What a Wonderful World


31 Dec 2008 – Goodbye 2008 Hello 2009!

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself:
What a wonderful world!

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to my self:
What a wonderful world!

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands saying ‘How do you do.’
They really say: ‘I love you!’

I hear babies crying I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know
And I think to myself:
What a wonderful world – 
Bob Thiele (using the pseudonym George Douglas) and George David Weiss

Post Christmas


26 Dec 2008 – Boxing Day

Contemporary Boxing Day in many countries is now a shopping holiday associated with after-Christmas sales. And I certainly have no intentions to shop! The origins of this day is based on giving gifts to the less fortunate members of society.

Christmas day lunch was at the Tanglin Club hosted by Leslie & Ivy. This is the first Christmas a Grinch approached me and told us to dampen our merry spirits. Leslie handled the situation tactfully by talking to the manager and the president of the club and we continued with our usual merry makings for & with the next 2 generations 🙂  

Many thanks to Leslie & Ivy to gather 4 generations of family get together fun day.

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more – Dr. Seuss



22 Dec 2008 – Bright lights, not so big city!

N(l)ights of the Esplanade, Swissotel The Stamford, Singapore Flyer & River, Merlion, Fullerton Hotel, Cavenagh & Anderson Bridge, and Asian Civilization Museum… but no snow, unlike the USA where storms have caused much delays with traveling both on the East & West Coast.

Let there be light and there was light – Genesis 1:3

2008 Walk

18 Dec 2008 – Walk in the woods




Exercise always help when frustrated or stressed. Took the bus bright and early to HarbourFront and started to walk from MarangTrail to MtFaberPk, HendersonWaves, TelokBlangah Hill crossing SIN’s highest pedestrian bridge (above HendersonRd), HilltopWalk, ForestWalk, AlexandraArch, HortPk (gardening hub), CanopyWalk, KentRidgePk and ended at SciencePk. It was hot when not shaded by the trees but was pleasantly surprised to discover that one can be far away from the 4.6 million maddening crowd here. The concrete paths are clean and well marked.

A snake slithered across the path. Strangely enough, I did not jump out of my skin as I thought I would, even tried to take a picture but it disappeared into the jungle by the time I had my camera ready. Spotting it in advance might have helped, but still do not like the creepy feeling when I see them. This is the first one I met in SIN since I left in 1965. 5 TemenggongRd was surrounded by trees and jungle then (still is); now without 5, I can recognize the undernourished rambutan tress where the snakes were and probably still there.

Once bitten by a snake, she is scared all her life at the mere sight of a rope – Chinese Proverb



15 Dec 2008 – Panic attack!

Problems with computer and printer for the whole weekend resulting in a panic attack. Thanks to the management & staff at Hagley & Hoyle Pte Ltd (a graphic design/advertising company where I worked in 1999), my 2008 Seasonal Greetings (for those who do not have email addresses) are now out in the mail. The contacts for the family email need to be updated and edited, hope to complete by this week. The Christmas presents are in the shops but still have to be bought and packed… if only Abracadabra helps 🙂

How did I manage when the children were younger? At least 6 varieties of home-baked goods, pickled herrings of varieties, the other foods and beverages, clothes for the occasion, shopping & wrapping of gifts, the house & tree to be decorated, and the list goes on… just thinking about it is enough to wear me out nowadays!

With The Omen, I really felt I wasn’t in control. It was panic – Richard Donner



12 Dec 2008 – Sad news

Very sad news of Helen’s passing away on Wed leaving behind her 2 young children (under 14 years), husband, mother and 2 siblings (Albert is one of the 2) & their families.  My condolences to Patricia, Kiera, Albert & the Chua & Teo families.

Checked 15uncle out of Mt Elizabeth after his overnight stay for his tests on Wed. Thank you Vincent Chan for a delicious lunch at the Cathy. The Singapore Symphony Orchestra performed an entertaining sing along Christmas concert that evening; it was an opportunity for Yun to experience the Esplanade Concert Hall’s acoustic. Looking at it architecturally, it is rather appropriate for the locals to name it the Durian. We remembered Esplanade as the waterfront just north of the SIN River, where we walked along Queen Elizabeth Walk and ate satay in the 1950s. 

Yun flew back to Toronto yesterday and hopefully she will not wait for another 20 years before her next visit. Today is time to clear my accumulated backlog before the arrival of cousin David from Hawaii.

Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation.  For they are us, our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life – Albert Einstein

Family & Friends


9 Dec 2008 – Socially busy

Time flies and the weekend is over. A lively Sat lunch with Leonard, Chuan & family from Kuching; his children are about the same age as my grandchildren… hopefully there will be a number 4 from them too!

Yun & Dika hosted a delightful family Sun lunch. Met up with our 6 aunt LAM Poh Ying, her daughter in law Letty YANG and grandson Justin CHIA. Cousin Robert CHIA was the first of our generation to pass away in 1999.

