The Wake

Gee, what a long day it was yesterday.
White sleeve

A piece of white cloth is pinned onto my sleeve

In between chanting gibberish that is the Buddhist prayers, I’m totally lost when it comes to the customs we have to follow. I’m thankful for the many nice people around helping us out worrying about logistics and ensuring everything goes on smoothly while we’re mourning. I’m not the most religious person but saying my prayers certainly helped instill tranquility in the face of tragedy.
Still, watching my father slowly being placed into the casket was the most heart-wrenching thing I have to endure.

Dear papa, here’s your coffee the way you like it. Long black, three-quarter glass, no sugar.

I’m awed and overwhelmed by messages of condolences I’ve received in the virtual world as well as those in real life. It just goes to how much of a great man my father was before his passing and how large a void he had left in everyone’s hearts. Wreaths presented to my father by his friends and families came in by the truckloads throughout the day. There’s so many flowers in our yard right now we can easily start a business as a florist. Believe it or not, this was only half of everything.

The next day, Kuching experienced a severe flower shortage

Alright, I shall leave this entry short, sweet and unsentimental. I’m amazed I still haven’t taken time off blogging completely. I shall reply to comments and e-mails only after everything is over, ok? Don’t worry. I still have strength to carry on. At least I think I do.
As for now, another long day awaits. The funeral day.

The Last 25 Hours

Things that I remember in the last 25 hours…


4th May 2005, 1:30am. I walked into my father’s room ready to begin another round of my so-called ‘night duty’. Y, a friend and workmate of my father for 20+ years was present along with DM, another workmate. A Buddhist hymn was playing on the radio.

2:30am. DM left. I checked my father’s body temperature and fed him some water. 37.5 Celcius. Dad was breathing heavily, but still stable and responsive. I didn’t think too much about it. For the rest of the night Y and I talked, reminiscing memories of my father. I thought to myself – its so nice to have someone to accompany me like that.

6:00am. Mom woke up, surprised to see Y still there. She thanked Y, then Y left.

7:30am. My maternal uncle visited. He looked upset. He sat down beside my father, then started to sing softly. My father responded by turning his head and looking at him knowingly. “Get well soon. Wake up and hear the magpies sing.” my uncle said.

I went to bed at 8:15am.


1:48pm. I was woken up by a phone call. As soon as I answered, I heard a frantic knock on my door asking me to go to my father immediately. I apologised to the caller profusely and ran to my father’s room.

I walked into his room. My father was no longer breathing.

It drizzled the whole day yesterday.

I struggled back emotions.

I touched my father’s hand. It felt cold. The kind of cold you feel when you touch someone who just came out of an air-cond room. Cold. Lifeless.

Reality struck. My father is gone. Nothing will ever bring him back. Absolutely nothing at all.

I cried.


I remember it drizzled the whole day yesterday.


I’m not the most melodramatic person around. And I can’t write sappy poems to save my life. But the account above was the best I can do in my current state of mind.

The past 12 hours has been a long and difficult one. I’m overwhelmed with emotions, mostly sadness and anger. I’m still trying to swallow in the fact that I lost my father, that he will no longer be with me to continue on with my journey of life. This reality is hard to accept. I’m still struggling.


Nothing left but his indentation

I’ve read every single comment here, and I thank each and everyone of you for leaving kind comments and words of encouragement. Its especially heartwarming to hear from strangers and friends alike, from places as close to Kuching and from places as far as Australia, UK, US. I’m touched that some of you even dedicated entries on your blog for me. Somehow it makes going through the past 12 hours a little bit easier.

To my Kuching readers – I understand that my privacy may be compromised following my father’s passing. As always, I ask that you respect my privacy. Please do not disclose any unnecessary information about my family or my job. Please do not disclose the existence of this blog to anyone else in Kuching. Most importantly, do not mention to any of my family members what you read here. Please, leave them out of it. As odd as it sounds, I rather as little people in Kuching know about my blog as possible, because I know Kuching is a small place and I know how hurtful mindless gossips can be. I enjoy writing. I’m sure many, including you, enjoy reading. Please do not be a bad sport and spoil it for us all.



Eddie commented, saying that he looks forward to me writing humourously again. I hope I will. I’m sure I will. But not right now. will be a sad and sombre place for a while, only because the writer himself is feeling sad and sombre. But I promise you Eddie, I will try to make myself laugh. Then I’ll try to make you laugh again. Eventually.

I thank you all for giving me strength to get through this very very difficult time.

