Thursday, 26 February 2009
Monday, 8 October 2007
Latest Book - Tears In Heaven Publishing Soon!
due to legal publishing rights adherence. Read
it NOW for free! No kidding!).
Want to know more about Hady Mirza –Singapore Idol 2006
in his school days?
How was Ken Lim –‘Singapore Idol’ and ’Live The Dream’ Chief
Judge, in his younger days and beyond? Find out how one day
Ken Lim begged this author to get him out of a dilemma.
Find out how this author knows so much about them!!
Their never-made-public news!
Obviously the above liners are just teasers…but they are true
stories about Hady and Ken Lim unveiled within the nuggets
of this book.
But more importantly, I would like to introduce to you a more
important person in my life.
This is my story of someone so dear and near to my heart,
and yet so distant. Full of more emotion and feeling than
perhaps fact. Writing, like reading, is a voyage of unearthing.
I may not write the great novel, but I sure have lived it. My
ideal reader is like a best friend - who would gain the most
from you. The pen, I realised, would speak to people you
did not know, in places you would never go in ways you
I dislike having my life dissected for public consumption.
Sometimes, there was the fear of hurting others with too
much honesty; or at times, emotions were still too raw
to be given form with words.
Wait, hold your horses.
I am a novice scribe. Writing does not come naturally
to me. There are the dry spells. The proverbial writer's
block. I abandoned writing for a long period because
of the prolonged spells. Inside, it's like there's a huge
ball of jumbled words, feelings welling up, just
desperately needing to find an outlet.
Some of the pieces are too abrupt, others too wordy,
but it is my first book, and it has a special place in
Writing this book was never in my heart as I do not
wish to be perceived as collecting merits for myself
and my family. It was a painful & liberating process. It was painful but priceless. At times I was completely
lost in my own world, drowned in the eerie silence.
The same emotional baggage that burdens my soul.
These words are ancient jewels mined from the quarry
of my life. Nothing dramatic here, just the hard reality
of life. Sometimes I feel lonely, but I insist on
applauding myself and throwing myself a feast. There are moments when I have the overwhelming need to dissect
troubling feelings and thoughts through writing but there always seem
to be some emotional obstacles.
I slept under the hypnosis of social conditioning. What are you doing?
Ask yourself. Am I in a state of denial? Or having a tryst with destiny? As a Christian, I merely need to fully enjoy the grace of God through
the finished work of Jesus on the cross. No amount of good work
can earn me His grace and salvation of God. Just receive His
blessings and not work for it. It is that simple.(Romans Chapter 11
Verse 6). But through His love bring forth good works. It leaves me
airborne and suspended by his grace. When you put your life in God's
hands, He will make all things beautiful.
Gone Baby Gone
I was recently struck by pieces of dreadful news which I could have
just filed away. Any family who has a new - born Down Syndrome
baby would have been punctured deeply by grieve. Their eyes burnt
with warm tears of anguish and anger. Grief is often muted, even
private. Wallowing in self-pity and mourning for the perfect baby
they had lost. What they wanted, did not come. What came, they
did not want. Tears in heaven - Jesus wept. He cries with you.
It was not from God. And I do not pretend to have the answer.
I like the answer ' I don't know' than to have pastors decree the
death sentence to your already dead situation.
We are living in a fallen world. In our buttoned-up society,
having a Down Syndrome child seems to be a taboo. It strips
away the gloss of today's success to reveal the scars of humanity.
In my own life, I grew up with a Down Syndrome child in my family.
And it has been for the last forty-three years.
This child is not my own neither was from my family nor relatives.
A child from a complete stranger - totally not related to my family.
Why? The obvious thought in anybody's mind. Was it for money,
fame, shame or name sake? Read on.....but prepare your heart...
I could not just cache these treasure trove of moments and let it
frozen in time. Each person cocooned in his own separate life
I felt the season has come to open windows into men's souls
on these experiences. I feel I'm a full-time missionary, and a
full-time lecturer too.
It is not my intention to make this book a nostalgic echo of my
experiences neither it is going to be a high-octane thriller.
But I hope to share some touching moments, my struggles
and joy in bringing up a Down Syndrome girl, Ivy Tham.
For all these years, I have never trumpeted my toil with Ivy.
