Friday, February 20, 2009

Day 3 in Paris: Centre Pompidou

Okay people. CNY is over. Valentine's over. We've got a couple more trips coming up soon & that means we've got to finish our posts on our Europe trip & the Star Cruise! I know, I know, we're unforgivingly way behind schedule & it's feeling like a government department. But anyway, here it goes...
We didn't really know what Centre Pompidou was before we got to Paris. We just had an inkling that it was some kind of art gallery.

It turned out that it wasn't just SOME KIND of art gallery, but it was THE art gallery, although it looked more like a National Plumbing Development Building.

What's great about this gallery was that it's situated in a public square surrounded by street performers & also artists.

That way, there's things to see even before we stepped foot inside.

These were the usual portrait artists that'd do yours for a price.

And then there's this interesting one that do outline papercuts of your profile.

I'm thinking interesting but like this also can make money?

And as usual in Paris, there's always an audience even when nothing is happening.

This was one of the exhibitions that was going on at that time which spooked Nee. She went out half way cos it was too difficult for her to bear. Anyway, I won't blog about it here cos this is not the blog for art. I'll stuff it into my other blog later on.

We bought the tickets at the ground floor but to get to the different galleries, we had to use the escalator on the outside.

It's an interesting way to make sure that people appreciate the structure & architecture of the building.

At the very top of the building, they built a kind of an open air terrace cafe. It was a nice place but at that point in time, it was just too hot for these two spoiled Malaysians who came from the land of the aircond.

I think this was a Friday.

Now do you see why we say Parisians do not work?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Simple Valentine's

I arrived back in Kuching late Friday evening with my brother Raymond. Coming back from Grandpa's funeral, we went through a mixture of strange feelings of grief & sadness, and then followed by a reawakening of love & family bonding.

At the airport, Greg was already waiting for us in the car. And he wasn't alone. On the seat next to him was bunch of beautiful red roses. (^_^)

Out of exhaustion from the endless CNY binging & the funeral, we opted for a quieter Valentine's on Saturday. We went for a simple Japanese meal and then decided to drive around town to relive our dating days & to absorb the festive mood. Amazing Really! I would have thought that with the economic downturn, things would have been a bit more low key this year but lo & behold, Kuching people have got lots of money still & a lot of love. That night, I can safely say that almost every single little restaurant in town (including the worst of the worst) had tables packed to the roadside.

Despite the traffic jam, we drove into it & went around the Riverside where most of the action took place (starting from Padungan). There were people selling last minute flowers everywhere, from temporary stalls to mobile ones from the opened trunks of their kancils, parked up on the kerbs. It was seriously more festive than CNY. I wonder if this is a phenomena happening everywhere else in Malaysia or is it just in Kuching?

Strangely amusing. That got me thinking why do we need to show someone we love them on Valentine's Day only? Why so much effort on just that one particular day?

I guess going to Grandpa's funeral and seeing Grandma now makes me look at those roses and the man giving them with deeper appreciation and a better understanding of what love should be all about. It's really not about the flowers, or the romance or the show. Well it is nice to get flowers and no girls out there can dispute that no matter how practical they are. But many times this becomes our main concern and we forget the other even more important ones ~ being together.

Being together is not an easy business no doubt but it is such a great blessing from God. Someone who shares your belief, values, interests (hopefully) and the same God. Someone to walk with you in good and in bad times. Someone to check on you when you are sick. Someone to rub your back and feet when you are tired. Someone who make sure that the petrol tank is filled up before you get to the car. Someone to wake you up when you fall asleep on the sofa while watching tv. Someone to take your wrath when you are not happy with everything in this world. Someone to carry all your shopping home but would rather sit inside MPH while you are at it and muster all effort not to cringe at the credit card bills later.
Well that someone will also probaby get on your nerves and annoy you so badly when he forget the items on your grocery list, make a wrong road turn at the same place all the time, tell you that you need to lose some weight (because you persistently tell him to speak the truth) or remind you not to take that piece of wing because you had been complaining about your weight, thinks his mum's cooking is slightly better and not celebrate Valentine's with you because you (not so wholeheartedly) tell him not to bother next year. Don't we all need reminders that certain things are really not so important.

Grandpa and Grandma had 60 over years together. To be honest, not many of us will enjoy that. So let us enjoy being together (plus the flower bit and romantic dinners, please) and Thank God for it.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Grandpa's Funeral

I am sure there are some of us who are hoping for me to write about the last leg of Grandpa's journey on Friday. There are so many of you who couldn't make it to the funeral because you were somewhere too far away.

Grandpa Wong passed away peacefully on the 11th February 2009 Wednesday at 7.05pm at the age of 91. It is with a very heavy and sad heart I began writing this because
1) I don't have someone I can call Kung Kung (Grandpa) anymore
2) My heart goes out to Grandma.
Imagine this. You shut your eyes and everything you can remember is life with this particular person. And when you open your eyes again, he is not there anymore. 60 over years of marriage, 60 over years of memories.

Many tears were shed during the ceremony of placing Grandpa in his coffin on Thursday afternoon, at the moment when Grandma with complete calmness and such beautiful inner strength, held his hand and whispered something to him, probably telling him it is alright to go. She remained calm throughout the whole process. Soft tears but no wailing. And he looked peaceful, completely at rest. God Bless! Many came to bid him farewell. The entire house, the balcony & the staircase were packed with people, friends, family and people he had blessed throughout all those years. Such wonderful man!

On Friday he left the house at 7.30am. It was a fine day. We had a short & simple funeral ceremony with pastor reminding that he had left for his home in heaven. He is with God and his spirit will continue to live in each and everyone of us. We then walked with Grandpa from their house on Kapor Road to Sibu Logos Church before embarking on the bus towards his final resting place. He was buried at the Sibu Chinese Cementery at Rock Hill.

For those of you not there, please don't be sad. Peace can be felt throughout the whole two days. This kind, dignified man is with God and he had lived his life to the fullest in whichever capacity he was in ~ a husband, a father, a grandfather, a great grandfather, a friend, a confidante, a loyal servant to men and God. For family members far away, we will also put up some pictures on our links in the next few days.

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