Black and White Photos

So here I am at 7am in the morning for another late shift for the fourth night in the row. Fourth night that my father is in a half-conscious state. The good thing is, the rest of my family has more or less recovered from their respective illnesses and are therefore able to lift the burden off my shoulders a little. The bad thing is, my body clock is so fucking screwed up I think I need to send myself to the watch repair shop.

holding on

My old man is still holding on

The only reason I’m doing the late night shift is because I’m unable sleep the normal hours anymore after four days of sleeping at 8am and waking up at 3pm. Funny. Last time I did that was after a drunken night out partying at the Varga Lounge back in Perth.


I think this was more fun.

I went through my father’s old photo album today.


The rest of this entry was removed due to privacy issues. If you still like to read it please send me an e-mail.


Its always interesting to do something like that. Seriously, there’s nothing like watching your own parents sporting some horrendously bad fashion that would make you cringe if someone were to wear the same thing today.


It is a very cliche thing for our parents to say to us “In our days, we didn’t have it so easy…” But in my father’s case, I totally believe him.


No bricks and mortar – 12 years growing up in a Kampung like this

In the early 50s, there’s a small Malay kampung near Kuching called Kampung Penambai. Six families were living in this kampung, and the Sia family was the only Chinese one there. My grandparents worked for a charcoal company for long hours but got paid very little. If it weren’t for circumstances that forced my father to move to Kuching, hey, I might be still typing this entry from a shack in Kampung Penambai.

In amongst his siblings, my father, being the eldest, was the de facto leader of the house. As feared as he was, he genuinely cared for his siblings and provided them with opportunities they never thought they could have. Even 50 years later today, he is still seen as a great leader in many people’s eyes.

my dad

Pa, how come you’re using your belt for a necktie?

There weren’t any Chinese schools in Kampung Penambai. In order to receive his primary school education, my father would have to travel down to Kuching on a little sampan boat – the only possible way to get to Kuching then. It would take 4 hours to get to Kuching on a good day, and up to 8 hours on a bad day. My father had spent a good part of the year away from his family whilst he stayed with his aunt in Kuching. The only time he was able to reunite with his family was during school holidays, where my grandmother would cook sumptous feast to welcome my father back.

my dad

My father holding a miniature version of himself. In those days they don’t have Photoshop, so…

It is very characteristic of my father to be hardworking. In the mid-60s, his mother (my grandmother) and younger sisters were working tirelessly at the rubber plantation supporting their family and giving my father money for his education. To alleviate their burden, my father in his spare time would work as a tutor (where I got my tutoring genes!) and as a construction labourer.

There were fringe benefits though. The constuction job got him a six-pack and a tan body, whereas the tutoring job got him my mother. 🙂

my dad

In those days, toilet paper was kinda expensive. Having a long hair had more uses than you think. 😉

My father managed to get himself into all the good schools growing up and he was always scoring number one in his class. At the end of his secondary education in 1971, he was presented with an opportunity to study overseas – a privilege at the time. As tempted as he was with that offer, he turned it down, knowing that the cost of him leaving home would be unbearable for the family.

my dad

My father, at my age, was a high school teacher.

His first professional job out of school was as a teacher for a year – where one of his students ended up as his business partner today. Then for the next nine years he worked as a salesperson for ICI Paints and a aluminium company. In addition to that, he was also selling general insurance on the side.

my dad

An ICI Paints photo in black and white. Oh, the irony…

My father was still dating my mother then. I was told that my mother was his first lover and vice versa.

my dad at cameron highlands

This is from a set of photos he sent to my mother when he was working with ICI Paints in West Malaysia. My father has really nice handwriting. That’s one thing I didn’t inherit from him. 🙁

My father was significantly poorer than my mother’s family back then. My mom told me once they went to the cinemas together. They walked to the cinema’s candy store, and my father asked her what she wanted. My mother happily pointed out the Horlicks candy which costed very little. Being tight-on-budget he hesitated and tried to persuade her to buy something else. But my mother didn’t take it kindly so she ended up pulling a long face for the rest of the evening. I thought was silly, ‘cos now my father would have bought her a swimming pool filled with Horlicks candies if he wanted to.

my parents wedding

In those days, they didn’t have Inspiration Alan Salon to do my dad’s hair.

My parents got engaged in 1973 and 2 years later, he married my mother. I thought my mother looked so pretty in this picture. For some reason I didn’t find her as pretty when she yelled at me for not cleaning up my bedroom. Hmm…

my father's workplace

In those days, they don’t have Internet so you can’t slack off at work reading blogs.

In 1978, my father took a huge risk by mortgaging his house, his car, borrowed a huge sum of money from the bank ot start his own company. I shall not disclose the name and nature of the company and all that. But it was the best move he has ever made. The rest as they say, is history.

