To Those Who Had Fought

Last week I attended the wake of a beloved friend’s father who died of cancer. Last year around this time, a relative succumbed and passed away. Most friends I know have someone in their family who is living under the torment of this ruthless killer. My dad is a cancer survivor himself.

2012 was a gloomy year where my friend’s father, a close relative and my dad were diagnosed with cancer. My dad had almost half of his stomach removed but thankfully his cancer was in the early stage thus chemotherapy was not required. With only half a stomach left, he now takes small meals, chews his food well and watches what he eats. He has since lost considerable amount of weight but is still leading an active life. He cycles and goes for walks everyday.

It’s good to slay the demon. It’s good to wake up to another day of sun rise, to breathe another breath of fresh air and watch the world go by.

It’s good to be living and moving.

Unfortunately both my friend’s dad and relative weren’t so lucky. They have battled and succumbed to the disease. And I can’t help but to feel angry at how brutal this killer is. Each surgery and chemotherapy session promises hope. Yet a relapse would often follow and another relentless battle begins.

It’s cruel to be lifted by hope and then have it shattered by another life sentence. All we could do is to helplessly watch them shrivel and succumb.

This Sunday, I will be running in the Singtel cancer run. It will be my 3rd year running but my first since I busted my knee last December.

I have yet to regain full mobility of my left knee but the regular cycling trips have helped strengthen my thighs and build up my stamina.

2 months ago, I finally mustered enough courage to go onto the treadmill. It was in a spur of the moment, I was not attired, clad in my denim shorts without my usual jogging accessories. (music and drink) My boys watched on while I stepped onto the machine, I told them I just wanted to test out my leg. Half of me was worried that I would wreck my knee further, the other half knew that I would never find out if I don’t try.

Alas, I lasted half an hour on the treadmill! I was thrilled. I was exhilarated. I could run!

After trying out a couple more times on the treadmill, I finally made it outdoors last Friday for my first 10km run for the year. The beginning of the run was awful; my legs weighed a tonne; I couldn’t stop thinking about the bad air I was breathing in due to the haze. It also didn’t help that I had to stop multiple times to answer my phone. It was the first day of school holiday and I had snuck out in the morning while the boys were asleep. When they finally woke up, the younger one had to call me multiple times to check on me. Arrrggghh!

My pace was erratic; I couldn’t maintain a good pace; my posture was poor and it caused my calf muscles to tense up and ache; it was only much later that my muscles started to ease up but by then I was already gasping for air. I took much longer than usual to complete the run. It was demoralizing; I felt so not ready for the run.

I know I would be a nervous wreck at the starting point and my energy would probably be sapped by the hot sun (the race starts at 7am, which is a tad late, if you ask me). I worry that my heart would thump too hard and my legs might decide to go on strike that day. I could foresee that it is not going to be an easy run and I have thoughts of chickening out.

But I thought of my friend’s father who passed away, my relative and my Dad. Things were put into perspective and I was reminded why I am running.

For me it’s a 15 km race to the finishing line but for many of the cancer patients, their race is one with an uncertain destination, a race with no finishing line.

My mind was set. This Sunday, come what may, I shall run and complete the race.

I will run.
To honor those who had fought.
To celebrate those who had won.
To remember those who had lost.
To cheer those who are still fighting.

Note : This is not a sponsored post, do head over here if you wish to make a donation to the Singapore Cancer Society


DIY Teacher’s Day Gifts

IMG_8167I made these granola last week. A few cups of rolled oat toasted with a handful of my favourite seeds and dried fruits. I used sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, black sesame, dried raisins and apricots.

They are great for breakfast with fruits or yogurt. Drizzle some honey, warm it up and turned them into healthy afternoon snacks. A healthier version as compared to those processed snacks or cornflakes you find off the shelves.

We found these Granola labels and decided to pack some for their teachers on Teacher’s Day.

Then my younger boy and I made these little owls a couple of weeks ago when he was too bored on a weekday afternoon. We thought of turning them into many things, key chain, brooch but finally decided to make them into bookmarks and gift them to his teachers for Teacher’s Day.

