Rest In Peace, dear Ku Poh Nona
I woke up early this Sunday morning to a rude shock. Mum had dropped me a Whatsapp message saying that Ku Poh had passed away earlier in the day (while I was sleeping over here). Although she had been ill for the past few weeks, the news caught me by surprise.
There is only one way to describe how I felt all day today – shattered.
The picture above was taken at my Uncle Doug (ku poh’s only son) and Aunty May’s house a couple of years ago during Chinese New Year. This is the last photo I took with ku poh, seated next to my sister on the left. Luckily, I did manage to see her at Chinese New Year when I was back in January.
Ku Poh was particularly special to our family. Besides the fact that Uncle Doug lived with us for a few years – and as such, we were exceptionally close – ku poh was always right there from the start. My sisters have more memories of her than I do from the stories they have shared with me in the past, but that is expected I guess, considering they are both older than I am.
Still, I have extremely fond memories of her. For one, she was an amazing cook. As kids, we would look forward to her coming over now and then whipping up an amazing meal for the family. She knew exactly what dad loved to it and was ridiculously meticulous with her cooking. As I remember, she never once used a blender – everything had to be pound, diced or cut julien by hand. And each piece was always the same size.
Ku poh Nona also loved photographs. She would collect stacks of them from any event – birthdays, weddings, festivals – and keep them in albums or wrapped properly in old newspaper. I always looked forward to time when she would take a couple of stacks out where everyone would sit for hours laughing at each other’s childhood pictures and trying to decipher who’s who.
She had a heart of gold too, although she could be really strict. My sister remembers how she would always complain, when we upset her, by saying, “Cekik darah!”. I was most afraid of her choice of punishment when I was younger, she would pinch my hands really hard. As if to warn me, she would always preface the action with, “Gua cubit lu eh!”
As with many relatives, we didn’t see very much of her as we grew older. Everyone gets busy with our own lives, she had grandchildren to take care off and would commute between her children in two countries, and siblings in a different state. Still, every time we saw her, she wanted to know what we were up to and was very proud of us.
I will miss her terribly and my heart still breaks every moment I think of her.
Goodbye, ku poh, and rest in peace. Lots of love from London.
12.25am Greenwich Meridian Time