The company boomed throughout the 80s and 90s, and he created hundreds of jobs for the people of Kuching. His employees loyalty to him is undeniably his strongest asset. As a matter of fact, his first employee is still working for him even until today.

my father's workplace

Success. My father’s very first car – a Volvo.

I’m born in 1982, and growing up I hate to admit that my time spent with him was little. My father was a self-confessed and true workaholic. He’s so passionate about his line of work, its almost as if his company is his other family. Whilst other people work 9 to 5, my worked 9 to 12 – that’s 12am, not 12pm. The only time we get to spend the full day with him was on Sundays.

my father's workplace

In the early days, my father had to travel to many ulu-ulu places to find business

That does not mean that he neglects his family or anything like that. On the contrary, we know from the things he did for us, that we’re the most important part of his life.

Perhaps my fondest memory of him was when I was in Secondary 3. Exams are coming and every night I’d be in the living room “memorising” my books and notes till 2 or 3am in the morning. My father saw what I was going through. Every night, he’d buy me kolo mee from KY Cafe for supper, ensuring I don’t starve myself late into the night, and also ensuring both my brains and my guts grow large.

my father's workplace

This is what got me through my Secondary 3 examination

I swear to you that’s the best tasting kolo mee I’ve ever had. That’s only because once upon a time, my father personally bought it for me in my time of need. Thank you, dad.

Blog Plug

With things the way they are right now in my life, I’m not sure if I can write with the same sense of humour the way I did before. As a matter of fact, I’m hardly in the mood to write anything at all. The fact that I didn’t even step out of my house these past few days also means that I have very little chance to observe things that I can comment on.
Perhaps for a change, I shall plug some blogs written by people who have been very nice to me.
Kenneth saw my entry on Project Petaling Street T-shirt Ideas and ran wild with some T-shirt ideas of his own.

Not true! Kenneth has never seen my big bird.

How nice… he even made one for me!
I was actually hoping that this would spark some T-shirt designing meme across the blogging community. But I don’t think I’m influential enough.
Maybe Jeff Ooi should kickstart somet T-shirt designing meme since he’s like… Malaysia’s Most Influential Blogger and all that la-di-da. Unfortunately I think Jeff Ooi is not talking to me anymore after I made fun of his little bird.
Actually, designing your own T-shirt isn’t that difficult as it sounds. All you gotta do is photoshop an image, upload it to CafePress and download your T-shirt. Even Singapore’s Mr Brown got in on the act and came up with this.

Strange but true. My haircut led to Mr Brown being criticised for his blog content. Now how many people honestly lay claim to that?

The only reason why I can’t be arsed kickstarting this meme full-scale is because designing a T-shirt isn’t as easy as sticking your tongue out and taking a photo of it. The hardest part is probably coming up with what witty things to put on your T-shirt.
Anyway, for those willing to try, please design your own T-shirt with CafePress , e-mail me and lemme see what you got. 🙂
*cough* Since this isn’t a full-blown meme, I shall call it… mini-meme!

Lame, I know.
Some people have been saying that I’m fast becoming famous, which is silly because we all know that famous people don’t have to pay for anything. I tried asking a chicken rice seller once to give me a free meal and he looked at me strangely like I’m born with three boobs.
At least Rojaks is one of those who think I’m famous.
How famous?
Perhaps as famous as Leonardo Da Vinci’s Monalisa.

Try cracking this Da Vinci code, Dan Brown!

He called it, MonaliSIA.

Condition Critical


The rest of this entry was removed due to privacy issues. If you still like to read it please send me an e-mail.



I didn’t sleep last night. In fact I stayed up till 8am this morning. In another mad coincidence of events, everyone in my family had fallen sick with fever, flu and cough – except myself.

My father’s condition is deteriorating to such a critical stage, I feel I need to be by his side. Things just doesn’t look right. I woke up at 3pm today and all I’ve been doing since then is pray.

I can’t write long today. My family needs me.

UPDATE: I grew up in a Buddhist family, although I admit that I’m the least devout one in my family. Over the course of my father’s ordeal, many kind people of other faiths have approached us and wanted to offer us prayers, but they feared that my family would take offense. Some think that if they were to offer us prayers and my father miraculously recovers that he would be forced to convert into another religion and my family wouldn’t like it.

Personally I think that if my father recovers, then that’s the most important thing. It really doesn’t matter what religion you are. It may seem strange when people pray to have Buddha and Jesus and Allah and what not watch over him. But a prayer is a prayer, and a prayer about the only thing we can fall back on right now.