Granny and I are both April babies – although she’s even less of a baby than I am! She is exactly 50 years older than me, and has been instrumental in bringing me up while both my parents worked long hours to provide for the family.
I also shared a room with Granny for many years – first when I was a child all the way up to age 15, when she got sick; then again after my grandfather died and she moved back in with my folks, up till the time I moved out when got my first place a few years ago.
It wasn’t just me who Granny helped bring up. She took care of my older brother, my twin cousin (we were born two hours apart) and another cousin (who is six years younger) at the same time as well. Later on, she also looked after two other cousins and my younger brother.
We recently had an early birthday celebration for her with the entire Raeburn (that’s my mum’s side of the family) clan.
Here’s one with Granny and many of the cousins (we’re missing Tracy and Gerard!). She is extremely loved by every single person in the family – with extra special places in the hearts of those she looked after as kids.
My gran is a very spritely, strong woman. She was the one who taught me how to ride a bicycle. I remember her running and balancing me at the start until I got it right. She gave me my first advice on boys (“don’t let them take advantage of you”) and on feminism, although she is very traditional and would never think of herself as “feminist” (“if boys don’t help with the housework, then they don’t eat”).
This has made it even more difficult hence to watch her slowly age over the years. For me especially, while I see the ageing process in small ways – I find her walking slower and slower and getting tired more easily each week when taking her out for our regular Saturday breakfast date after church (Novena) – it really only hit me how much she has aged after an operation a few months ago. While she’s been getting physically weaker, she has always been very sharp of mind and notices and remembers even the smallest things. However, she sometimes gets confused these days and it scares me to see her really ageing, in all aspects. =(
This video was recently shared with me and I admit that it made me cry.
The old Malay couple remind me of granny and my late grandpa. Although they were never that openly affectionate or expressive, it is the same strong bond and love between them that is similar. The woman at 5:17 in the video with her dad echoed what I’ve been feeling about Gran – that she has aged a lot, and that I want to spend more time with her while we still have her – both in body and in mind.
I found out that this video is part of Prudential’s #RelationshipReconnect movement, to encourage everyone to put aside time in our busy lives filled with job stress, stress about school, stress about being fabulous on social media and other things to find time to spend with the ones who matter the most.
Every week, I try to spend Saturday mornings with Granny, my mum and aunts and I really look forward to this time. However, when I have to shoot something, attend an event or work on something, this time is sacrificed and I don’t always make the effort to make up for it.
I find this movement so relevant and I am inspired to make the effort to spend more time with my loved ones.
The Saturday just past, the cousins decided we wanted to take her out for a day. We called it ‘Granny’s Big Day Out’. We had grand plans to take her to Universal Studios, the S.E.A. Aquarium and other spots, but in the end, we decided to keep it simple and take her to a place that she and Grandpa used to hang out at a lot: Changi Airport.
She hasn’t been there in quite a while, and since Grandpa passed away 8 years ago, she lost her regular airport date. =( Granny has also not been in the best of health lately, especially having undergone the operation a couple of months ago, so keeping to a place that’s relatively near (we all stay in the east of Singapore, which is where the airport is) and familiar seemed a good idea.
Mum said that Gran was so excited about this time with her grandkids. She apparently asked mum every day the week before if it was time to go on this outing, and also called some of us to check. (As i said, she has gotten more child-like in recent times…). She had also picked out her outfit for that trip days before (I obviously got my vain genes and obsession with clothes from someone!) and wanted to lay it out to make sure it was perfect.
I could tell she was so happy to have everyone fussing over her that day. One of my cousins, Melissa, is working on a video she shot and I’ll hopefully be able to share that in time too.
When we sent Granny home and I asked her if she had had fun, she gave a big smile and simply said, “I’m so happy. Only that you all spent so much money!” (We had taken her to Crystal Jade for lunch and later to Swensons for ice-cream, which she loves.)
And that’s just like Gran. Always thinking of others, always putting everyone first.
Someone recently asked me why I seem happy most of the time. I did some research on how to be happy (which I will share with you in a new video soon!) but then I also thought about the things that make me happy, then I realised that it is about finding pleasure in the little things in life.
Am at an airport, enroute to my final destination & in transit now. Watched ‘The Program’ on the way here – it’s about the real-life rise & fall of Lance Armstrong – & am sitting now reading story after story online about doping in the Tour de France.
I remember when the media started reporting news of his alleged doping. I wanted so much for it to be proven untrue, for him to still be a hero.
Other than the joy from the adrenaline rush it brings (if you’ve never tried a sport & hence don’t get this part; you are really missing out!) I personally love sport for the strength & tenacity of the human spirit that it brings out. Because of this, every time there is some sort of scandal (doping, corruption, match-fixing, etc) reported in the sporting world, I feel very sad. It ruins the whole thing. The integrity of the game, the respect for the discipline & dedication of athletes, the belief of fans in their heroes – everything. My older brother – a real football fanatic who arranges his life around watching every single game he can – when asked what he thought of the FIFA scandals, said “I don’t want to believe it; it ruins the beautiful game”.
So while I knew the story & saw the countless headlines when the news broke a few years ago, I never wanted to sit down & really get into the case. Till today, when I found myself on a flight where this was the only movie on board I felt was worth watching.
It was a marvellous performance by the actors (although I’m bad with following these things & I admittedly have no idea who they are or what else they’ve acted in) & I of course enjoyed watching the cycling scenes. There was nary much back story to any of the protagonists; no dramatisation, no love scenes, no sensational scenes of domestic strife. The focus was on the sport & in portraying the full story on what happened. I liked that.
While I am still saddened by the world losing another hero – Lance Armstrong overcame stage 3 cancer, coming back to compete at the highest level internationally; drugs or no drugs, that’s really amazing – it did give insight into the world of sport at that level & what really motivates world-class athletes to risk losing everything by doping. A top class athlete, apart from physical requirements, has to possess an almost-fanatic sort of single-mindedness. It is only with this sort of mindset that they can keep going, day in & day out, as they ‘punish’ their bodies each day at training: to win.
There was a scene where a young Lance Armstrong asks a doctor for help. This doctor dismissed him twice; first saying his frame was unsuitable for long distance cycle & a second time to let him know his VO2 max would never make him a winner. (The short explanation is that VO2 represents the body’s ability to use oxygen. The long explaination is that VO2 max is the maximum amount of oxygen your body can utilize during exercise. It’s a combination of how much oxygen-rich blood your heart can pump, and the muscles efficiency in extracting and utilizing the oxygen. Since oxygen is critical to running fast, your VO2 max is the single best measure of how good a racer you are.) You can increase VO2 but it is largely hereditary. It’s the reason why even in early years of school, before kids have had the advantage of training, you would find that some children are just a lot faster runners than others. They were blessed with a higher VO2 max. I think that in this single-mindedness to win, he may have felt this was an unfair disadvantage & this justified it to himself to dope: it wasn’t cheating, it was simply levelling the playing field.
I still don’t condone doping in sports, but with just a smidgen more insight from the film, I at least feel more sympathetic now in understanding what drives such behaviour.
The thing that is making me sick now is reading in detail about all th doping that has gone on in the Tour de France (see Wikipedia here if you want to know the details). Did you know it was not only not illegal for 60 years, it was also accepted? I’ve a weak stomach for such things in general & I felt like throwing up after reading it all. But I looked it up because I wanted to know if what Armstrong said “If you take me back to 1995, when doping was completely pervasive” and “everybody was doing it” was true. And it seems to be so…
Maybe I’ll stick to just playing sport & the adrenaline rush I get from that.