I didn’t get to say goodbye to my paternal grandfather. Out of all my grandparents, I always felt closest to him. Despite his poor English, he always found a way to make me laugh or smile. I loved flying/driving up to Malaysia to see him and my grandmother (who is currently living with us in Singapore). Don’t get me wrong – I love my maternal grandfather, uncles, aunts, and cousins too – but I always looked forward to seeing “Ah Kong”, as we called him. You must be wondering about the leg of roast duck I have featured here. I’ll get to that shortly.
Back to the duck leg. Whenever we drove up to Malaysia, we always stayed in Ah Kong’s home. Having raised five kids that are all grown up now (that’s a whole other story in itself), he had room to spare for when my family went up. After the week or so we spent there, we would always leave in the morning because we wanted to be back at a decent hour and the drive was about six hours without traffic. On these days, Ah Kong would wake up and go out specially to buy me something to eat for the road – you see, he was always worried that I wouldn’t have enough to eat. The year he passed away, I still distinctly remember what he bought for me the last time I saw him: two roasted duck legs from the “best roast duck place in Kelang”.
I still remember the (approximate) day it happened. I was in high school at the time (11th or 12 grade) and I was at school for the weekend (Saturday or Sunday) when I got the call. Skipping the painful details, I interrupted a faculty meeting to get Mrs. White, my class adviser, and just cried for what seemed like forever with her holding me. I wanted to fly home, but school was in session and it would have been detrimental for me to miss a week of school. I still try not to think of that week too much.
However, I’m not writing this because I want to share my life story. I wanted to write this because I wanted to share how even though Ah Kong is no longer with us, I still remember him with a smile and fond memories whenever I pick up a leg of roast duck to eat. I am also curious if any of you have any odd things like food or activities that always brings back memories of a loved one, living or not?
I still miss him very much, but as long as I have my memory and my fondness for duck, I can see many happy memories of my childhood in the back of my mind and he will never be very far from me.
(Photo credit: Everythingkitchensink on Blogspot)