Friday, December 26, 2014

To an old old friend.

Today, I chatted with an old old friend.
I recently connected with her.
It's been 40 years.

I think of how Jesus told the crowd,
God cares for the flowers of the field.
I thought of my friend.

I told her of Andrew.
I told her because I empathise with her.
I told her, life hurts.

I used to sing,
Nobody knows the trouble I seen,
Sometimes I'm up, sometimes I'm down.

To my old old friend.
I love you.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


To the Momma of a Chronically and Critically Ill Child,
I’ve seen you in those hospital rooms. I’ve seen you hand your child off to surgeons, not knowing if you would ever get to hold them again with a beating heart. I’ve seen you pray, hope, and hold on to faith with a sheer will that would put most to shame. I’ve seen you hold your babies with tears streaming down your face because this kind of sickness isn’t the kind that just comes and goes, this is the kind where no one can assure you that your child is going to be okay.
You are brave. You are strong. You are loving.
You fight for your children when they can’t fight for themselves. You hope for them and you stay positive for them, and then run to the bathroom just to cry in the stall where they can’t see. You research and talk to doctors and talk to other parents to find the best possible treatment plans and solutions to give the best life to your child. You take part in care for your child in ways even some in the medical field are intimidated by, dropping NG tubes, changing trachs, giving IV meds through a Broviac at home.
You go to the places no one wants to go. You know a side of the world that most would like to pretend doesn’t exist. You call your children’s hospital your home away from home, and while the rest of the world may find that sad, you see the hope. It’s the place that gives your child a chance at life.
I see you, momma. And you are loving that child unconditionally, just as you should. You are standing beside them come hell or high waters, and you are doing a good job. You are giving them the best.
You are their cheerleader. You are their smile maker. You are the one that knows their favorite songs and favorite toys. You are the one that knows how to calm them down, how to hold them, how to love them best.
While other parents know everything about their child’s sleep habits, you know everything about your child’s vitals– where their normal sats should be, what their resting heart rate is, their normal pressures. While other parents can talk about their kid’s feeding schedules, you could talk all day about your kid’s anatomy, what surgeries are next, or what treatments are on the radar. While other parents are teaching their kids to crawl and to walk, you are teaching your’s to drink from a bottle just to get rid of that dang NG, teaching them to bear weight on their legs and rebuild their core from weakness of lying in a hospital bed all day. While other parents look forward to going out on a date night without kids, you look forward to the moments when you can grab enough hands to shuffle around a bunch of machines and a hospital crib to just hold your baby.
You are brave. You are strong. You are doing a good job.
You are a mom. You would do anything for your child. And some of you have to brave the path that no parent should have go down. Instead of debating the best way to introduce solid foods to a baby, you are making decisions with doctors on quality of life for your child. Instead of choosing diaper methods, you are choosing between cremation and burial. Instead of planning a first birthday party and stressing over the details to make it perfect, you are planning a funeral… You are a mom. You would do anything for your baby, even when it means they are in heaven and free and you are the one left here to suffer.
To those of you, I see you. Hold on to hope.
This is not a path anyone chooses. You did not do anything wrong to make this happen. Your child did not do anything wrong to make this happen. This does not make you worse or better than any other parent. It just makes you different. You love your child the same, you just experience things differently than the “normal”.
Keep on doing what you are doing, loving that kid no matter what.
You are doing a good job.
You are a good mom.
A Momma Who Knows

Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas and Andrew's puppy.

I am glad my niece Katie put up Christmas decorations to her late mum's memory. This is the second Christmas her mum Karen had gone to heaven.

I don't feel like putting up the tree. Unlike the Chans, the Chins don't have the tradition of the Christmas tree. I will put the tree in my heart and putting up Andrew's puppy.

October 4th, 1989
I had no recollection who I went with and how I went; or if I did the things I intended to do. I did go to Newmarket and was at the Chemist shop at 277, Broadway. Suddenly, I wanted to buy things for Andrew. I had not prepared anything for him. I grabbed an armful of soft toys, and as I was about to pay for them, a torrent of tears flowed.

What was I doing? Andrew couldn’t play with them? Andrew was dying.

The girl at the shop saw me and asked if I was okay. She probably thought I was sick. I held the toys to my chest. My poor Andrew, Mum hasn’t given you anything. Eventually I composed myself and chose a little brown puppy with floppy ears and big brown eyes. I gave it to Andrew and put it in the bassinet. Deep in my heart, I had a sense of satisfaction. Sweet Andrew, Mum did give you something after all.
When Andrew died, I gave away all of his things except one, that little brown puppy dog. I kept it with his lock of hair. Then I kept it with my Christmas decoration. Every year, when we decorated the tree, I have told the children this is Andrew’s dog. In my heart, I grieve for Andrew. This is another Christmas he won’t be joining us. I told nobody about this.

