Death of the Year: The Beloved Old Lady Rests

This year, my dad experienced the loss of three sisters, yet there was no drama.

Contrast those deaths with this death:

One Tuesday night in March, the beloved old lady’s MDW (Migrant Domestic Worker, Singapore government’s official term for “foreign maid”) notified her only next-of-kin in Singapore at that time that the beloved old lady was having difficulties breathing.

The beloved old lady’s only next of kin in Singapore at that time – already wired tight and super ultra high-strung even under normal circumstances, and who would bite people’s heads off when on edge, which is 24/7 – arranged for an ambulance to take her to the hospital. The NOK then rushed to the hospital herself. But she was in a state of frenzy, her inability to maintain composure brings her ugly, insufferable side to the fore.

The beloved old lady was hospitalized for two days, oxygen was administered but she continued to gasp for air. Pneumonia was the diagnosis but prognosis was negative. The doctors’ advice was to prepare for the worst and to summon family members to her bedside. The other NOK living in Singapore – someone who had never experienced a personal crisis before, puerile and cretinous, totally bereft of EQ – was vacationing in Europe but immediately arranged to fly back after being informed. A daughter, domiciled in Sydney for about 50 years, after some humming and hawing, finally decided to make plans to fly back. A son who has also been residing in Sydney (for about 40 years) also hightailed back.

Very late on Thursday night the beloved old lady breathed her last. She was 94.

The only NOK in Singapore – and her husband – raced to the hospital, did the necessary paperwork and contacted a funeral director, recommended by a pastor friend. One of the beloved old lady’s grandsons in Singapore was also there to lend a hand. By the time everyone returned to their own homes, it was about 4am Friday morning.

The funeral director was super efficient. The wake was set up at the beloved old lady’s house as soon as Friday afternoon. The vacationing daughter touched down in Singapore that same afternoon. The beloved old lady’s daughter and son from Sydney – and their respective spouses – arrived Saturday evening.

A memorial service was held Monday evening and funeral was Tuesday morning. The pastor of the Teochew-speaking church the beloved old lady worshipped at, conducted the memorial and funeral-cremation service. His sermon at the memorial service, delivered in pure Teochew – referred to as “Chaozhou” in Mandarin/Putonghua – was a brilliant masterpiece, though a tad too long, made doubly longer due to the necessity of having it interpreted into English. (Most of the younger generation in the family didn’t understand a word of the Teochew dialect.) But like most things in Singapore, everything went like clockwork – ash collection was completed in the afternoon of the day of the funeral itself and the urn containing the beloved old lady’s ashes was placed in a niche in church that same evening.

All sons-in-law spoke at the memorial service, including the eldest one, the one with a perpetual scowl. The beloved old lady’s only son, age 69, also spoke and so did the son’s only daughter (born in Sydney) who had also flown in. The beloved old lady’s daughters were either too distraught or tongue-tied to utter anything.

A grandson from la-la land, in his 40s, complete with unkempt long hair that alternated between greasy obedience and random flight, constantly grinning like a spastic, a rather gormless moron, who turned up on Sunday, had decided to make it his mission to be the clown of the entire event, showing disrespect by cracking jokes about the beloved old lady and making funny faces at everyone. Sigh, everyone wants to be a comedian these days. What a nutcase!

Everyone wore white at the funeral, matching the white flowers, the white casket and the white Freecia Maserati hearse; it was a visually beautiful send-off.

Now the time has come for the living to divide the spoils. What the beloved old lady left behind was not insubstantial, including the house she was living in, estimated to be worth several millions. Of the tears shed in the last couple of days, observers commented that lots were probably of the crocodile sort.

The two children in Sydney have been away for a combined total of close to a hundred years, returning to visit only annually or biennially, or enroute to and from their vacations, using Singapore as a transit point. They did very very little to provide for the beloved old lady when she was alive, not to mention not spending a single day – yes, not one single day – to care for her when she was unwell in her sunset years.

The beloved old lady’s will, revealing the existence of several properties, sent the avaricious into a tailspin. Imagine going nuts over a mere five million bucks! Pocket change, really.

The child who was the first to move to Sydney (about 50 years ago) was the one who was most anxious to know the details of the beloved old lady’s will. This child’s gloves are off. Entre nous, we are talking about an immature 72-year-old adult with zero interpersonal competencies, whose middle name is Belligerence.

The plot thickens.

It’s still thickening.

My blood still runs cold thinking of this toxic sourpuss.

It strains credulity to claim that she had ever any love at all for her mother or siblings.

But it is what it is.

Rich people’s problems.

Amazing what money can do to people!

Meanwhile, the beloved old lady rests, oblivious to the stench of greed slowly wafting into, and contaminating the atmosphere, rendering it rather odoriferous.

…God knows your hearts… – Luke 16:15

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