Hardly anyone knew of my labour with a Down Syndrome girl
in my life. If I'm working for a standing ovation through this,
it must have been a very foolish effort. For the pains, struggle
and the challenges, there is other sure and easier ways to
achieve it. There is no need or desire to impress others. This also gives me another strong impetus to write this book
in setting right the fallacy. The facts are true, no names have
`Back to the future'
I felt deflated. My mind and heart have been unconsciously
working in tandem like a self-activated videotape constantly
playing back memories, bringing back dormant images
that now take on a new meaning. I felt I had taken a ride back
in time. At certain point, some heart-wrenching moments were
Ivy seemed like a flawed angel or a tragic victim of a fallen
conspiracy. The tragedy was not in dollars and cents. More
importantly, I hope, as you journey with me through the long
passage of time that you would be exalted in your heart in
caring and loving for a Down Syndrome child.
Silence from Heaven
Ivy -born in January the 13th 1964, her life hangs by a thread -
a complete vegetable, Down Syndrome and hole-in-the-heart.
She was just a bag of bones, literally and unexaggerated.
She was born tragically in the midst of her parents' divorce.
Her mother tried unsuccessfully to abort her through dubious
Chinese drugs. It was a prevalent and common abortion practice
in the sixties.
In the cold wintry night, Ivy was pushed out into the world.
The angels were silenced, clasped not in prayer but hiding
their tears that warmed their porcelain faces. Their arms of
grace were cold and weary. Along the dark corridors of the
old Kandang Kerbau Hospital , many dreams of the storks
ushering the beautiful baby didn't come true. Darkness
reigned, the guardian angels fluttered away, so did her
own father and two elder sisters whom has never seen her
Ivy's almost lifeless body along with her twisted arms and
legs awaiting to meet the Creator of the Heaven and Earth.
Where the heck was Superman, to wrangle her away from the
hounding evil forces of society. With tubes and wires sticking
into her body, her half-stale vegetable state lied lukewarm. Meanwhile, her mother was in no better state of mind and body.
The Ministry of Social Welfare officials were at hand, knowing
that Ivy would need a foster home to see her through,
for a long time to come. Her Bata factory-operator mother was
self-supportive with two other children, aged four and seven.
Her husband had already left her for good. With her meagre
earnings, seeing through the day-to-day expenses in itself is
not going to be easy. Let alone having to look after a Down
Syndrome and handicapped child.
The Ministry then contacted my mother whom had been a
registered foster mother. While Ivy was still on the hospital
bed, my mother visited her with the officials. 'This is Ivy Tham
Chui Heong, from a broken family. She is completely bed-ridden
and would be for a long time. She will receive free medical care,
but you will have to fetch her to the Singapore General Hospital
for treatment and checkup very often. Because she has a hole-in-
the-heart plus other health problems' the ady official looked
resigned and sighed. She pleaded with my mother to take up
this challenge to help Ivy. For $60 a month. A few other foster
mothers had rejected this request, for an obvious reason.
It was not the money but evidently it was going to be tough
and draining. Somehow my mother took it up to foster Ivy.
Of course, she knows what she was in for. I was only seven
years old then, the youngest in our family of six. I was too
young to know the implications of having Ivy into our home.
I was in fact mesmerised by a young baby so contorted
in her body and face. I pulled back in awe and was afraid
to come near Ivy.
In the years ahead, the promise of hard work and toil never fail
to come. I remembered clearly how my mother had to painstakingly
prop her up with pillows around her lest she toppled over while
seated. Ivy did not even had an ounce of energy of her own to turn
her back. She laid flat on her back most of the time, her skull
behind was flattened which is still evident today.
In all, it took the full sixteen years for her to progress from the
baby cot to walking unaided. A feat in which a normal child
would take only about fifteen months. In between the years, there were countless trips to the hospital
come rain or shine. Taking the Tay Koh Yat bus in the sixties
was a perilous task. I had to piggy-back Ivy and rushed for the bus.
Even before I could hit on the second step, the bus would rush
away with turbo-charged speed. Under the hot pelting sun,
the slope to SGH was always an uphill task. The efforts were
well rewarded through the intensive healthcare and love for Ivy,
she grew in good stead. Within the neighbourhood, she was
always an icon. Through the years, people were appalled
and perplexed by the pains that my mother was willing to
persevere for Ivy.