This children’s song I used to teach my Sunday School class came like honey. Count your blessings, counting your blessings one by one.

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
I couldn’t remember all the lyrics, but the words “count your blessings, count your blessings” became real and comforting. I thought of all my loved ones, my husband, even though I had threatened to leave him the day before, my two beautiful and healthy girls, and my many friends.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Farewell my friend Leni

I wore this top Leni gave me.

Today friend M tells me that Leni has died.
Leni and I were facilty wives in NTU in Singapore.
Though I left in 2006,
Our friendship had not diluted.

I was most touched my Leni's act of generosity.
In 2012, I went to visit Singapore,
I remarked her beautiful top.

She took me to a boutique,
And bought this top for me.
The girl in the shop said, you must be a special friend,
for her to buy such an expensive top.

Last year, when I visited,
She took me to the Marina gardens.
Today, she has joined my Aunty,
and my baby Andrew in Heaven.

I will  miss you, Leni.
When I wear this top,
I will remember you.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Greenlane and National Women's hospital.

I was at the Greenlane trotting club. 
I looked across the road.
Emotions ebb and flow.
Here was the hospital,
Andrew stayed for 55 days..
We had great doctors, nurses and staff.
At the end of the day,
Andrew lost his battle.

Monday, November 24, 2014

25 years ago, today

25 years ago,
I buried my baby boy.
My daughter came home from abroad,
with a bouquet of flowers.
Thank you Gabrielle Chin

Sunday, November 23, 2014

walk for cancer, night walk.…/Banner-2suypp-bfed91…

1/2 marathon walk for cancer. What a great cause. Some of my friends did it. Very proud of them.

When I did my Marathon, I wasn't aware that I could raise funds. Now, my leg won't let me walk or run too far. 

We did it with light rain all the way but lots of fun. Thank you to everyone for their good wishes and to those who supported this very worthy cause.
— with Danika Rivers and Naomi Armitage. Lesley Mitchell.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Andrew's anniversary and my wrist bands


I wear 2 bands together. 
Yesterday at a meeting, they attracted attention. 
A speaker said she noticed and thought to herself, 
I was very artistic. 
I told her that it why I wear 2, so people would notice.

Wearing two bands attracted people's attention,
Some ask me what I am wearing them for.

Wearing two bands attracted people's attention,
Some ask me what I am wearing them for.
I tell them that it is ok to grieve.
There is no time limit.

Today is Andrew's 25 anniversary.
He is forever in my heart.

Andrew's 25 anniversary

 22 November 1989, the day Andrew grew wings and flew to heaven.

It's been 25 years, Andrew is always in my heart, the little boy.
Andrew's life had not been in vain.

We donated his tiny body for Science.

I only wish I had waited and taken a photo with Andrew,
after they used his body as a learning too. 
I was advised to say goodbye, because I might get upset with the cuts.

This photo was taken the day he was born.
We had already been told he was going to die.
So we were ready to let go of him,
He gave us 55 days to cherish and love him.

The doctors thanked us for him,
The nurse manager's last words were:
On behalf of the hospital,
I thank you for him. 

Finally, I am philosophical,
I wrote my first book on him.
Without him, I would not have become a writer.,

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Farewell Dennis Hii

 Photo: In remembrance of our beloved Tai Chi master,
our Lau Peng Yu Dennis Hii 许忠仁 passed away on 15 Nov last Saturday.
So sad and shocking.
Cherish every moment we are together!

His mum has become a bereaved mum,
Just like me.
Cry Mrs. Hii, Cry.

Dennis is special to me.
When I was teaching in Kai Chung,
Dennis was the house captain.
I was one of the house mistress.

I always remember this photo.
I went in 2013 for the class reunion,
Dennis remembered me. 
How was I to know that  would be our last.

For the loved ones,
Dennis left behind,
for his wife, for his children,
It's Ok to cry.

When your student dies before you do.

Monday, November 17, 2014

I voted for Skylight.

Skylight trust circulates my book in their library. Please vote for them.

2015 Medibank Community Fund Grants

2015 Medibank Community Fund Grants

Medibank has shortlist 33 outstanding health and wellbeing programs that bring For Better Health to life for their local community.

