Monday, December 25, 2006

The Family Man

I was in Singapore over the weekend, and on Christmas eve, I caught The Family Man on Channel 5, a movie I missed some years back.

The movie's concept is based on Dicken's A Christmas Carol and Jimmy Stewart's Its A Wonderful Life, so you could probably guess what the movie was about. But I felt that Nicholas Cage and Tea Leoni managed to pull it off and came up with a heartwarming and reflective movie.

The story basically revisits the modern questions of whether you can have it all and what really matters in your life. The answers that came were pretty obvious, but of course, those high fliers among you may beg to differ. And those of us who are struggling hard to provide a better life for their loved ones may feel the same, too.

I don't think the reality is as clear cut as portrayed in the movie, after all, I can think of people who do have it all. But during this festive season, if you've been feeling somewhat dissatisfied with your life, I think there is still one message from the movie that applies to all of us , and that is we are where we are today because of our choices. And we often forget that we can choose.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Long Bridge

“Do you want to see your grandfather’s old house?” The elderly lady in front of me asked excitedly. “It’s just in one of the backlanes nearby”. The auntie was the wife of one of my dad’s cousins in China.

So off we went, the auntie leading us through winding cobbled backlanes. We reached a dilapidated wooden house. “This is where your grandfather grew up”.

The house is not much to look at now, but at that moment I felt a strong sense of belonging. I was finally able to see beyond my grandfather’s life, to see my roots in that shabby house.

“Your grandfather was the only son in the family. They had to frequently hide him to prevent him from being taken away”.

So, once upon a time, in the early part of the twentieth century, a poor family lived in a small house in a remote village called Chang Qiau (Long Bridge). The family had a son and a daughter. One day, the son made his way to a coastal town, presumably Xiamen, and traveled by boat to a place called Sarawak in Nan Yang (the South Seas). There, he was given some land by the white Rajah, and worked hard to create his own place in the sun. He settled down and his wife bore him two sons and two daughters. He never forgot his sister in China and over the years kept in touch with her by letters. The sister also started her own family in a small town called Ping Nang.

After many years, the grandson and granddaughter of the son who left China found themselves back where the son came from, looking at the house the son had left behind.

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