I woke up this morning with some heaviness.


A year ago, on this day, my grandmother passed away.


While our childhood was blistering, I never ever felt in want.  Because God gave us, the sort of grandmother every child would only be too lucky to have.


I love this picture my brother took of her, a few months before she left.


It’s how I want to remember her always- dressed in colour, some bling, and with a good drink in her hand.


Two Springs ago, Dr Chan and I went on a lunch date that felt like the honeymoon we never had.


On that trip, I learnt my husband eats snails.


I also learnt, that while walking together in the the rain, he didn’t quite know how to share an umbrella with me.


One of the cities we visited was Brussels.  I found the Unesco-protected square disappointing, but enjoyed our hotel, the hospitality, and food.


One of the things that jarred me was the amount of graffiti we saw.  While I enjoy artistic expressions in many forms, something about seeing things engraved or sprawled across monuments, walls of architecture from the Habsburg times, was too suggestive of an anger, seething.

Every city of course, has that capacity to smoulder and rage.  My grandmother has lived through a war, the Japanese Occupation of Singapore, political unrest, and racial riots.  She began her life in an English colony, educated in English, at the Methodist Girls’ School, and experienced that life breaking apart.  Along with the loss, came the eventual rebuilding of a new nation- my grandmother has lived through it all.


I’ve been keeping up with the news in Brussels.  That’s the thing with living in Europe- unlike America or Singapore where it is too easy/too tempting to vegetate in a bubble, events in Europe link us all.  You cannot not pay attention because for starters, we all take public transport, and travel between borders.

The last time Bruno and I visited my grandmother, the sky darkened too quickly.  My grandmother peered out her house and said in Malay, “Hujan.  Ia akan hujan.”  (Rain.  It is going to rain.)


  •  Brussels hotel- Odette En Ville, Rue de Chatelain 25
  • IMG_1702IMG_1698

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