caused by the bleeding I had been having. The contraceptive was not foolproof; the human body sometimes gets tired of it. That was how I got pregnant, when my GP changed the contraceptive pills.
I was worried sick, and getting depressed. I was a mental wreck. The amniotic test results came back. Baby wasn’t Down Syndrome. We told Deborah and Gabrielle that they were going to have a baby brother.
Deborah aged 12, asked, “He is not going to die, is he?”
I said, “No,” without conviction.


To me, it’s like God saying, “Sorry for taking Andrew, I am making it up doubly.”
Time has diluted the grief in me. Having Sam helped a lot.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Thursday Theme Song: Leaving on a jet plane

My husband got a job as a lecturer in Nanyang Technological University. We were leaving in July 1990. As I was packing my things, John Denver kept singing this song. I was singing it to Andrew.

We went one last time to Andrew's grave. The mum who had buried two young sons next to Andrew told me, "Go in peace, my two boys will take care of your son. When I come, I will bring some flowers for your baby." She hugged me, and only a mother who has bereaved herself knew how I felt.

All my bags are packed I'm ready to go
I'm standin' here outside your door
I hate to wake you up to say goodbye
But the dawn is breakin' it's early morn
The taxi's waitin' he's blowin' his horn
Already I'm so lonesome I could die

So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you'll wait for me
Hold me like you'll never let me go
Cause I'm leavin' on a jet plane
Don't know when I'll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go

There's so many times I've let you down
So many times I've played around
I tell you now, they don't mean a thing
Every place I go, I'll think of you
Every song I sing, I'll sing for you
When I come back, I'll bring your wedding ring

So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you'll wait for me
Hold me like you'll never let me go
Cause I'm leavin' on a jet plane
Don't know when I'll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go

Guitar Solo

Now the time has come to leave you
One more time let me kiss you
Close your eyes I'll be on my way
Dream about the days to come
When I won't have to leave alone
About the times, I won't have to say

So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you'll wait for me
Hold me like you'll never let me go
Cause I'm leavin' on a jet plane
Don't know when I'll be back again
Oh baby, I hate to go

Cause I'm leavin' on a jet plane
Don't know when I'll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go



hootin--anni has a new meme.
IT'S ALL ABOUT MY NEW MEME THAT I HOPE SOME WILL FEEL LIKE JOINING IN ON THE CHALLENGE AND THE FUN [at least I hope the weekly challenge will be fun!]. It's loosely based on song lyrics [recorded songs since the beginning of time to today] and associating them with photos of yours...as I've done in the past...If you click on the link above, it'll take you to the Meme's Homepage for rules and buttons. There will be a Mr. Linky Widget for each individual week also. Do consider joining me sometime. Hope to see it flourish in time.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Bereavement: Drowning.

It is summer here, and so is swimming and water sports. I just watched the news that there are two drownings.

http://annkschin.blogspot.com/2009/01/warrior-star-drowning-at-bethells.html Bethells Beach, west Auckland, where the rising rugby league star twenty years old Sonny Fai was presumed to have drowned late in 2009. This is a favourite post of mine when I teach my students about water safety. They know about their sports hero, and this will sink in their little head.(Sorry the pun). The students especially remember this drowning and whisper, " He died!"

I was at a public reserve, (I decided to keep this place anonymous) when I saw something red in the bush. I wanted to go over to take a photo for my Ruby Red and Rednesday meme. Upon getting closer, my heart sank. Someone had drowned there. I don't think this is grave, but a memorial. A mother has lost a son. A waka/boat had stopped sailing.

Just recently, in Kuching Sarawak where my Dad chose to live his last days, there was a serious flood. Two persons died, a young student and her rescuer. The found the bodies at Sungai Maong, Kuching, Sarawak after the flash flood that hit Kuching last 2 days. It is harrowing, I lived in this area before I came to New Zealand. The victim wasn't even swimming, she was driving her car and the king tide and heavy rain caused these tragedies.

Read more: Kuching flood victim body found... - Galleries - New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/galleries/kuching-flood-victim-body-found-1.29067#ixzz1jeXQH8Lm

When I was very little, my grand dad used to tell us about the drowning of his 4th son.

Here is the excerpt.

I thought of two women in my family who lost their children. One was my paternal Grandma Chan. First, my fourth uncle, aged four, drowned swimming in Rejang River in Borneo.

We were frequently told how my Grandpa Chan cried aloud.

He lamented, “God, why did you take this favourite son of mine? Why couldn’t you have taken one of the others?”

Even when he was in his seventies, he was telling us his loss and how all the women folk sighed and shook their heads. He might be a grieving dad, but he shouldn’t have cried to his god to take one of his other sons. He gave him a grand funeral, which was unheard of at that time for a little boy. That little boy had a younger brother to call him, “Ah Ko” which meant big brother, so it was fitting that he had a funeral and be remembered.