Each day Ivy lives in her own freedom, full of joy and peace not
knowing a single thought of her background. Her mental age
is less a two-year old child till today. But behind her joy, people
are oblivious to the daily struggle that my mother went through.
Every single task has to be done for her, from changing,
bathing , to the toilet visit. At times, she would pass her motion
or urine right where she is seated, it still happens till now, commonly. But for 21 years, she was brought up in the warm harness of our
home.Even with her disabilities, she has a great zest for life
and a high threshold of pain. I have seen more pain in her than you
and I would ever experience in a lifetime.
The unconditional love for her from our family conquers it all.
It was definitely not a battery-powered love. She learnt to
walk and ride a tricycle at a late age of sixteen, in itself a miracle.
She lives in her own world of silence and peace, with a mental
age of not more than two.
Ivy – Her Angelic Grace
Though she possesses a child syndrome, she has the feline
grace . She is so charming and can be very disarming. In my
previous job in the stressful disk drive industries, I was often
burnt out each day. But many a time she has an ever ready
smile that surely captures my heart. Her innocence is very moving.
I bought for her a $120 rattan chair with a specially tailored
height. With her sleek, tender and soft body, she could
contort her legs around her neck elegantly. A common feat
she accomplished with dexterity.
Around the age of 20, about 4 years after her new-found freedom
of walking ability, she would perform the act of a junior escape artiste.
When no one was around the hall, she would sneak out and cleverly
climbed two flights of stairs up to the fifth storey of the apartments
we lived in, bare-footed. By the time we had discovered her
disappearing act, frantically we would launch a sweeping search.
When found, she would give a hilarious laugh, kicking joyfully.
She won - in her own way. She was such a live-wire. At other times, if anyone happens to sit with their back behind her,
she would wittingly deliver a real solid wrist punch on their back.
During her less merciful moments, she would deliver a swift
and powerful punch or kick.
Sometimes, when we go out, people notice how different she
is and stare. And children look at her and get scared.
But we take it all in our stride. We just tell ourselves that
people stare because she looked unusual - no malice intended.
In 1985, at the age of 21, that dream of a happy home cringed
into a broken mirror and her end was near. Her dream faded
fast. Her own aged mother decided to put her in an old folks
home. Lee Ah Mooi Old Folk's Home along Jalan Kayu then-
a complete run-down, stinking zinc-roofed lodging.
Ivy's mother's decision to pull her out of my home was a
Firstly, Ivy's mother was getting old and thinking
ahead - Ivy would outlive her. She wants to leave this world
knowing that Ivy is taken care of in a old folk's home. Secondly,
Ivy's mother could not afford to foot the money payable to
Ministry of Community Development as a co-payment
for Ivy's monthly maintenance. After all, she was just a Bata
shoes production operator.
The doomsday came when Ivy was sent to the old folk's
home. When we reached there, I was not prepared for the
sight that greeted me. What I saw brought on a nightmare.
I wanted to cry from the minute I walked in. My mind could
not process the horror seen.
Ivy was allocated a lice-infested bed amongst the lifeless
old women around her. The many wooden beds were
packed to the eyeballs. The stench was stomach- churning.
She was doomed to a life of no love & attention. It seemed
that she was aware of the curtain closing on her life. The old
folk home had turned into a death trap for a life so young and
innocent. I sat on her bed, holding my hand tight, wanting to
go home. A reservoir of tears stored in my soul was
streaming down my cheeks. I could not compose myself.
My face hardened as I looked out the window towards the
grey sky. Inside, my motions were a mighty river. And my dam
was beginning to crack.
A grimace of pain & sadness passed over her face. She
casted a tender glance at me. Her wary eyes darted around.
Her little neck stretched as high as it could to look over the bed.
She was perching for a look of my car, parked along the sandy
path. She grasped my hand pointing to her pair of pink shoes
by her bedside. She wants home. The foster brother who
had wiped away the tears that had flowed, put the bandages
on wounds and cut her nails,she would probably not see for
eternity. But beginning today, someone else would if ever. As dusk gave way to night, I bade farewell to her, fully aware
that when she would need me the most, when her cry of despair
would roar through the heavens, I would sit in silence, unaware,
standing ready to wipe away any tears.
I visited her for four continuous nights and I left with a sense
of emptiness. I was in strong emotional fortitude and decided
to bring her back into the arms of grace. I grieved
initially - not for myself, but for Ivy. But I picked myself up
almost immediately, determined to do my best to help Ivy.
