Richard Tay Ah Wah, 60, is a Purchasing Supervisor with one grandson, Josiah Tay Bo Seng (Zheng Mou Sheng). He was awarded the National Day Award, Public Service Medal in Community Work in 1995. He counts being a grandfather as one of the greatest joys of his life.
Dear Grandson Josiah,
It’s your first birthday!
I know you can’t read this now, but I thought I would write you a letter that you could keep and read when you’re old enough to do so. Remember these few words from your old grandpa, and hopefully they’ll prove to be like a compass and rudder as you navigate the waters of life.
When you first came into this world, I remember your curious eyes darting about the hospital room, and how your little fingers clutched mine as I stroked your few wisps of hair. Now you’re a bundle of energy, always running unsteadily in your seemingly endless quest to explore the world.
And what a marvelous world it is! There is so much for you to discover and experience. Growing up will be a bittersweet journey. There will be lots of ups and downs, and life will seem like a rollercoaster ride. There will be moments when you wish that life wasn’t so complicated, and times when everything seems inexplicably perfect.
When you feel that school seems filled with homework, remember that childhood is a rare gift, and cherish it. Exams and tests may seem tough, and your life may be cluttered with endless tuition sessions or piano lessons, but never forget that you’re still a kid, and no one expects you to grow up too soon.
When you’re feeling as if no one understands you in your teenage years, remember that we all struggled with relationships and identity crises, and it will eventually get better.
Remember that despite the hardship of national service, it will be an irreplaceable experience. You will meet people from all walks of life, and your eyes will be opened to a whole new world that you never knew existed.
Always chase your dreams. Never give up, persevere and fight for what you want to achieve. You will never have to work a single day if you truly enjoy what you do.
And above all, remember these things:
Your family will always love you, no matter what you do or say or feel. Love and cherish those around you. Life is more than just work or material success or awards and achievements. The magic of life lies in the extraordinary people you meet, and the relationships that you build.
Stay humble, always be grateful and give thanks for your blessings. Keep walking with God, for He is our Lord, Saviour, and Friend, and only He can satisfy all our needs.
There’s so much I could say, and I wish that I could be there throughout your life to share in your joys and sorrows. But time waits for no man, and I fear that I may be called home before I can share these words with you.
So take good care of yourself and your family, my dear grandson. Continue to smile always, and to never lose that sense of wonder as you run about exploring this vast world.
Always loving you,
Grandpa Richard Tay
This letter is republished with permission from the National Library Board. Letters From Grandma and Grandpa (2008) is an initiative to create opportunities for youth and seniors to strengthen ties, enhance understanding and appreciate each other. Singapore grandpas and grandmas share their stories from the past, their hopes for the future, their love from their hearts, and their values for the soul. The letters capture their thoughts and feelings on important values, such as family and heritage, respect for the elders, generosity, love, courage and responsibility.
First published on 14-02-2011.
Categories: Letters from Grandpa