Murali K Sharma, 71, is a retired teacher. He has five grandchildren, aged two to nine. He hopes that in his grandchildren’s lifetime, there will be peace, job security and inter-racial understanding, and for more Singaporeans to be born and bred here.
When you came into this world, it was a great joy. You gave us much joy when you stayed with us until Nicho turned four.
How we talked and enjoyed the daily walks to the playschool! One morning I showed Nicho the tadpoles in the drain. You told the teacher that you had just seen “fishpoles”. Well, close enough!
Elly, you are gentle and you never fail to greet me. You wave furiously, call out loudly, run to me and hug me. How happy I feel then!
One of my pleasures is tutoring you both after school. Elly, in June 2006 you went to a Chinese Language Camp and a Science Camp. On the last day I asked you if you had enjoyed yourself. Here is the conversation that followed.
You: Today is the last day of Science Camp.
I: Yes, but next week is English Camp.
You: Where will that be?
I: In my home.
You: That won’t be fun.
I : Why not?
You : I won’t be with my friends!
I: Sure you will be!
You: No I won’t!
I: You will be with me!
You: You are not my friend. (I was stunned!)
I: Surely I am!
You: But it is not the same.
I: Why not?!
You: Grandpas are big and not fun. Friends are small and fun. Grandpas always make us do work. Friends don’t.
Well, it was a great piece of wisdom to which I had no answer. We laughed together.
One of my memorable days was a day in late December 2004. Until then you (Nicho) could not read any English. Grandma and I had struggled for over a year trying to teach you to read. I took you both out by train. We got out at Orchard MRT station. Suddenly you were reading all the signs. It was a great day.
I am glad that Nicho has taken up martial arts and is in the school soccer team. Elly, you have taken up ballet and the piano. These activities will make you well-rounded persons.
I hope that you have learnt from me to be caring for the environment by conserving water and not littering, being considerate toward others by not being noisy, and being polite.
One reason why I love both of you is that you have promised to take care of me when I am old. It is a nice thought!
Elly, you have good old-fashioned values. You told me that you will not wear skimpy clothes. I said: “Then you cannot become Miss Singapore!” You said: “Who cares?!” Nicho, like you, believes that honesty is the best policy. I hope you will remain true to these beliefs in this fast-changing world.
Life with you has had its ups and downs but I am happy that you are our grandchildren. I wish you a good life and hope that we will all be happy together.
Your loving grandpa.
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