Each night I went home with an emptiness. A little something inside
me died. Her life was in limbo and things had gone all soft. A
part of me had been cruelly wrenched away. It was as if I had
stumbled into a time warp and been transported into another world,
where there was no security, no future and no hope for Ivy. There was alot of soul -searching. I just wish my mother would
give me the space to do what I want to do in this life for Ivy.
Unfortunately, life was not so accommodating. I fought tooth and
nail with my mother in her coming back home. The mention of Ivy
would be laced with bitterness. Cracks opened in our relationship.
My mother eyeballed me sternly before saying her final ultimatum,
in her usual deadpan tone - she wants Ivy out. She shouted at me in
Hokkien, saying, ' We have done enough good deeds for Ivy already!
Twenty-one long years! I'm getting old now, please don't burden
me anymore!'. It apparently caused her hormones to bubble.
She must have thought that I was a completely misguided soul. I felt a knot in my throat. 'Mother, please, Ivy does not take a lot of
effort to take care of. I can get a maid to look after her.' I know at best,
it was an absurd argument. I know she simply wants to draw an
icy cold line and wants me to move on, without Ivy. My mother
looked set to pull the trigger – point blank.
I began to make sense of what was happening and became
emotionally refrigerated. The repercussion was going to be
significant. And it did. But I felt assured that God will not let me
get into something I cannot handle.
Morning has broken
On the fifth day, I called up Ivy's mother and told her that I have
decided to bring Ivy back home. I followed my heart & trusted
my instincts. I was prepared for the messy aftermath of going
against my own mother.
Ivy’s mother was not apprehensive and accepted my decision
graciously. I explained to her and took the responsibility to take
care of Ivy. She did not asked me for an iron-clad guarantee that
I will fulfill this responsibility for good in all adversities. It is not
cast in stone. She then called the old folk's home to inform them
of Ivy's homecoming. Together we headed to fetch Ivy in Jalan
Kayu. When we reached there, Ivy was in a fearful state. The
medical orderly there said that she refused to be bathed apparently
out of fright. Her long cotton pants were torn and tattered. She
was then changed to a new set of clothing. Ivy looked perplexed
at first, not knowing what was happening. As usual, I wore her
pair of pink rubber shoes. By then she knew she would be
going home. Her face brightened up and stood up straight
after wearing her shoes. She was then from smiling ear
to ear, holding on to my hand tightly. Ivy's mother was at
the same time making the administrative arrangements.
They refused to refund her the $5,000 one-time fee for
putting Ivy there supposedly for good even though she
stayed for only four days. Her mother sighed. $5,000
from her life savings meant a lot for her. She walked
away looking resigned.
After the procedures had been done, we waved goodbye to the
old folk's home. Ivy turned her back and walked briskly to my car.
Once inside, she held on tightly knowing that she will not
want to come back again. As I drove along the winding and
sandy path along the track, my joy of seeing Ivy back home
suddenly turned to uneasiness. As the reality began to sink in,
the feelings surfaced.
I thought I have make no allowances for personal emotion, it was
a decision not a feeling of wanting to bring Ivy home. I swallowed
hard. After loosing much sleep & hair over it, I must withstand
all terrains. As I glanced at the rear view mirror, Ivy's lit-up face
cheered me on.
Her beaming face said it all. I'm passionate about decisions
made and it is hard for me to just let emotions ride. I am a
fighter who comes out on top, no matter what life throws at me.
Keeping a brave front, my car arrived home. Ivy was restlessly
looking around the familiar surroundings once again. My mother
answered the door. Ivy's beaming smile was silenced
by my mother's burning anger. She gave my mother a wounded
puppy's look. But my mother turned and walked away grimly
after opening the door for us.
I temporarily lost myself. In fact, there is no word from my mother,
period. And the silence is deafening. But Ivy's wary eyes
darted around. Not knowing that her `Promised Land' was
paid at a price. It was a solution looking for a problem. My
mother's face was tight with pent-up emotions, all ready to
burst at the seam on me. I know it was not going to be a walk
in the park.
