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Showing posts from August, 2012


My Uncle Ann passed away last week. He was 63. If you were a casual visitor to his wake, and listened to all the eulogies by his mother, siblings, children and friends, one word would echo about Joe Tan Kim Ann - "generous". A man of very few words, Uncle Ann went out of his way to help others, quite often at his own personal expense. Many a story was told of how Uncle Ann would take in a person on the street and invited him to work at his cleaning company - "just because". And there were the times when he loaned out money to those in need, sometimes without them ever returning him the cash. I was a recepient of this generosity as well - many a time I would ask him for help to move furniture from one location to another, and he would always comply, offering his men and his van to help me transport the items. And when I asked how much I should pay, all he said was, "Just give the men coffee money - that's enough." On the last occassion almost fiv

National Dreams, Childhood Aspirations

It's difficult not to contemplate the meaning of life when you're 47 years of age. You consider the birth pangs, the moment of anguish when you were expelled from the womb into a harsh and cruel world. Things were different then - no Facebook, no iPhone, not even the ubiquitous medium we now call the Internet. Listening to the voices of yesteryear, you were conditioned to recall a childhood fraught with difficulty - of how you were surrounded by a host of hostile foes eager to bully you and tear you down. Yet you were presented with numerous accounts of how you survived against all odds. And you smile as you look back at your personal accomplishments; still a little red dot in a sea of lines and curves, but a dot nonetheless in the big wide world. This National Day seemed to have gone by for me without much fanfare. The glitzy parade and all its military and societal exhibitions, the thrills and controversies surrounding Singapore's 3rd and 4th Olympic medals, even