Every year, at Ching Ming Festival, Grandpa led all of us to pay respect to his poor son. Forty years later, Grandpa, aged almost eighty, wanted to move Fourth Uncle’s remains to a new cemetery to a new grave next to his, Mum and Dad and Grandpa went to dig some dirt to put in a little box. It was a symbolic gesture to remove his remains. Mum said that Grandpa dug and dug, and there was nothing. It was very hot under the tropical sun, Mum told him to stop, he would find nothing. He refused; eventually he found a sole of a tiny shoe. Mum said that Grand Pa had loved his son very much. He had buried his little son in a pair of leather shoes when most people walked barefoot at that time.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New Bereaved Mothers in Sibu, Sarawak, Malaysia

Bereaved Mum Kong Yien Yien with one of her murdered children Amy. She posted a photo of herself and her dead daughter, Amy Ling with a heart wrenching message in Mandarin on her Facebook asking "Why did you kill my lovely daughter".

Photo courtesy of http://www.sarawakupdate.com.my/2012/01/victims-mum-post-heart-wrenching.html

Sibu Born artist Oliver Wong's : Cry of Desperation.

Sibu, town of my birth,

Last week, I wrote that I reconnected with many of my friends through Facebook. Especially with many of my friends from Sibu, the town of my birth that I had left in 1974. I said I would post photos for you. But I didn't anticipate posting this. But as a self appointed spokes person of bereaved parents, this is one that is from the heart.

Something horrible happened to the town of my birth recently. There are two sets of murders. In a small town, when such news made headlines, and with the internet, is made known world wide.

On January 6, 2012, Ling Tong Huat, his aged mother, Leong Nguk Lan, 76, daughter Amy 7, son David aged 10 were bludgeoned to death in their house on Monday morning at about 7 am at Oya Road.

Two women became bereaved mothers. Kong Yien Yien, birth mum to Amy and David, and serious injured Kevin. Though she had left the family home, nobody can take away the fact that she gave birth to them. Kevin is still in the intensive care unit with head injuries.

Li Xiao Lan, the step mother. How cruel could it be that she, the second wife, aged 28 was in police remand to facilitate investigation. and suspected of killing the family. She has since been released.

Sibu is a closely knit town, almost everyone knew everyone. I am wondering if Yien Yien is related to me, a "sweet potato/ kumara" relative, a term affectionately used in Sibu. Yien Yien and my mum shared the same surname.

That day of the funeral, they buried 3 generations, the most tragic was for them to bury their children. In my book, I wrote. the worst tragedy is for a white head to bury a black head. This is not supposed to be, a child should by logic , bury a mum, but this is not meant to be. Here Yien Yien and Xiao Lan did what I had to do, 22 years ago. That is bury our children.

I sadly tell you that you are now members of a club, bereaved parents, No body wants to join this club, but we are forced into it. My thoughts are with you and it is OK to cry.

Thank you, my ex student Kong Hie Ding and new face book friend Raymond Tan Chok Hui for the news.

January 11, 2012, Wednesday, Another mum became bereaved. Man in his 40s shot multiple times at Brooke Drive



Saturday, January 7, 2012

Artist Oliver Wong: Still Born

Oliver's painting "Still Born" My painting is to portray the emotions and feelings the parents have gone through having lost their babies.


Oliver when I knew him as a university student in 1978 in Auckland New Zealand.

Is it ESP or is it what the artist Oliver Wong says:it is just a coincidence I paint the "Still Born "painting. Now reading your blog makes it more meaningful..the emotions parents gone through...

I knew Oliver when I first arrived in Auckland in 1978. We come from the same town, Sibu in Borneo. I stayed with other flatmates, most of them from Sibu, and in fact we were called the "Sibu House." We were both in Auckland University, and like many others from Sibu, Oliver came to my flat, especially when there was a rugby game when the boys hosted a BBQ. We, from Sibu have a special affinity or bonding. Oliver left after his studies and returned to Malaysia. We stayed on, and I did not see him again.

This year when I started Facebook, it was like opening Pandora's box. Friends from my past started flying out of the box. I saw him in a mutual friend's Facebook, and I contacted him. Initially, he couldn't recall me, which was a disappointment. But I persisted and bingo, it's like 30 years separation never existed.

I found Oliver shares a lot of my interests, our mutual love for protecting the world and spreading this message. Oliver has a special gift. He is an artist. Last night I told him about my book, and gave him the link to my youtube: "It's ok to cry."

He posted this painting for me, aptly titled "Stillborn". I asked his permission to post the painting for all my bereaved parents, and Sands. It is a very sensitive topic to talk about, and Oliver had done it in painting.