Mon was a public holiday, Hari Raya Haji. The 0800hrs prayers were loud enough to wake the neighbourhood but it was late compared to Dika’s 0600hrs flight! Jo, Yun & I visited with 4 & 13 aunt LAM Poh Kow & LAM Poh Suen. We paid respects to our grandparents LAM Song Kee & CHAN Swee Ngor at Kwong Wai Siew Peck San Theng; to my parents LAM Tin Yue & TSANG May Lan at Mandai Crematorium.

Tue- Yun & I were at Mt Elizabeth Hospital with 15 uncle LAM Tin Cheong for his tests. Edith left for Vancouver yesterday morning. The day ended with a pleasant family dinner at my brother Steven. Yun has to pack and hopefully she will manage to fit everything into her suitcase. To have her as family & friend is a blessing…

Chance makes our parents, but choice makes our friends – Jacques Delille

Temenggong Road(1)


6 Dec 2008 – Temenggong, an ancient Malay title of nobility

The location of the previous posting was Kepple Habour Wharf 8 with Pulau Blakan Mati in the background, taken from #5 Temenggong Rd in the late 1940s. Grandfather LAM Song Kee bought #5 and it was my birthplace & childhood playgrounds until 1965. Today the view is blocked by Telok Blangah House and the highway; the warehouses is now Vivocity and Pulau Blakan Mati is Sentosa.

#5 was demolished after I left SIN; ruins of the gates’ pillars and the undernourished old rumbutan trees echo memories of a dim grandeur era. From the road one can see a sign State Land No Trespassing posted near the fallen pillars where a magnificent villa once stood on the lush slopes. One can still only reached Mt Faber by a footpath from Temenggong Rd; it is no longer a muddy path, but a paved one with lamp posts. Temenggong and Mt Faber Rds are the few roads in SIN which have kept their charm and serenity.

Wed 15 Aug 2007, The Straits Times published an article by Jeanette Wang & Lim Wei Chean titled Mt Faber foothills slated to be next lifestyle hot spot. I wrote to provide them and the Heritage Board with historic info of Temenggong Abdul Rahman who made it possible in 1819 for Raffles to establish a British Settlement in SIN; I also expressed my thoughts as to why SIN does not need to slate the next lifestyle hot spot on historic grounds.

March 1823 Raffles arranged for the Temenggong Abdul Rahman who signed the preliminary Treaty with Raffles in 1819 to establish the Settlement and his followers to vacate the village (kampong) at the mouth of the Singapore River and resettle in a new village (Kampong Bahru) in Telok Blangah. This was Singapore’s first urban renewal project.

The Temenggong’s new area stretched from Tanjong Pagar to Telok Blangah and covered approximately 200 acres of land. He built his house here and on his new land he grew spices, fruit and gutta percha. He became prosperous. 

The Temenggong’s Istana (palace) was demolished. Later the Batu Shoe Factory occupied the site. The factory no longer exists but has been replaced by other modern buildings. The present Mosque which belongs to the Government of Johore (Masjid Kerjaan Johor) was previously a reception hall of the Temenggong’s residence. 

Next to the Mosque on a hillock is the Royal Mausoleum; it includes the royal tomb of the Rajah of old Pahang Johore, Rhio and Lingga Empire. Temenggong Abdul Rahman who died in 1825 is also buried there and the various tombstones in the Mausoleum are indicated in a legend placed against a wall. 

In front and behind the Mausoleum among numerous other graves is the special bathing area (now covered with dense trees) of Temenggong Abdul Rahman. There was a running stream which flowed from Blangah Hill (Mount Faber) to the bathing enclosure – Dhoraisingam S Samuel.

Honor the spirits, but keep your distance from them – anonymous

Old Picture


3 Dec 2008 – Where & When

Guess the location of this picture in SIN and when & where it was taken from…

May HALD flew to Shanghai Mon and Thu she heads to OSL. LAM Kah Yun & Dika LAM are in Kuching and thanks to Chuan, I will have a picture of the Kwong Lee Bank Road when Yun & Dike return to SIN on Sat. This is the last month of 2008 and I still cannot find pictures of the first Kwong Lee Bank started by my paternal grandfather LAM Song Kee and his brother.

Thank you Ken TAN & his wife Cynthia for a lovely dinner together with his mom 11 aunt LAM Poh Yue, 15 uncle LAM Tin Cheong and his daughter, Edith LAM (from Vancouver). Colour-coding the names but also including the family names for a more organised system. My father’s generation- 18 of them excluding spouses and those before them were more systematic with the family name first, followed by their generation name and then finally their own name. LAM Tin Yue, LAM being the family name, Tin (males), Poh (females) for their generation and Yue is his name.

In my generation, the paternal side- 35 of us excluding spouses, the names are supposed to be LAM followed by Kwok (males), Su (females). The system got messed up by not following the generation names and adopting western names. Thus, colour coding to differentiate the generations. Must have been out of my mind to want to map out this family tree… would have been easier to walk another long distant trail!

It is quite a jungle where my family tree is concerned – Amy Lam Su Guan