Tuesday 31 March 2015

We join in the united spirit!

Back writing after abstaining a week from our social media. Thankfulness and melancholy were beyond words. Only one that I couldn't resist sharing, was a drawing Jare drew in representation of his class, for tribute to Mr LKY. That was yet another moment that sent me to tears.

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Photo credit: Ms Siti

We crawled through a week of somber days with a heavy spirit and unusual atmosphere. What is life after saying goodbye to a great man? I would say let's continue to do the work of excellence, mould good values and make our home a better place. Keep up the kind spirit of love and graciousness seen and rendered during this period of time.

To my kids, I would like to say "You did a 5 hours wait in the line up to the parliament despite having little history of this great man. You seem to only know him more intensely last week. And you now talk about Mr LKY being upset if you were to litter or waste precious water. You have outdone yourselves at that night of respect. Totally fuss and whine free. Thank you!"

It was also specially tough on us last week because Jazz was supposed to celebrate her 6th birthday with her friends on Sunday, a few days shy from her actual and also a day that coincides with the state funeral. When we first read news of the date and time set for the state funeral, we did feel a little heavy hearted, but not with much thoughts about postponing or cancelling her party. It was after all, because of this firmly built country that I built my family, gave births and have great resources to freely celebrate my kids' birthdays. We decided to go ahead knowing that a party at 4pm should not be in our way to catch the funeral and mark the final respect. I however, attempted to try start the party later at 4:30pm. I was unable to further delay because of some committed engagements. 

Towards the later part of the week, we read that the proposed time of funeral end would be 5.15pm, with siren sounding at the end to observe a minute of silence. I read that some retails would halt business on this day and some halting for hours during the time of funeral. Mummy J told me her kids' classes on Sunday were cancelled too. I knew and I knew, we had to make the decision to postpone her party. It would be so improper and unsettling to continue as planned. In fact, I know somewhere on this island, some people could be celebrating a contradicting occasion at this time too. There really isn't a law or rule to go by doing this, I know how hefty some penalties are for events that had been planned weeks or even months ago. This was just our personal decision.

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Our 3rd version of invite

Not that we have a big kampong of people invited, but I know in a time like this, we share the same heartbeat. I couldn't imagine  marking a minute of silence in midst of our party and then tune our mood high to party again. Human nature isn't quite like that.

The decision came as a challenge for me, who have planned much for it. There were a few list of items to postpone. The cake, venue and magician need a reschedule. I started to think of the terms and conditions impeding my way, but I was thankful to have re-secured her cake and venue with no penalty. Thankful for that! Invitees were of course, understanding.

When I broke the news of party postponement, Jazz broke into tears. She said she had waited really long for this day and a week of delay didn't seem acceptable to her. Of course, I did my sedulous part of explaining the circumstances that day and why we should have it another day. She comprehended, and I cheered her up with a candy and TV treat.
The severe headache was the magician I've engaged from an events company. For postponing, they would treat it as cancellation and reminded me that a 100% penalty will be imposed. I was upset that they are profiting from a cancellation at a time like this. Oh well, I do know how to read policy, but I seriously hate (a word I rarely bring up) it when people bring up policy at a time like this. There's always a term that overwrites - Goodwill. Anyway, annoyed, I managed to negotiate for a 50% penalty, and of course had their engagement cancelled. Appreciation not to the company, but the magician they contracted appealed with me. I've learned never to engage contracted entertainers bound by policy, which might work better for corporates, but not for individual engagement like us.  

After this encounter, I was at the verge of not getting another replacement as I thought we shouldn't burst our budget. I asked Jazz, "would you really love to have a magician at your party?" She had her eyes locked into mine and with no delayed said, "Yes!" "Well darling, you know it's not cheap." I said. Thinking of the penalty and cost of engaging another one. She asked "How much is it? You can use my money, Mummy." She said with much excitement. "Well, you sure you would love one? I can pay for this. It's hundreds we're talking about." In sadness, her expression turned down and said, "It's ok Mummy, then I don't need one. I want you to save money." You've no idea, how a simple thought like this almost sent me to tears. I was really touched. Birthday is indeed maturity!
So well, I knew we had to get one. We were saying, this is one final year of party with her friends before a studious life begins. As we age wiser, we will continue to celebrate birthdays, but at a down scale to just within the family. She agreed! In fact, we had never engaged any sort of pricey cakes or entertainers for their birthdays. Kids are easily satisfied. Call it a party, and they are simply happy. We did a very swift celebration for her last year. I realised, not even a blog post on it. It was then that we had relocated home 2 days before her birthday and were adjusting to jet lag.

Like many of my country mates who sacrificed and served for an unpredictable event like this. We felt compelled to do something. We should not oblige our friends to come for a party when there's a greater purpose near the same point of time. Everyone has a role, minor or major, as a crowd or a bystander, our role is never negligent. It was something within our family and friends, but I'm thankful for new revelation and opportunity to teach my children that the world is not in our command, even if it means birthday.

I guess it was one right decision when I could sleep better, think lesser and focus on other important matters. I got even more comforted with the decision, when I saw how clear the streets and roads were on Sunday. The emotions and scenes were just not appropriate. Peace defines that day.

It had been an intense week of learning, teaching and thankfulness. We're blessed to have lived in an era with one great man and history. 

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