Community projects for New Zealand

New Zealanders have the opportunity to decide which community wellbeing projects will win 2015 Medibank Community Fund (MCF) grants.
Five New Zealand projects from the Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch regions have been shortlisted to share in grants worth $600,000. For the first time, Kiwis can vote for the initiative they believe will be of most benefit to their community.
City MenzShed Supervision

City MenzShed Supervision

Funding will enable City MenzShed to provide healthy living sessions for older and often isolated men in Wellington. With most participants suffering from some form of heart disease or other elderly afflictions that require healthier eating habits, the sessions encourage men to support each other to stay on track.
More information
7% of votes
Common Unity Koha Kitchen

Common Unity Koha Kitchen

The Common Unity Project Aoteroa aims to construct a purpose-built community cooking school for Epuni Primary School’s 90 students. The facility will increase food production of the school’s existing vegetable garden and orchard and feed the students daily as well as host other community activities.
More information
49% of votes
Garden to Table Trust

Garden to Table Trust

Building food literacy for the future – empowering and encouraging children to make informed choices around health, community and environment. Through a practical and engaging food literacy program for primary school children, Garden to Table Trust aims to provide students with skills and an understanding of healthy eating, so they can make informed choices and positive lifestyle choices in the future.
More information
4% of votes
Project Esther Trust: Music and Movement Classes

Project Esther Trust: Music and Movement Classes

Funding will enable Project Esther Trust to continue music and movement classes which support women and their families at risk in the South West Christchurch area. The classes give mothers the opportunity to build relationships in a safe, positive and supportive environment.
More information
1% of votes
Skylight: Getting Stronger in Schools

Skylight: Getting Stronger in Schools

Skylight has developed ‘Getting Strong’, a board game that helps children, young people and their families cope with grief, loss, trauma and change while encouraging openness and resilience. Funding will enable Skylight to bring the game to areas in Auckland that otherwise would not be able to afford it.
More information Vote 39% of votes

Skylight Trust

Skylight trust circulates my book in their library.  Please vote for them, I voted.

Skylight Trust

You are receiving our Skylight newsletter because you signed up from website and/or purchased a Skylight product. 
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and make a difference in young people's lives

Skylight applied for a Medibank Community Grant to donate our GETTING STRONGER GAME to 34 low decile schools in Auckland.

This year the decision of who will get the grant will be left to the public - isn't that great!!! Please vote for us. All you need to do is to push the green VOTE HERE button! This will take you to the landing page, where you have to pick NZ!

You will find Skylight at bottom of the page and you will need to confirm your vote with a second click!

Thank you for your kind support.

Your Skylight Team

Getting Stronger Game

The innovative board game is a ground-breaking resource which addresses the needs of the most vulnerable groups of children in our communities.

Click on the image to watch a video about the game and its advantages. 
The game helps:
  • Build resilience in young people aged 8 - 14 years
  • Encourages them to open up and gently begin first conversations around sensitive topics
The game also addresses crucial issues like parental break up, bullying, anger management, coping with domestic violence, death, dealing with a family member with a mental illness, addiction, serious illness and injury. The topics are based on requests from NZ specialists for practical tools to genuinely help, encourage and support young people caught up in sensitive and difficult life situations. We also wish to provide the training for the professional/support person to use the game effectively.  

Sunday, November 16, 2014

My friend Margareth Ang and her birds

Social media aka Facebook is an amazing thing. Margareth Ang was my facebook friend who became my friend in real life. She especially came to the restaurant in Kuching when I went back to Sarawak to launch my books.

She posted these two photos and gave me her permission to share it on Facebook and on this blog post. I told her why.

Your photos remind me of a personal story. Before I blog, I tell you. We were married 5 years before we had children, because my husband was doing his PhD. He was a professional student for 10 years. Towards the end, my daughter was born. He used the analogy of my daughter was like a little nestling with her mouth open. exactly like your nestlings. He forced himself to work hard and complete his thesis.

Thanks for the photo and nice reminder of an old story. My daughter will turn 30 in 3 weeks.

While there was so much joy when my daughter was born, I see the mother bird  feeding  the nestlings and sometimes the nestlings die. The mother  bird becomes bereaved.  On Saturday, November 22th is the 25th anniversary of my 3rd baby, Andrew. I too, becomes a mum with an empty nest.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Nadia and Ken Lim

Nadia mentioned her grandma, and her late Dad Ken. My husband and I knew Ken from their engineering school days. They did the same course and continued to keep in contact.  I imagine her grandma is still alive and hence a bereaved mother.