Flying on Paper Wings Anyone would have empathised my mother, how could I refute
that. I have seen it each day myself and was very much part
of it. Sure she had enough, probably more than anyone could
imagine. But in me, the word 'burden' was no more in my
vocabulary.I vy and I have a bonding that transcended beyond
language. How could I sear through the spirit of humanity and
bring forth the unction.The words log-jammed in my throat.
The atmosphere between us was extremely frosty. In the
eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation with her, I could not afford
to blink. I was walking on an emotional tightrope.I felt in
my bones that I should fight on. But my soul was also
clogged with guilt in chaining my mother with this burden again.
I felt absolutely imprisoned. My mother was already at the autumn
of her life. I was greatly pinched between these two. I thought
I should not roll into the mud of empathy and to emotionally
disconnectmyself from Ivy.Nobody is better prepared to shoulder
that responsibility.I was in limbo, I lived every day with doubt;
I don't know where to pitch my emotions. My fourth sister
Geok Tim whom was closest to me, but wasn't always at the
same page with me. She had been encouraging me to put Ivy
back to the old folk's home, a better & cleaner one. She would
have thought that I was merely in a perpetual state of anaesthesia.
She seemed resolved to psych me out, asking me to put Ivy
aside and move on. I hated the popular self-help notions of
'closure' & 'moving on' trying to find some closure.But my
sister knows that I'm the decisive but cautious type, and
never make a decision without thorough thoughts and considerations.
She cautioned that I should not hazard everything on a single throw
of dice. It is going to be a long haul she warned. She wants to be
sure that I was in touch with my own feelings and not inevitably
opened a can of worms in my life. There is no right or wrong
about it. There are many things which need no such differentiation
of right and wrong.I made my point so clear to her that there was
no going back. I was very clear about it and I did not know why
she was not. I look set to bite the dust at all cost. I was firm on
something special. I have to stand that extra inch taller unmoved
by these barbs. It took her a long time to see the truth of my statement.
I must make my own judgments, which are not subject to anyone
else's agreement or approval. I have no one to please but myself.
Life is in the process, in the living, not in the outcome, and the
process of living is the process of making ourselves. Ivy's
own sister Jane Tham, a bank officer, called me, interrogating
me for my actions. I was held hostage by her answerless questions.
She made it clear to me that I do not have the jurisdiction to bring
Ivy out of the old folk's home. It was none of my business, she
reiterated – ‘Ivy is not related in any kind, form or blood to me’.
That was a cruel irony. Someone fighting to reject her own flesh
and blood – humiliating her own sister Ivy. She must have thought that
I was genetically modified to possess traits of taking care of Ivy for
nothing…absolutely no gain but surely the pain to come. Nobody is
better prepared to shoulder that burden.She must have the notion
that I had lost my bearings. I was a young and promising engineer
at the age of 28, only 3 years upon returning from my undergrad
studies in England . She thought that I would cop-out and
would eventually walk out of this mess when any crunch comes.
Obviously, Ivy's responsibility would befall on her.
We were light years apart but there was nothing senile about her words.
Her certain words carried strong emotional overtones. One who
plunges verbal ice-pick into hearts. That was unfortunate . Well,
it is just that people scold you because you have depicted the truth
and touched a raw nerve.She was a young woman then, about
25 years old, single. She would have to build her own family,
so was I. It will not be easy for any would-be spouse to accept
Ivy into a matrimonial home. Marriage has to be in some ways
been put on a pedestal.Before she hung up, I gave her my
iron-clad guarantee - there will be no turning back. And most
importantly, she would have absolutely no obligation to take
responsibility for her own sister. After she hung up, she was out
of my hair for good. Remember that I do not owe anyone
justification or explanations. I cannot just pretend that Ivy
came through my life like a sandstorm and disappeared
in what seemed like minutes.
The Long and Windy Road - Heaven Shall Reign
Through it all, I stuck to truth & authenticity. I was very pleased
that I stayed true to myself. I held my head high unrattled. But
I do not wish to wave a flag about it. I want to embrace her
life as long as I have mine. I stood the test of time. Life is a miracle of joy, I don't want to go yet. I do not want to let my life pass without having made a
difference to hers. A lifeline. I found my calling, I thought.
I illuminated her life like the passing moon. Ivy's whole life
and aura revolve around me, I cannot let go. It was as if
her life had come full circle. She seemed like such a wonderful being; I wanted people
to look past her disability and see her wonderful soul inside.