Ka Pai and Paki Paki.
Oliver would know it means in New Zealand, good job and clap clap.

I sent my draft to Oliver to edit:

"Wow what a beautiful write up..seems like your thoughts just flows through your writing..impeccable ..I would be honored to let you share my painting "Still Born" to all the bereaved parents and Sands. I like " Still Born" instead of Still Birth, actually which is the correct terminology? ( Oliver, both can be used)
How did I start to paint such sensitive issues.. My paintings are mostly accidental..I normally started with a blank..then I just draw lines, add in colors and bingo!

"Still Born" came to my mind. It is a sad painting. Then I thought to myself "Who would want to hang this painting on their wall" You know us Chinese , very pandan one (Pandan means supertitious)..So it was left in the drawer until I saw your clips "It is OK to CRY". Only then I realised you and me are talking about the same thing.

Coincidence? I believe God works in a miraculous way..During that time, I painted another one which I like very much but not my wife. I called it the Miracle of Life..A pregnant woman, I just love the shape of the pregnant women..I will post it for you later..Looking at Miracle of Life..I was thinking how so many people take life for granted..that it took nine long months for the baby to come out and during that time hoe the mother have to loving caring the baby around. And those parents who so desperately want a child but cannot conceive.

This is a maudlin story, a very Melancholic topic. Oliver has done it beautifully. Thank you Oliver. Those of you who are fortunate never to have this topic affect you, thank your lucky stars or your God.

Here for all my friends who had still births, for Megan, Ellen, G, and those mums I met at Sands. , Sands Auckland,http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sands-Auckland-Central/112396652171998?ref=ts, Sands Manukau, http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002307489292 and those in the Campomelic group.http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/campomelicfamilies/


Friday, January 6, 2012


Jacaranda Mimosifolia The jacaranda tree is a tropical beauty with its clusters of fragrant, purple, trumpet -shaped blooms. For all the trees that were chopped prematurely. I chose this Jacaranda tree, the last time I was with mum in 1986, we were walking around the streets of Gold Coast. We both marvel how beautiful this purple tree it. I took this photo yesterday, and had no idea I would use it today.

With this morning's hot air balloon accident in New Zealand, I thought of the many bereaved people left behind by the eleven who died. There are bereaved parents, grand parents, spouses, and children. Those who died, hopefully were in pain for a short time when the fire exploded. But it is those left behind who are suffering the excruciating pain for a long time. Some of the family were actually following the hot air balloon and saw the tragedy unfold in front of their eyes.

The first time I experienced a youngish man's death, was my dad's very good friend. He had gone to England with dad in his late 20s. They continued to be good friends when they came back to Borneo. When he was 40, he collapsed and died of a heart attack. I was 15, and his oldest daughter was 14. Dad and mum took me to visit her mum and her. Mum said, I was nearest to her in terms of age. We went to her home in the evening before the funeral. I went and talked to her, and said something like I am so sorry, that she was so young and her dad died. We were not in a huggy culture. I can't even remember if I held her hand. I cried for her and for myself that I was glad my dad was alive.

When I was 33, mum died tragically in a terrible accident in Australia. Dad didn't want me to go to her funeral because I was at my late stage of pregnancy. Mum was 60, and I took this very hard. I couldn't sleep for many months, and my solace was writing. I wrote about mum as a child, I wrote about mum as our mum. Mum of 9 kids.

Recently, my brother Joseph told me that cousin M's husband aged 50 was very sick with cancer. His next email was he had died. I had never met this man. Cousin M was much younger than me, something like 10 years and I had not seen her more over 35 years. I cried for her. I recall one incident we cousins had which is in the niche of all those present. I wrote in my posts in my other blogs of the playground. I sent an email to her brother to send my condolence.

Poor M, she was very young when her husband died. He left behind two daughters in their early twenties. Last month, I was liaising with her sister C when we chatted briefly about M's bereavement. Then I connected with A who commented on C's Facebook. I asked her who she was, and she replied that she was M's daughter. Bereavement is not easy for her.

When I wrote my book, one of the reasons was to help the bereaved. I told A that I would like to do a post on her in light of the hot air balloon accident this morning in New Zealand.

I want to tell my cousin M that it is OK to cry, to niece A and her sister, cry, you don't have to be strong, and to all the bereaved families of this morning's tragic event, CRY!!!!!

Hot Air balloon in New Zealand

We have breaking news. Multiple deaths in hot air balloon disaster. Police have confirmed several people have died in a hot air balloon at Clareville in the Wairarapa.

Police say they were notified of the incident just before 7.30am.

The local health board has confirmed that 11 people have have been killed in the crash at the showgrounds, beside State Highway Two.

