Friday, May 27, 2005

Farewell and Rest in Peace...

I am overwhelmed by sadness.

What a year this has been!

My uncle (my mum's cousin's husband) just passed away of a heart attack in Sydney early this morning Australian time.

Uncle Bob Lim - we used to call him that because my dad is the other Uncle Bob at home. I must have only met him a few times in my life because they migrated to Sydney when I was a little girl. The last time we met was in 1998 during my sister's graduation. We stayed at their place and we had lots of fun together. He is a complainer (no offence to him). He likes to make crude and rude jokes about his wife's family. Don't know what he has against that family but everyone is so used to it that we never take his remarks seriously. In fact, none of us ever took Uncle Bob Lim seriously. He was the funny man. The man who would put a smile on your face whenever you are down.

He spoke Hokkien and hated the Aussies. He wanted to come back to Malaysia but he thought of his children's education most of all. He worked in a University in Sydney and both his son, Chong was especially close to him. He took Chong to various tennis tournaments and made him a little Michael Chang. Chong was the one who discovered his beloved father lying dead on the sofa at 3am in the TV room of the house. Poor Uncle Bob, he must have suffered during the last moments of his life and he never said goodbye.

The first time I remember meeting Uncle Bob was way back in 1995. He took a few days leave to bring me and my family up to the Blue Mountains. I remember him telling us that...

"Don't worry. It's just 2 hours away from my house."

But it took us 5 hours.

I remember my mum and dad being so tired because of the journey that they didn't want to go see the 3 Sister's (some famous carving of the mountain if I remember right). I hiked up with Uncle Bob and both of us enjoyed ourselves even though it was bitterly cold.

Uncle Bob called "Pizza" with a terrible Hokkien slang. He called it "Pi-Sai" meaning nose shit.

There is this particular Australian desert, something like a brownie but not quite. He called it "Aussie Cake" with the "Aussie" sounding like shitting in Cantonese.

He had high blood pressure and diabetes while he was alive. But he never really bothered with his diet. He always said...

"Aiya...beh hiao kin lah. Si mah si lor"

(Aiya...its oklah. Die, die lah.)

I am deeply saddened. I remember him as a tall and lean man always in a sweater and a collared shirt inside. He always asked us to visit him in Australia but we never did after my sister graduated in '99. He was to come back to Malaysia this July for a holiday with his family but he never made it.

This August, instead of going for a family trip to Pangkor or Hong Kong, my parents have decided that we should go to Sydney to visit Auntie Judy, Chong and Wei-Wei (who incidentally is my god-sister).

Why is it on good days, we don't go to Sydney to pay them a visit and say hello?

Why do we only go now when all is too late for Uncle Bob?

Everytime someone close to us dies, we say...

"We must make an effort to visit so-and-so before it's too late like now."

But we never do.

Uncle Bob Lim, we may not have met many times, but I remember you and your "pi-sai" and "aussie cake" and our hike to see the 3 Sisters and could I forget about the Roald Dahl books you bought for me when I was in Sydney back in '95.

My sister is more grieve stricken than anyone else at home. Basically, all my cousins who are of the same age as her are very very upset. All of them studied in Australia and Uncle Bob was their father for 4 years. And now he is gone.

Goodbye Uncle Bob Lim and Rest in Peace.