I do not know whether it is love, compassion or responsibility, but one thing I am very sure - there is no greater dignity and
joy than to give your life for others. I am glad I made the
choice. My heart is at peace. The years ahead may be cruel and the times may be hard, but I'll be there. No expenses are spared.
No corners are cut. Though I carried the torch for many years,
my satisfaction comes in the form of the ability to make
a difference, a higher calling than just simply for money. I believe that life is worth living for her , and that belief helps
create the fact for her. God used her to touch and change
many lives, especially mine. Life for Ivy has been like a cascade of dreams come true
again - for the good and better times. Dawn has come.
Ivy is back to her safe haven. She looks healthy and spirited.
She appeared to be in seventh heaven. Her fighting spirit makes small our sacrifices and
renews our determination to face new challenges. We are encouraged by Ivy's own determination to
progress and drew strength from her efforts. Her every
little achievement makes it all worthwhile. Whilst walking in faith & clinging to God's promises was
not easy. But it is hard to be without light in a dark world.
I carried the torch for many years and many more to come. I was faced with choices you wish you did not have to make.
Only I will live these moments and their consequences.
Be square with myself. Nothing and no else matters. I must recognise and accept the way I feel as normal and
necessary. I will do my best to accept that today I must
live with uncertainty - in the altered landscape of our home.
Whatever journey lay before us we would make it together.
The enormity of her future loomed in front of me but I must
not be cowed by its threat. I am ready for whatever life chose
to throw at me. I am not one to give up easily. Though at times it is emotionally and psychologically draining
but inside me there is a peaceful sanctuary. The most
important element in the world is another human being. Money No Enough
Since 1985 when I first brought Ivy back from the old folks
home, the Ministry of Community Development had stopped
financial aid including medical care. The decision made
to take care of Ivy comes with great responsibility both
financially and emotionally. Was it calculated risk I took
before I made the decision? No, it was not calculated at all.
If I ever did, I would have a nervous breakdown.
For the record, I do not a have deep pocket nor was I
born with a silver spoon from a pedigreed background.
But earned enough to put food on the table for a family
of eight - my mother, myself, wife, three young children, Ivy and
a maid. My bank account has not been 'scraping the
bottom' before pay day. Thank God for His provision. When my children were at pre-school age, the children
needed more attention from the maid. Ivy was soon
neglected at times. I decided to hire another mainly to
take care Ivy. She needs full attention right changing,
using the toilet, bathing...whatever a two-year old child
needed. A high- octane effort all year round. But after
four years, family expenses mounted, I had to make do
with just one maid. In year 1996, Ivy was featured on the very first 'Extraordinary
People' series. It enacted on how she came into our lives
and lived through years under our care. Ivy was once
again featured on second season of the 'Extraordinary People' series - Changing Lives. The producer of the programme hoped
to relive the last season since first series in 1996. It won
Television Corporation of Singapore an prize in the documentary category. The second series was repeatedly telecasted both
in the Chinese and English channels in Singapore .
It was also widely shown in the Asian TV channels including
Hong Kong , Thailand and India . After the telecast, I received
numerous offer to help Ivy in various ways. One neighbourhood hair salon offered free monthly haircuts for Ivy. I guess the salon
owner had seen the scene on the programme where me
and my wife were giving a half-baked haircut at home for Ivy.
A long-time friend of mine was so touched that he immediately
sent a cheque of $500(in which I refused to bank-in). A stranger,
Lee KC, wrote to me emails repeatedly, offering to support
Ivy financially. I thanked him for his good gesture and declined him entirely. My Honey, My Wife
My skirt-chasing days was about to sprint ahead with great
potential, I thought. Armed with an UK honours degree
and my well-heeled engineer job in an American multinational
I thought it put me in good stead. But with Ivy on the tow, it
would be an instant turn-off with any sensible woman. Who would ever want to start a family with you having a ready-made mentally
handicapped 'child'?. Worst of all, a 'child' that is not mine,
of flesh and blood. Let alone start a courtship on the wrong footing.
My stake on the board is a sure loser. It does not take a rocket
scientist to figure out that. I believe in marriage but at that time of
my life, it was not on my card. But then again, I was not getting
younger. And I felt I was not model material that women would
make a beeline for me. Redeemly married female colleagues
often said I displayed some 'good husband' materials....whatever that meant. In all honesty, I knew it was a risky decision to have Ivy in the haul.
