Tuesday, 2 October 2012

RIP 舅父

My mother’s younger brother passed away this morning.    It was all very sudden.  Just yesterday, he slipped and fell while he was taking a stroll, picked himself up and went home to tell his wife, “Luckily, I didn’t hit my head.  Otherwise it would have been goodbye!”  This morning, he got out of bed feeling dizzy, dropped onto the floor and fell into a comma.  He passed away quietly in a hospital a few hours afterwards. 

What can I tell you about my 舅父?  My uncle was a cheerful individual who lived a carefree existence.  He maintained a blue-collared job so that his family never went hungry and both my cousins went to school.  For many of us, we often stress about our jobs, mortgages or life in general – just because we aren’t satisfied with what we already have.  My uncle wasn’t a go-getter who expected more out of life, which was precisely why he was always light-hearted in the first place.  Nothing got him down, ever.

Modern parents would’ve been shocked by my uncle’s parenting skills (or the lack of it) because he brought his boys up in a seemingly careless fashion.  My older cousin was caught smoking in his teens, the rest of the family gasped and chided but my uncle waved everyone off with, “He's going through a phase!  Every boy his age goes through the phase.  He's only experimenting and he’ll stop before you know it.” 

When the same boy decided to drop out of school at 15, his father said, “That’s fine by me.  You don’t need to do well in school in order to do well in life.”   That school dropout is now a devoted family man, owns a recycling and printing business, recently set up a new factory in Shenzhen, has a club membership and about to move into a condominium.  His younger brother is a pharmacist.  Both are gentle, soft spoken and I've never once heard them raise their voices at their parents or each other.

Sure, my uncle didn't receive proper education or spoke six languages or possess a special skill of any kind. He didn’t own a large house or drove fast cars.  You might even say he had no aspiration.  Yet he brought up his next generation to be loyal, socially responsible and respectful.   So if life was a test, surely my uncle should be awarded an A+.   Kudos to you, 舅父!  I don't think you realized just how special you were.


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