Thursday, September 29, 2016

A life well lived.

6Today we attended a Baha'i funeral of a dear family friend, a wonderful soul whom we dearly call her Aunty Peng. I was asked to give a speech... as I was preparing the speech, I thought about my life and realised that Aunty Peng was a big part of it when I was growing up. For without her guidance, I might still be that timid and shy girl. When we encounter death, we would learn a lot about life. For only when we understand death, we will not fear it. This is when we will truly live a life of purpose. For this life is like a dream..  and our true life is the life of the spirit.

Here's my speech I prepared on the way to KL and together with another childhood friend Kumar, we shared who Aunty Peng was to us.

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Dear friends and family,
Allah'u'abha. My name is Shirin Tan. I am here to share some beautiful memories of Aunty Peng, especially during the days when the Chew family lived in Johor Bahru ~around 1988 for almost 8 yrs.

Just a little background- I'm the only girl in my family so when the Chews moved to JB I was so happy to have some girl friends to play with. So me, Su yyn and Su fern quickly became best friends. Thats when dear Aunty Peng became a part of my life as I was growing up.

Aunty Peng has many wonderful attributes that will always be remembered in our hearts.

First, her Warmth and Kindness.
She is always very warm and welcomes everyone to her home. So much so that I am always there at their home and often have sleep overs there.  I even recall calling myself Chew Su Lin to feel part of the family!

Our families and the JB Bahai communities had many fond memories together.  Especially the fun we have at the weekly Bahai children class,  the picnics at Istana Garden, the southern regional Bahai summer schools, and all the Bahai activities. We also took many trips together camping in desaru, waterfall at kota tinggi where we had 10 people in a car, train rides to port dickson for winter school. And not forgetting our late night suppers for ais kacang at the satay celok stall or also known as lok lok( literally translate as dip dip as Uncle Chew will say).

Aunty Peng is our dear loving teacher in everyway. She was always encouraging.
She taught me many things. The first and most memorable lesson I learnt was to finish my food!

When I was a little girl, I would take hours to eat my food and do not look forward to meal times. And I would always end up throwing almost half of my food into the bin at the end of each meal. My mom went to aunty Peng and ask her to help teach me a lesson. So one night I was at their home for dinner, and aunty peng gave me a very small scoop of rice and she told me to finish it first and I can ask for more if I want to. Over time  I realise the wisdom behind that.

She let me realised that I can finish my meal and not waste any. Through this small action, she built my confidence and I began enjoying my meals and eat my food much faster now! This is a small example but it is through her firm yet loving encouragement that she teach every student of her.

Aunty Peng is selfless. She always think about others first especially the children. I remember she and Uncle Chew got a van just so she can ferry more children to Baha'i children classes every week. She would let us roll around literally in the back sit of the van playing sandwich which is pushing and squashing each other. And we would scream and make so much noise that if it were any other person, they would have thrown us out of the van!

Aunty Peng is patient. I will always remember her ways of handling crisis especially now that I am a parent. She would talk to us in a firm yet loving manner when we made a mistake. She never raised her voice or scolds us. She will take time to talk to us and find a fitting consequence for our wrong doings.

She is also a very patient driver, when asked why she said you never know if that you will need to teach the faith to the person one day. We are in deed ambassador of the faith.

Gifts... Aunty Peng always come bearing gifts! Since I was a child, whenever we see aunty peng, she is like Ms Santa claus always giving little gifts for us.

Unlike most people, she never buys us lavish toys or expensive gifts. The presents she gives instead are truly unique and precious and with lots of love ans thought. Often she will give us little  note books decorated with her beautiful handwriting with beautiful poems or quotations or beautiful books for us to get inspired. Some times she will give me a bag of little mystery items like once she gave me a brown paper bag with coasters, boxes, stickers and odds and ends. To the normal person, those stuff may look like nothing useful but we are asked to use our creativity  and imagination as there are endless ways we can do them. She truly sees the potential in everything, a beauty in everything.

I'm often told by my parents and Yyn and Fern to not become like Aunty Peng and clutter up the house with so many things. Fortunately or unfortunately I have picked up the same passion or talent. Seeing the educational value of every single thing and every single trip or opportunity. Of course I will try to do this with moderation. ;)

Lastly, I want to say that Aunty Peng has taught me and many others many valuable lessons for life. One of the lessons I learnt though she never said it but showed through her example was this- To always think about the children, involve the children, give the children a part to play at the feast, holy days, teaching events, every child is unique and noble. She truly sees the gems in us all and make us feel we can achieve anything if we want to.

Dear Aunty Peng, Thank you for your love and encouragement. We will all continue to share this love and lessons to others.
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