‘I grew up cooking with my Chinese grandmother a bit, but it was more my dad and my mum. They are both really good cooks, but very different. My mum is a recipe follower – she’s very good at that and she can learn meals if someone teaches her, but my dad was a natural cook. He could throw anything together with no recipe. He could be given anything and it would always taste good.
‘He taught me how to cook good Chinese food,’ Nadia says, before running through the ingredients for her favourite, the coconut rice dish nasi lemak.
Sadly, Ken passed away almost three months ago. While she says her family is doing as well as can be expected, there is no doubt the loss has shaken the confident businesswoman and forced her to reevaluate what is truly important.
‘I resigned from quite a few of my jobs because I realised I was doing too much and it was just silly. I wanted to spend more time with my family,’ Nadia, whose husband Carlos Bagrie works alongside her at My Food Bag, says as she wipes away tears.
‘I think, with everyone, you carry on with what you are doing, and because I’ve been so busy, it actually has been non-stop. When Dad passed away, that was probably the first time I took a break and could actually see what had happened over the past few years.’
Now, Nadia finds herself drawing on her dad’s roots as the host of New Zealand with Nadia Lim, a show commissioned by the Asian Food Channel that screens in 13 countries, as well as a role working with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise to promote our produce in the region.

Leprosy Mission and Nepal and Siamese Twins and me.

The ladies of Mt Albert baptist church has been invited to an entertaining and meaning day. The fund goes to the leprosy mission. I think of Sarah who went to Nepal.
Photo: Our Church youth Sarah Farmer is heading to Nepal with the Leprosy Mission.
Nepal has a special place in my heart.
In 1999, I helped raise funds to separate a pair of Siamese con-jointed twins.
My be Sarah might get to meet Jemuna, the surviving team,
Kai Paki and paki paki Sarah.

Mt Albert Baptist
Today, Sarah from Church was interviewed about her forthcoming trip to Nepal for the Leprosy Mission. When I took her photo, I told her that Nepal was very special to me. She knew about Jamuna and Ganga. I was so happy.

When I lived in Singapore,  I was involved with the separation of  Siamese Twins In 2000, I was privileged to be involved with two Siamese twins from Nepal. I answered an appeal and set up my own appeal in NTU.

I was actively organising a drive to raise funds  and I got to know the parents and their grand father. I was very privileged to see Ganga and Jamuna while they were still conjointed in their heads.

Their mum, Mrs. Shrestha asked me why I worked so hard for her babies. I told her about my deceased son Andrew, I didn't have a chance to fight for Andrew. But if I thought her daughters had a chance, I wanted to give my utmost to  Mrs. Shrestha to fight for the survival of her babies.

The separation process was a success, but things didn't end up happily ever after. Ganga died, and Jamuna is not exactly a healthy child.

I made a scrap book with all the emails, newspaper cuttings and photographs. I saw Jamuna and Ganga while they were still conjoined. This is a great privileged.
It was a very intense and hard work. But if I have to do it again, I will happily do so. The operation was successful and they went home to Nepal.

My photo taken with Mrs. Shrestha seated on the hospital bed, my friend Manchala and a Nepalese visitor.

I am doing this post for my new friends who asked me my connections with Shresthaand her Siamese twins.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

John Paul II Centre for Life in Auckland.

I detoured when I saw this sign, and remember a friend in another country where she used to volunteer in her Catholic church, and helped young girls who got pregnant.

In my Mail Order Bride and Cry Oppressed of  women. wrote of teen pregnancies.

Family Life International NZ's Founder and National Director, Dame Colleen Bayer, established the first John Paul II Centre for Life in Auckland.  The  pro-life, pro-family organization also has John Paul II Centres for Life in Wellington and Dunedin.  Each John Paul II Centre for Life has the blessing of the local Bishop.
The Centres provide a physical place where mothers and families facing a crisis pregnancy can come for practical help, support and friendship; so that they may choose life for their babies.  This offer of support is also extended to the sick, disabled, elderly, lonely, and those who may find themselves targets of euthanasia-type practices.  The Centres are also a hub for prayer, education and research on life and family issues.
The Auckland John Paul II Centre for Life is the administration hub for Family Life International throughout New Zealand.  In addition to the Crisis Pregnancy Centre, publications are produced, events organised and educational materials researched and compiled.   On site is also a gift shop Family Life Catholic Gifts, which has a large range of statues, rosaries, medals, Baptism, First Communion and Confirmation gifts.  This shop provides a source of income for the practical work we do in the Crisis Pregnancy Centre.

Family Life International NZ
John Paul II Centre for Life
569 / 569A Richardson Road
Mt Roskill

Phone:  09 629 4361