We got this huge tub of Hama beads from Ikea and absolutely love them. They are inexpensive and so good for keeping little hands busy. A friend shared how to turn them into earphone organizer. Now I can’t wait to make one for myself.

Last year, we made bath salts for their teachers which turned out to be a hit.
Check out OwlsWell’s cute photo bookmark and photo penholder and Life’s Tiny Miracle’s list of great gift ideas for teachers.

This entry was posted in craft.

Thoughts on Nation Building From A Singaporean Mom

This has been a heady year. It started on 23 March with the passing of our founding Prime Minister. It was followed by a week of unexpected and unprecedented mourning and displays of unity as a nation. That week brought tears to my eyes on a daily basis. I think that in one short week, the majority of us realized our identity as a nation, not just a state.

Then in the last one month, the nation prepared for our golden jubilee. There were fireworks, Black Knights, aerial displays, mobile columns, heart rending songs of national pride. Everywhere we went, we could see little snippets of Singapore as we knew it, Singapore as we know it, and glimpses of Singapore that we do not yet know. It all culminated on 9 Aug with the grandest National Day parade we have ever seen. It was a justifiable expense to celebrate our golden jubilee. I have never felt prouder as a Singaporean.

As I pondered over the meaning of the golden jubilee, our trials and tribulations as a nation, and the recent events, it became apparent how I can do my part as a stay-at-home-mom and how I can contribute to nation building. In fact, if I may so boldly put it, nation building starts at home and I want my children to grow up knowing what it is to be a Singaporean.

I will teach them about our history.
Not the Sang Nila Utama or the Sir Stamford Raffles parts. That, I will leave to the schools. Instead, I will tell them about the accidental birth of a nearly still born state. About Lee Kuan Yew and his legacy. About his iron will and determination to succeed. About his clarity of thought of how Singapore must survive as a nation. About his vision of a garden city that bore fruit after many decades.

About why we must be tough and keep ourselves strong. About why we had that first national day parade in 1966. About why they must serve the nation when they turn 18. About why we dam up all our rivers for water. About why we are so clean and obsessed about preventing corruption. About why our highly efficient public service actually works.

About why we are all living in high rise apartments and no longer have a hole in the ground in the backyard. About why we are so obsessed with meritocracy and school results. About why we are so adamant about equity and equal opportunity. About what a very different Singapore would have looked like if we had not made certain tough decisions.

I will teach them the values of our pioneering generations.
About the pioneering generations’ ingenuity and hard work in transforming our country into what it is today. That it is not just about them. “…ask not what the country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” – John F. Kennedy.

I will teach them that there is more to life than getting good school results. That intellect is no substitute for wisdom. That they should pay forward to society so that their next generation will benefit as we have benefited from the efforts of our pioneers.

I will teach them that they must learn to think.
Our achievements over the last 50 years are not repeatable by following a tried and tested recipe. The world has changed and we must adapt as our forefathers have. Technology has transformed the world. There will probably not (maybe never) be another Lee Kuan Yew to guide Singapore to the next 50 years.

The plurality and diversity of thought and freely expressed dissenting views will become the norm. The sharp intellect of a chosen few may not be enough to bring us through. What we need may be a paradigm shift in thinking and doing.

Singapore can no longer just add value. It may no longer be enough. To survive and flourish in the next 50 years, Singapore must create value. To create value, we must think, imagine, innovate, and create the next internet, the next Facebook, the next Space-X, Lunar-X.

I can’t teach them how to imagine, innovate or create. It is innate in children. But I shall focus on preventing myself from killing their inquisitiveness and imagination.

The world is changing faster than we can ever imagine. If we were to stick to our old paradigms, we will become second rate and mediocre. My part to nation building will thus be to prepare my children for the new world unfolding in front of their eyes. I don’t think that I will ever be ready for it but I think they will.


Other posts inspired by LKY
5 Parenting Lesson from Mr Lee
Images of Singapore
Your Legacy Lives On

Some National day posts that I enjoyed reading
SG50 – The Lady turns 50 – by Yann
What National Day this year means to me – by Lyn
A New Beginning – by Dorothea
SG50 and beyond, we will get there – by Veraday
I’ll be 57 … – by Angie
Hop on this blog train to see what Singapore means to these mothers.

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