Always remembered by family and loved ones
12 Jan 1915 - 26 Nov 2005
Singapore, Alexandra Hospital
Grandchildren : Robin Pho, Rosalind Pho, Roger Pho
Place of Wake : St Francis Chuch
Date of Wake : November 26, 2005 – November 26, 2005
Date of Funeral : 12pm, November 26, 2005, Mandai Crematorium
“Sudah Makan Belum?”
This means “Have you eaten yet?” This is just one of the many things that we remember of a remarkable woman that we are remembering today. Her name is The Giok In, Maria, whom we all affectionately refer to best as Amah.
To her children, she is a very capable and loving mother. To my cousins, my siblings and me, she was a doting grandmother who would pamper us and play with us, and on occasion play tricks on us reflecting a very playful and mischievous side of her.
Amah was Born on 12 Jan 1915 in Indonesia, Manado and grew up in Sorong. On the 6 th of march, 1936, she married Pho Eng Liong in her early 20s. She had not 3, not 4, not 5, but SIX children, 4 sons and 2 daughters! The oldest child was her daughter Nellie, then 4 sons Jimmy (Omen), Robert (Bob), Robby, Pem and last but not least, the baby girl Lenny.
The family moved to Singapore in the mid 1950s. Amah also endured hard times during the Japanese Occupation, and had to run and live in the jungle environments to survive. She was widowed at the age of 50 and had to raise the 6 children on her own. I’m sure we can say that she did a great job in raising the kids, (well at least in terms of returns) since these kids bore her a whopping total of 18 Grandchildren and 3 GREAT grandchildren so far.
But raising her children and grandchildren independently must have caused her a lot of stress, but Amah also knew how to pamper herself and relax and entertain herself.
Those of you who saw the photos yesterday, or live overseas and flew in to pay respects to Amah, know that she was a very well traveled person. Not only has she lived in many countries, but she’s also visited so many countries! In a era where we didn’t have so many airlines and not to mention budget airlines, she has indeed seen many corners of the world. Infact, just 10 years ago, she and another grand aunt jumped onto a plane flew around the world, stopping at major cities to visit family and friends. First class of course, which was certainly appropriate and well deserved for all the achievements and accomplishments.
She was always a very social person too, and that made her a great host at home and at dinners parties when we went visiting. She was a great cook and taught us many great recipes. Till today, we associate delicacies such as “gor gos”, pineapple tarts, bubur manado, babi reecha, ayam tuturuga with her. Often when she cooked such meals, she would invite friends over to play the traditional Indonesian card game knows as Chik-Ki. And when she made pineapple tarts, everyone not only gets a taste of the best pineapple tarts in Singapore, but also gets to experience a taste of her generosity. Spendthrift on expenses on herself, but always generous with others.
She also has many quieter hobbies that she enjoyed by herself. She loved going for car rides, she loved sitting outside and watch the other cars pass by and she also loved watching bollywood movies and WWF wrestling!!
She would enjoy embroidery, crochet and gardening. There was a stage in time when despite the mess we have in our house, our visitors and neighbours would compliment what a beautiful garden we have. I’m not so sure about the organization and tidiness of the garden, but the thing was, the flowers were always blooming. And this was a testament to her dedication and care for garden everyday, day in, day out.
She did the same for her family, at every gathering, at every visit, she would day by day, little by little nurture and care for us, asking us basic questions, giving us little bits of advice, trimming and shaping us for the better – over the years. She didn’t just come to us and yank out all weeds – all the bad stuff. She knew raising children and grandchildren is a long term commitment, just like gardening. Well, looking around today, she surely was a very good gardener.
Important thing is not to grieve about her demise and her departure from all of us, but to always celebrate the memory of what she was to us, what she taught us and what her teachings will bring us to do.
As she watches us from the heavens above, let us all go through life with the principles that she has instilled in us, along with the little lessons and bits of advice here and there that she has shared with us all these years.
Today, Amahs body lies here in front of us, and soon, her ashes will finally sit beside Gong Gong where she has waited many years for. Though her body may be gone, she will always be with us in spirit, guiding us along the way as we go through life, and by doing so, she will always be with us, until the day that we too will join her in heaven.
Amah, we know you can hear us, and we are thankful for everything that you’ve done for us in our lives. Thank you so much for touching our lives in so many different ways. We love you from the bottom of our hearts and will always miss you. You will always, always be in our hearts.