Letters from Grandpa: Pang Ngap Kye – Determination, Perseverance and Hard Work

Pang Ngap Kye, 73, is a grandfather of five, aged two to 13. He has served with the People’s Association for 18 years, and has received many awards for his contribution to community service. These include the Life Inspiration Award (2004) and the Healthy Lifestyle Ambassador Awards (2004 and 2005).


Dearest Victoria,Pang_Ngap_Kye_family275

You are now a sweet 13-year old lady. The years have really flown by quickly. I remembered vividly, cradling you in my arms when you were a newborn. From that moment, you have been under my constant care as your parents are busy at work. When I first laid my eyes on you, I felt happiness and pride to have such a beautiful granddaughter.

You often sat next to me when I told you my stories and experiences, listening attentively to the joys and sorrows in my life. Do you remember when I told you that my father – your great grandfather – passed away when I was barely a month old? As a baby still in arms, I was sent to China to be cared for by my uncle. The 14 years in China was full of hardship. After much persuasion from my relatives, my mother – your great grandmother – decided to bring me back to Singapore in 1950s. I was then enrolled in Primary 1 at the age of 15, but alas, due to financial problems, I left school after three years.

This did not stop me from studying. Victoria, always remember that determination, perseverance and hard work are crucial to be successful. After leaving school, I was determined to improve myself in order to have a good future. Hence, I attended evening classes for two years. All my hard work paid off when I1 passed the Cambridge Overseas School Certificate and joined the government service.

No matter what the future entails, always remember that you must have confidence in yourself. The bitter sweetness in my life that I share with you must be used as a platform to build your courage. Do not let challenges hinder you from reaching for success. Do you remember when you first entered primary school, you cried almost everyday when you had to go to school? Grandpa had to break the school rule to enter your class to calm you and reassure you. Soon, you settled well in school. After you made friends, you were eager to go to school.

In primary 3, I promised that if you did well in your PSLE examination, I would reward you. And you definitely did not let me, Grandma, or your parents down. You achieved excellent results with three “A-stars” and one “A”. For this, I opened a POSB account under your name and deposited $3000 into your account. These savings will come in useful for your higher education. I often tell you that money does not come easy and hence, we must spend wisely and save for rainy days. I also promised that if you excel in your “O” and “A” Level examinations, further rewards would be given.

In school, your teachers will guide you; at home your parents and I will motivate, encourage and provide all the necessary things for you. Most importantly, you have to be filial to your parents and respect the elders.

With lots of love,

Your 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

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