For ma ma on Grandparents’ Day
WITHOUT your grandparents, you probably wouldn’t be here reading this right now, but because of my grandmother, I was almost not born.
My paternal grandmother nearly gave my dad, the last of six children, to a relative after his birth – an apparently common practice back the 50s. Our family had one too many boys, and the relative’s only had girls, thought my grandmother. It was my grandfather who put his foot down and insisted they keep my dad.
What kind of person was my grandmother like?
My grandfather story
My grandfather likes to tell people, in Hokkien, that he is 86 years old 我八十六岁了，老了 (it sounds better in Hokkien). But he is not, he is only 84. He’s 85 if you go by the Chinese method of babies being born at age one. He gets the 86 years from the birth date recorded on his IC which was what he or his parents declared to some clerk during Singapore’s earlier years.
My grandfather was a strong man. He used to have these steel exercise springs (basically like resistor bands) that he used every morning at 0530 until he turned ~80. When I was in primary school, I remember dangling from one of his arms which he would maintain parallel to the floor like a tree branch. I sort of recall that up until I was Primary 4, he allowed me to punch him (with notice, of course). My hands hurt more than his. He was then in his early 70s, I believe.
According to my mom, he didn’t dare to pinch my nose for fear of pulling my nose off with his 牛力 (bull strength). He also refused to cane his grandchildren and graciously left that job to his wife. According to him, he got involved in fights with policemen (those wearing shorts) in his younger, wilder days. I don’t really doubt that story.
Granny who inspired Grandparents' Day in Singapore dies aged 103
Mr Jay Lim, the founder for Grandparents' Day in Singapore, shared the story of his beloved grandmother, who inspired him to moot the idea of Grandparents' Day back in 1998.
Madam Lee Su Lan has passed away peacefully in her sleep just days ago (May 22). She was aged 103. Mr Lim shared with Stomp that inspired by her, he brought the idea of Grandparents' Day to the Parliament.
Thereafter, every 4th Sunday of November was designated and declared as the Official National Grandparents’ Day from 1999 onwards.
5 Ways our Grandparents could teach us
When we are young, we sometimes forget that we will age. And the reality is, we will move slower — perhaps be more forgetful, maybe a bit grumpier, and our hobbies may shift to watching getai and Taiwanese soap operas, for instance.
That’s where our grandparents are now: members of Singapore’s pioneer generation, mostly above 60 in age and retired. We may not always connect very well with them — especially if we don’t speak the dialect they’re most comfortable with — and sometimes we take their presence in our lives for granted.
With decades of life experience under their belt, our grandparents hold a secret treasure trove of epic stories, great secrets and fun, and sometimes random, thoughts. Here are five of the many things we can learn from them:
- Be adaptable
- Be daring
- Be resilient
- Be faithful
- Be selfless
National Grandparents Day
National Grandparents' Day is a secular holiday celebrated in the United States since 1978 and officially recognized in a number of countries on various days of the year, either as one holiday or sometimes as a separate Grandmothers' Day and Grandfathers' Day (for the first time Grandma's Day was celebrated in Poland in 1965, see below for dates by country). One celebrates both paternal and maternal grandparents.
Marian McQuade of Oak Hill, West Virginia, has been recognized nationally by the United States Senate – in particular by Senators Jennings Randolph; and Robert Byrd – and by President Jimmy Carter, as the founder of National Grandparents Day. McQuade made it her goal to educate the youth in the community[clarification needed] about the important contributions seniors have made throughout history. She also urged the youth to "adopt" a grandparent, not just for one day a year, but rather for a lifetime.
In 1973, Senator Jennings Randolph (D-WV) introduced a resolution to the senate to make Grandparents' Day a national holiday. West Virginia's Governor Arch Moore had proclaimed an annual Grandparents' Day for the state, at the urging of Marian McQuade. When Senator Randolph's resolution in the U.S. Senate died in committee, Marian McQuade organized supporters and began contacting governors, senators, and congressmen in all fifty states. She urged each state to proclaim their own Grandparents' Day. Within three years, she had received Grandparents' Day proclamations from forty-three states. She sent copies of the proclamations to Senator Randolph.
In February 1977, Senator Randolph, with the concurrence of many other senators, introduced a joint resolution to the senate requesting the president to "issue annually a proclamation designating the first Sunday of September after Labor Day of each year as 'National Grandparents' Day'." Congress passed the legislation proclaiming the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents' Day and, on August 3, 1978, then-President Jimmy Carter signed the proclamation. The statute cites the day's purpose: "... to honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children's children, and to help children become aware of strength, information, and guidance older people can offer".