Five years ago to this day, my paternal grandfather died after a fight with cancer.
My grandmother died a few months after.
So on Father's Day, we remembered my grandparents. Most of the family met at the Mandai Columbarium before noon. Visits to the columbarium are always accompanied by hot sunshine and humid weather. Today was no exception.
I stood there and thought of my grandfather, a man who loved Chinese paintings and collecting teapots. A man I once wrote about in primary school when made to do an essay on someone I admired. He was someone who was proud of his roots and was active in clan associations. He built a baking goods company. He supported his wife and six children. He was awarded a PBM (public service medal). He liked to take my hand and pat it as he talked to me. He often talked of going to see art exhibitions with us, but being young (and foolish) we'd get out of going.
My grandmother, I'm afraid, I know less of. I know she was always in the kitchen when we got to the house. She made the best kongbah and stewed duck ever.
So there they were, their ashes side by side.
And there we were - four of their children and six of their grandchildren - coming together to pay our respects to two unforgettable people.
There was no incense or paper money to be burnt. There were just some flowers. But there was family.