Between two baptisms

Uncle Hee Lai at our Guo Da Li

Uncle Hee Lai at our Guo Da Li

On Saturday 5 September, Uncle Hee Lai was baptised.

So began eight days that were out of the norm.

A day later, on Sunday night, he passed away peacefully after a short battle with cancer.

He was Wynnie’s favourite uncle. And I know she was his favourite niece.

Monday was the wake. I went after work.

Work, too, was unusual. My colleagues and I were busy packing up in preparation for office renovation.

An empty cubicle by Thursday

An empty cubicle by Thursday

The wake was an emotional affair. My mum-in-law gave a eulogy during the service. There were lots of tears. I teared because she repeated the words he had said when I last saw him. That his one regret was that he would not be able to give Emma a Christmas present, as he had done for his other grand-nephews and nieces.

Tuesday, I took afternoon leave so that I could attend Uncle Hee Lai’s funeral. I was a bit more composed than during the wake. I think it helped knowing the process, having gone through both my grandmothers’ funerals in the past few years.

I couldn’t take leave on Wednesday to see his ashes being scattered in the sea. I had recordings scheduled, and I was scrambling to get everything ready for the move. I contemplated coming back on Saturday if I couldn’t complete packing.

That evening, I finally managed to attend an election rally. Yes, that was the other unusual thing about the week – General Elections. It was an SPP rally at Bishan Stadium. It wasn’t as well attended as in 2011. I knew SPP’s vote share would be less than the previous election.

Thursday was – the uniquely Singapore – Cooling Off Day. I managed to finish packing and moved my things to the temporary office, an auditorium, before end of work.

Temporary office in an auditorium

Temporary office in an auditorium

Friday, I voted. After voting, I went to get some groceries. While at the self-checkout counter, I got a call about Emma’s baptism, scheduled for Sunday afternoon. To cut a long story short, we were moved from the main church to one of the church halls. In the afternoon, we went for my cousin’s kid’s birthday party, then we had a couple of friends over for dinner.

As Friday ticked over into Saturday, my hopes for a more representative parliament were dashed. The PAP increased their vote share by almost 10%. I knew they would improve from 2011, but no one expected this large a swing.

I spent Saturday with Wynnie and Emma, avoiding news and social media. We stayed indoors to avoid the last burst of fire from seventh-month burning.

Emma was baptised on Sunday 13 September. A happy end to a long and emotional week.

Happy family! Photo by Edward Kang.

Happy family! Photo by Edward Kang.

Fr Agustinus Tanudjaja baptises Emma. Photo by Gordon Pinto.

Fr Agustinus Tanudjaja baptises Emma. Photo by Gordon Pinto.

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