“No, I can’t hear you” was the oft-used reply to my half-deaf Ye Ye (Grandad) when I was a kid. A very imposing character who would always ask “do you hear me?” without failing to reassert his point of view. Everyone in our family secretly refers him as ‘ The General’.
I decided to start a new blog on Ye Ye’s 4th year death anniversary, and hence the birth of this moniker JongSu – by using the middle names of Ye Ye (Jong) and Por Por (Su). Jong in Hainanese is translated as ‘forever’, while Su categorically means ‘to group’. So it roughly means ‘together forever’.
They have played an important role in shaping the person I am today, and I dedicate this blog to them, as I share the snippets of my present life now without them.
21st December 2009
So who exactly are you and what is this blog about?
I don’t really know. It is mostly about my journey on self-realisation I guess. Over the years I have discovered that I wasn’t the extrovert that everyone believed me to be so, and I have sort of turned inwards, becoming more introverted in a sense after engaging myself in dharma and meditation practice.
I am an educator by profession, but I lead my life mostly exploring spirituality and holistic wellness. I don’t have very good fitness to begin with and hence I endeavour to improve my physical health via Bikram yoga which I really enjoy doing. I have also converted to a full-time vegetarian diet since May 2013 because there is just too much animal cruelty in animal farming, and my simple mind tells me that since I won’t die from not eating meat, I might as well just go on a plant-based diet which is good for everybody, animals included.
I really enjoy being alone, but I do hang out with my friends. That’s me in a nutshell.
A Longer Story about my Grandparents
My growing up years were spent with my Grandparents as my parents were working full-time then. The relationship between Ye Ye and Por Por (Grandma) was a schizophrenic one. They could be cajoling each other in the day but become totally hostile the very same evening. While they spent a great deal of time happily chatting and cooking in the kitchen together, pots and pans were sent flying (hurled by Por Por, of course) quite often too. Ye Ye was a very loving man, while Por Por was a very jealous woman. One episode had her threatening to divorce him – mind you she was already 70 years old then – over some real silly banter which turned malignant. You get the drama, don’t you?
Ye Ye (Tan Jong Kim, 陈永金) arrived from Hainan Island in 1926. He married Por Por（Chia Su Kiat, 谢组菊) in Singapore and both of them are Hainanese. He was 32 years old while Por Por was only 16. The bizarre coupling of two souls with such a wide age gap had always been puzzling yet admirable for me. Despite all their kinks, I grew up seeing and learning how to love through their actions. Though their personalities may be histrionic at times, they were real kind and generous persons whom I loved dearly.
Ye Ye died peacefully on 21 Dec 2005 while Por Por joined him on 14 June 2009.