The year 1987 was very special for me and my wife. That was the year my youngest daughter, Wong Siew Foong (黄小凤) was born. My wife often said Siew Foong was a harbinger of good luck. Since her birth everything was propitious.
One indication of good times to come was the appearance of pigeons in the compound of my house. One morning, after my daily kungfu practice, I was surprised to find many pigeons flocking to my house. The pigeons had been coming, but that particular morning, there were many. They made a lot of noise and were obviously having a good time, though neither my wife nor I, unprepared for their arrival, bought any grains to feed them.
I was surprised not at the pigeons, or their number, or the noise they made, but at why they came to my house. According to Chinese beliefs, pigeons only go to houses of rich people. Although my financial position had improved, I did not consider myself rich, i.e. financially rich, though I was actually very rich in other aspects, like good health, happy family and appreciative students both in the school I taught as a school teacher and in my kungfu and chi kung classes.
Nevertheless, my financial position continued to improve. I did not know, neither was I concerned, whether it was due to my improving financial position that pigeons came to my house, or the other way round, due to pigeons coming to my house that my financial position improved. But I found it poetical to believe that because of Siew Foong’s arrival, both my financial position improved and pigeons, symbols of love and peace, came to my house.
With our improved financial position, both my wife and I could help other less fortunate people, like my wife buying meals for poor children in school, and I giving money to people in need.
Indeed, it was just the other day at the time of writing, that Swee Zhi, the girlfriend of my youngest son, Chun Yian, told us she was so pleasantly surprised when she and Chun Yian caught up with Chun Yian’s friends during the Chinese New Year festive session, that one of Chun Yian’s friends, who is now a lawyer, told her that he knew my wife.
“How did you know auntie?” Swee Zhi asked.
“Not only I know her, I am very grateful to her.”
“Did you meet her before?”
“Yes, every day during my primary school days. She bought meals for us during school recess.”
My youngest daughter, Siew Foong, was very attached to me. Initially, whenever I went overseas to teach chi kung and kungfu, she would be sick. At first, I was not aware of the relationship between her sickness and me going overseas, but my wife, with her motherly instinct, discovered that her sickness was due to her thinking of me when I was not at home.
So, following my wife’s discovery, when I was about to fly overseas, I would console my youngest daughter, telling her that I would soon be home again and asking her not to be sick. It worked very well. Since then, she was not sick when I went overseas.
Whenever I was at home, I would spend a lot of time playing with her and her younger brother, Chun Yian, who arrived two years later. They would run into my arms, and I would swing them overhead, sometimes with them somersaulting in the air, but with me holding them carefully. My wife would be concerned.
“Be very careful not to let them fall,” my wife would call out with some apprehension.
“They are perfectly safe,” I would reply.
My youngest daughter and youngest son, Siew Foong and Chun Yian, were specially close, especially when my other three children were much older than them, and therefore may have different likings. Nevertheless, all the five brothers and sisters were close and loving to one another.
Myself and Siew Foong at the China Town in Terengganu