Saturday, April 15, 2006

Quid Est Veritas is now 2 years old! Happy birthday, QEV!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Just came home from seeing Uncle Cham off at the crematorium.

We began the day early, collecting parents and SMA from their home to meet the rest of the clan at the Casket company. We had a short little service in our designated room, then went back down to street level where we trudged behind the hearse for a short distance as a sign of respect to the dearly departed. The sky above was full of gathering clouds and there was a light breeze behind us. Uncle Cham's favourite (Italian) opera music played softly from the hearse speakers and the whole scene felt like a John Woo movie sans any violent interruption.

There was another short service at the crematorium. 1st time I've visited the place. It's design is calming and tranquil, as it should be. Very clean environs, lots of running water and little goldfish (instead of huge, ungainly, koi) swimming in geometrically shaped pools. Immediately above the long escalator leading up from the basement parking lot is a skylight so if you raise you head a little while riding the escalator, it sort of gives the sensation of ascending into the heavens.

Our family has a light manner in dealing with funerals, but in this setting it was difficult not to be slightly moved. The service in the chapel room was... what's a word that suggests seriousness yet not quite sombre or solemn... reflective? But in the viewing gallery where we got to watch him take his last ride into the furnace, we played Puccini's 'Nessun Dorma*' on a portable stereo we brought and the music really brought out the drama and the finality of what we were witnessing, particularly as the furnace doors shut just at the crescendo, followed by silence for us to close our own psychological doors on another chapter in the history of our little clan.

After our last goodbyes, we made one more stop on the way out of the crematorium. A gathering/resting area where we refreshed ourselves and socialized once again. Made plans for dinner, reuniting us with our kin who flew in from Manchester (actually, Kit & family were already here on vacation when this unexpected turn of events occurred), London and Honolulu.

Life, as they say, goes on.

*BTW, this translates as "no one is to sleep." We played it because it was his favourite, not because there was any deep significance to the music. It just so happened to suit the occasion.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

How much will it cost to maintain our current lifestyle till the age of 88? June's friend, Francis, looked at our financial state, did some number-crunching and came up with a figure close to $2mil -- and that's for after we retire in 20 years' time. The mind boggles.

Francis is a fund manager with the venerable American Insurance organization, so basically tonight's meeting at Swensen's, Yishun, was to formally agree to let him manage our money from now on. We're going for a medium risk portfolio that invests mostly in growth industries in the region, some in India and China, and a smattering in the emerging economies.

By his calculations, he's got 20 years to find us our $2mil. Brave guy.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Just came back from Uncle Cham's wake. We had a little informal service amongst us family members: some hymn singing alternating with prayers for his immediate family.

Myself, I haven't seen him for years. In my memory, he still looks like the guy in the photo the funeral home provided, but when I filed past to pay my last respects, he looked so much older, I couldn't recognise him at all. Guess that means that he lived to a ripe old age, and as most things go, that's about as good as it gets.

As it turns out, the family really does seem like it's moving on in years. We cousins who played so often with each other as kids back then... now we're in our 40s and 50s. Our parents are in their 70s and 80s and our oldest nephew is already in his mid-30s and has just broken the news of his impending wedding sometime this year.

We're visibly older and greying, and it's something I hadn't really noticed before until today. But we're also still smiling and the clan is still united.
Another very long day. It was worth it, though. Issue #9 of NY conneXions is up, so go read, ok?

Monday, April 10, 2006

We're trying to get used to a new lifestyle at home. I don't get home till about 2000 hrs on some days, and June doesn't get home till about 2100 hrs on most days. This new job of hers is quite different from her previous one. The way I see it, her new job's more "normal" for working folks here in Singapore -- the high stakes, the high stress, the sleepless nights and the listless days (daze?). Her previous job was a dream in comparison, and I guess it couldn't last given the realities of our current economic situation.

It doesn't feel all that good for us to arrange to eat our dinners separately, but it's a better arrangement than getting gastric waiting for each other. But it's especially bad for Q-tip as she doesn't get to go out as much any more. She used to accompany us downstairs to dinner almost every night, but it's getting harder to bring her with us now that we would most likely have already eaten before coming home.

Wonder how the other more "normal" families with 2 working adults manage keeping these sorts of hours amd still have anything like a family life? That'll be something we're going to have to learn on the job.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Not much of an improvement from yesterday. Stuck at home due to a lack of imagination as to how to better spend my day. Resorted to getting a haircut and doing homework just to distract myself from some of the ennui setting in.

The haircut was scary -- I didn't have to sit in the chair long, and I noticed that my sheet didn't have the mass of wool it usually accumulates. Wonder if my haircuts are really worth $8 any more? I should ask for a discount next time.

Well, at least we took a drive out in the evening. Discovered that poor M2 got egged while he was sitting in the parking lot. The stains weren't recent but the presence of eggshell shrapnel around him and lodged in some of his crevices evidently point to a deliberate attempt to vandalize private property. May the perpetrator remember the number of eggs s/he wasted damaging my paintwork if ever faced with a famine of biblical proportions.

After spending nearly an hour at the car wash, we drove Mimi back home (she stayed with us over the weekend) then went to Causeway Point for dinner. Recognized a familiar voice, Cynth's. She was there with her 2 boys (her 3rd boy was running around looking for some electronic component at Courts) and domestic, fresh from a family visit to the zoo, she said.

Can't believe the weekend's over already.
I don't know what to make of today. It was either perfectly wasted, or perfectly well-spent. Apart from a quick breakfast downstairs, we never made it out our front door again. Annie didn't have a grooming slot available for Q-tip, so our main reason for going out vanished.

Spent the rest of the day alternating between watching TV and dozing off. That's almost a prelude to retirement, eh? June, however, inspired by Anthony Bourdain in one of the programmes she caught, decided to busy herself in the kitchen making a pot of Thai rice noodles that we had for both lunch and dinner. So another reason to poke our heads out of doors today went up in smoke.

So now we're quite well rested (look at the time stamp for this post), but my urge to go out and do stuff remains unfulfilled...