Monday, January 22, 2007

Farewell, Ching

I got a surprise visit from Brandon, my student who is from Hong Kong. Brandon came to study in Singapore in 1992. He was 16 then. He stayed with me for 3 years before going to US for further studies. He's married and now operates his own real estate company in California.

He specially came to Singapore to give me his mother's farewell gift - a beautiful diamond ring that she bought in Tiffany's. His Mom passed away last December, she was only 55. I was shocked and couldn't stop my tears from pouring.

I was also very touched that she still kept me in her memory after all these years. It was very sad to hear of her passing, but Brandon & I think she would be happier where she is now.

I first met Ching, Brandon's Mom, in October 1991. She was a beautiful lady and always dressed in designer clothings and dripping with diamonds. Her husband is a developer in Hong Kong and China. She was an unhappy woman because her husband was seldom at her side and he kept mistresses.

Ching would come to Singapore every two months to see Brandon and she would treat us to expensive dinners. She would shower Jaymes & I with lots of designer wear. I was not comfortable with that and once told her I would get angry if I receive another branded handbag. She just laughed it off and continued buying expensive gifts for Jaymes. She was a very generous person.

All these gifts didn't make me treat Brandon any more special than the others. I was very strict with Brandon and I couldn't stand any nonsense from my students at that time. I was very square - very inflexible and firm, upon making up my mind. Brandon couldn't take it and used to complain to his Mom, but Ching would tell me to ignore him and do as I deem fit. She commented that Chris and I treated Brandon like our own son, caring for him more than her husband and herself. Gradually Ching grew to trust me.

Then she started to confide in me. On many nights she would make long overseas calls to chat with me. She was one very lonely woman.

In December 1993, she bought airtickets for Jaymes & I to go to Hong Kong. We stayed in her beautiful mansion on top of a hill. She brought us and Brandon to eat and shop all over Hong Kong, and she wouldn't allow me to spend my Hong Kong dollars. Whatever Jaymes and I lay eyes on, she would promptly ask the salesgirls to wrap it up. So much so that I told Jaymes not to look at anything at all. But the estatic kid didn't listen to me! So we ended up with another extra 3 luggage to bring home. And she paid for the overweight charges too!

Subsequently we were invited to tour China together with the family. We were treated as family members.

When Brandon went to study in US, we still kept in touch. She would fly to Singapore for a few days just to chill out with me. Later we drifted apart due to my busy schedules. The last time I heard her voice was 3 years ago, before she fell very ill. Brandon said Ching was ill for the past 3 years and refused to see any visitor nor take phone calls.

Ching wrote me a letter, saying that she wanted me to remember her as the beautiful Ching & a cheerful lady. She had treated me like her family and would like me to treat Brandon as family. So the next post is in memory of Ching.

One memorable thing happened on that first Hong Kong trip. The cheeky Ching brought me to a 'duck shop' (gigolo bar 鸭店) one night!


  1. Wow..!! very interesting..! can't wait to hear about your "duck" nite.. :)

  2. Waxed duck, much better than duck shop :-)

    Who will give the last hug at:
    Liver Cancer

  3. 'cher,
    you should write about the China trip. You were such a moron!

    Didn't you find my Dad especially good to you? I've never seen a more stupid woman! My Mom & I were so exhausted trying to return you to Uncle Chris in one piece! For someone with high IQ, you are such a retard sometimes!

    And write about the time you met Andy Lau. My Mom's friends were asking,"Who's that?"

    "My teacher!" hahahahaha.......

  4. Wow, so touching and emotional. My tears nearly flowed too. Until I read the last sentence, that is. I knew you can't stay away from the topic of sex.

  5. Brandon darling,
    Don't be rude! Is that how I teach you? Please email me not make comments here ok?

    And don't talk about your Dad like that lah! He's still your Dad.

  6. Victor,
    Shameless advertising mah! People are interested in my sex life! Sex sells!

  7. What a beautiful post! Sometimes, we look at people who seem to have "everything," but we only look at what is visible to our eyes. You saw the real Ching, and she was grateful.

  8. Hi Beth,
    Ching has everything that money can buy. She's the envy of most women but she couldn't buy love.

    She taught me humility & not to be judgemental. I was a Miss Perfect, and demanded highly of others, now I learn to accept everyone as he or she is.

    Ching was a wonderful lady, what she did was none of my business.

  9. It's such a touching friendship between you and Ching. I think trusted friendship is what money can never buy. I wish I could have the chance to learn from Ching about being humble and not being judgemental. There is so much to learn on this Earth.

    Hey, I am interesting to read about the gigolo bar too.

  10. I'm sure many people are curious about the ducks.... I mean gigolos.

  11. Wow!. What a wonderful woman. Good that she supported you as the teacher too. I suspect that help make Brandon a successful man today. Sad that she was so lonelu, but good you could give her the time you did.

  12. She sounds like such a sweet lady. Its a pity you lost contact with her, but at least you have the good times to remember ;)

    Treasure those!

  13. That's a nice story. I guess it shows that life isn't just as straightforward as what it is made out to be. You can have the most lavish lifestyle yet feel incredible loneliness. Often, its the simple things in life that matter more.

    I am interested to know what you used to teach as you do blog about your students now and then.

    You do have a nice mixture of different posts that you have here - from food, personal reflections, events, celebrities, humour and world affairs.

  14. Oh my, that's so sad... I'm glad that you got to meet up with Brandon though. For me, work's been crazy but at least I'm working!

    I just remembered.. you finally got your picture up! Yay!

  15. Simpla American,
    You're right. Ching is a wonderful lady. I regret that I wasn't there when she was sick. And all these years she kept me in her heart.

  16. Hi db!
    Thanks for visiting.
    Oh, I'm writing about the good times with her in my next posts ;)

  17. Walter,
    My blog is rojak. It is made up of bits & pieces of my life. I guess I have an interesting life because I am always looking for an adventure.

    Oh, I have lots of stories regarding my students.........

  18. Hi dieselfire!
    Long time no 'see' arh? Busy with work? That's great!

    Like what you see (my photo)?