I needed a strong heart to face rejection of marriage and
liquidate everything. Reality finally hit home. Ivy had always faced disapproving looks from the rest of society. The shadow of rejection
is always present. This thought cast a long shadow on my mind. After losing much sleep and hair over my marriage proposal, I
looked set to bite the dust. It was a long shot. I felt a knot in my
heart, the social repercussion is significant. But I thank God
that I have found a woman whom is willing to toe the line. Ivy was
my burden and she was willing to share it with me. She did
not had to do it, didn't she?. She is Debbie Pang – my beloved wife. I was pleasantly surprised that Ivy was never on the negotiation
table for our marriage agreement - the ultimatum of Ivy or her. We finally got married in 1990. On our wedding dinner, I ensured
that my family members bring Ivy along to the dinner. She sat happily
beside the VIP table. But in the midst of the wedding toast , Ivy
suddenly disappeared from her seat. I was shaken. Later I found
out that she was whisked away under wraps to our bridal hotel
room. I was furious because I was told that she should be
kept away during this auspicious occasion as Ivy was attracting
awkard stares at the VIP table. I immediately commanded my
sister to bring her back to the wedding dinner. It has been 17 years since we married. My wife, Debbie, had not
a hint of regret niggled at the back of her mind and more than
willing to last the distance with me. Knowing fully well that it is
unlikely that we will have to fight only one or two battles ahead for Ivy.
On both the personal and the public front, it is a long road.
And it has been. We are like astronauts, jettisoning the booster
rockets, shooting into the deep, dark space, trusting that the moon is there, waiting for our arrival. Debbie had come to accept her
on her terms and open herself to whatever discoveries and
surprises Ivy may lead her to. It is a lifelong calling and she was very forthcoming to any cracks that might open in our relationship. My wife Debbie is a woman who lived a life beyond extraordinary,
personified grace and humility. She projected the strength, character,
heart and substance to take care of Ivy with me.
Voices from Ivy - If Ever Born into this cold dark world with a twisted Down Syndrome body.
My life was doomed as it was and into a broken family. My father
had just left home for good.He had never seen me and never will.
Let alone my two elder sisters, born perfectly normal and now
married with their own children. Both had never bothered to see
me since birth. I longed so much to see both of you.
Don't you ever feel guilty rejecting your own flesh and blood?
Please, visit me soon before it is too late....a guilt that you
would never wash away. Probably as what my foster brother mentioned, they both fear
the burden of having to take care of me when my mother
passes away one day and my foster brother would turn his
back on me. But I know he never will. It is cold and
harsh and real, I felt victimized by my circumstances. But why would a stranger to my family sacrifice his life for
me and not someone whom has the same blood and
flesh do likewise? But I bear no malice against anyone.
This is a human tragedy. I saw my whole life before
my eyes. I could do nothing. It was really frightening. I have always had these disapproving looks from the rest of society. I believe God knows that my own sisters in blood chose to
reject me. He raised my foster brother to this mammoth
task. I felt sorry for him and his family. Many a time, I could see his face etched clearly were his feelings of despair, fatigue
and helplessness. The world could not understand....human love. He has weathered the storms of life and it has worn him thin
in his spirit being and burnt-out at times. He has always been
inundated with the same question on why he bothers to take up his
cross and burden himself. I am so sorry that what I am is causing
you a great deal of discomfort. You are one beyond money and status. My life and my soul are both resurrected because of you.
I hold you up with great respect. I look at your life as my only
emblem of hope in this world. You are my daily manna from heaven.
You make me a trophy of your love. I will never ever able to
repay you in this life.... and you know it very well and you still
chose to do so.
I thank you with love. I will never ever able to repay you
and your family in this life. I am sad to cause you so much
pain in your years.
Yet even when two well-known doctors from SGH and
Mt Elizabeth Hospital pronounced that you were about
to die in the year 1992 within 6 months, you still chose
not to abandon me. I know you never will, even on
your death bed. Thank God you live on….I know you will.
Twice in 1992, when you were on your deathbed in SGH
you quickly arranged for your sister to take care of me
temporarily in her home. But you pulled through alive
and you brought me back into your home of grace again.
Tears In Heaven - More chapters ahead.... Fully Written By Hong Geok Hua (unedited version)