Former ONE News operations manager Don Cunningham lives in Carterton and saw the balloon take off at the normal time of about 6.40am.

Cunningham said he heard the gas burners going and saw the canopy going down in what looked like a controlled descent behind the trees at about 7.15.

Conditions were perfect with hardly any wind, Cunningham said, adding that the balloon wasn't moving very quickly. He said he heard screaming and shouting and saw a big pall of smoke.

There are a lot of bereaved people from this accident. Bereaved parents, bereaved spouses, bereaved children.

My photo was taken early one morning at my brother Charles' house on the Gold Coast. I was talking with him and my sis in law who had been up on one. I said I didn't know the fun of being up in a confined space for 3 hours. I think I said something which amounted to "opening my smelly mouth."

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission has opened an inquiry into the accident. An investigation team is being assembled with the first two of up to four investigators due on the scene about midday.

For the living

In my book, I wrote about a special friend, a cyber sister. I wrote about the Chinese saying, "TUNG BING SIANG LIEN", loosely translated as birds of the same feather flock. E lost two children to Campomelic dysplasia, then she had to fight cancer. I knew her through my Campomelic family group, and walked along with her when she first knew she was pregnant with a CD baby. I walked with her with her baby died.

I wrote about hoping that lightning won't strike me again, and here E is, being struck three times. E survived and bounced back.

E is a fighter, she is involved with the global genes project. She is involving her daughter in the heart foundation jump rope for the heart. Here, she is mirroring me, I used to donate to save lives of a pair of co-joint aka Siamese twins and the deaf children in Kenya. I too, got my kids to help me.

Is it through bitter trials, that our lives are strengthened and we have become more resilient?

I love you E and H, and K.


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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Do we take our deceased babies home?

A deceased baby is like moss on the rocks. Nobody wants their baby to die. But he did, and the moss is there to remind you of your loss. If you are not careful, and the rock is wet and slippery, you slip and it hurts over and over again.


on today’s Happening Now, things turned ugly when Rich Lowry, editor of The National Review, called comments made by Fox News contributor Alan Colmes “contemptible” after he remarked on something Santorum chose to do with his deceased child.

The debate began when Colmes responded to a question on whether or not undecided voters will truly stick by Santorum when it’s time to cast a vote. Colmes answered, saying that his rising support will stop short once people “get a load of some of the crazy things he’s said and done, like taking his two-hour-old baby when it died right after child birth home and played with it so that his other children would know that the child was real.”

A maddened Lowry then cut off Colmes, calling the statement “a cheap shot.”

“To take something that is that personal and that hurtful as losing a child and mocking it like that … that is beneath you, Alan,” he said. “What you’re saying is contemptible.”

Alan Colmes sees the practice of taking a deceased baby home as crazy. Seems to be a situation of making statements on something he knows nothing about. Vicki Culling,from Sands Wellington/Hutt Valley and our previous chairperson has emailed him to remind him that it's not a crazy practice and we do it every day in NZ.

I watched a documentary "5 hours with Raja" where a family had taken their deceased baby home. It was very touching with all the members of the family there to say goodbye to Raja. There was healing. I wish I had done that with Andrew. It was a conflict of culture, we were Chinese in a western society.

Here's an excerpt from my book.

Andrew 24 November 1989 Friday evening.

You left just like that,
In a little white box.
You look down,
And whisper,
I am not there.

Today, Andrew, my longed-for and well-loved son was laid to rest in Waikumete Cemetery. The funeral director tells me that it is the biggest cemetery in the Southern Hemisphere. Do I need a statistic like that?

We didn’t have a pre-funeral gathering. I wish I hadn’t agree to not viewing Andrew’s body after we left him for the autopsy. Chen Onn said it would be too disturbing for me to see his body all cut up. On Wednesday evening, I wanted to go to the funeral home to see him. The funeral director, who was a Polynesian said, I could if I wanted to. But I knew Chen Onn would not agree.

The Chinese brought their deceased loved one home. The body was never left alone. I cried for poor Andrew, lying alone in the funeral parlor. I cried for myself, I had three days, my heart was longing to hold Andrew, but I was in the house void of him.

We were in New Zealand and this was a white man’s culture and custom. I wonder if this helps in a mum’s grieving. Mum had said that the Ibans, the natives in Borneo, even hugged and kissed their deceased. I wanted to do that to Andrew. The Maori hold a tangi and it is similar to the Chinese custom.

When my dad died, we kissed him, we hugged him. My brother Joseph, nephews, nieces, my brother-in-law Kallang and I slept on pieces of cardboard on the floor of the funeral parlour. We took turns to sleep with him every night until the burial. Some of us stayed awake to company Dad.

I sent this to Alan Colmes.