Lt Gen (Ret) Winston Choo, 66, and Katherine Choo, 65, have four grandchildren: Dana, nine, Daniel, seven, Ethan, six, and Deanne, four. Lt Gen (Ret) Choo was the longest serving chief of the Singapore Armed Forces. Though retired, he continues to perform “national service” as a diplomat, social worker and also serves as director on the boards of a few public listed companies. Katherine was a teacher who gave up her career to devote herself to looking after the home.
Long before our children – your parents – got married we had told them that we looked forward to helping mind their children. But we said that they should not wait too long to have their children. Otherwise we might not be physically able to help.
When you were born, we were so happy. You are God’s gifts to us. We watched you grow, take your first steps, heard your early words, watched you at play, in nursery school, kindergarten and school. We took you to your various classes, swimming sessions and went on holidays with you. We also remember your weekend stays at our home. When you were ill, we tried to bring down the fever. When you were naughty, we had to punish you. We felt the pain but knew that it was necessary. Still, we love you just the same.
Kong, especially, is glad to be able to do so many things with you which he missed doing with his own children due to work commitments. These are all such beautiful and treasured memories.
Mak remembers how gentle and concerned you were after her spine operation. We were touched by the way you helped her down the stairs and held her hand while walking to church.
We are proud of your achievements. Try to do your best in whatever you do so that you will not have any regrets in the future. Each of you has different strengths and talents. Find and know your own and use them well.
We hope that you will be guided by these values and principles in life. Be honest, loyal and love, care and respect your elders, family and friends. Love your siblings and your cousins and always try to stay close-knit. Be there for one another in both happy and difficult times. Never take one another for granted.
Find enjoyment in all that you do. Health and physical fitness is important so respect your body and take care of it by eating and living well and exercising. Participating in sports and games will teach you about teamwork and fellowship.
Education is essential for mental development and to broaden and discipline your mind. Learning languages will give you a better understanding of other nations and cultures. It’s also a bonus when you travel. History will help you understand how the world has developed, the events that led to the growth of our nation, and appreciate the contributions of our forefathers. Literature will teach you the beauty of the written word and the Arts, Geography and Science will help you understand the world you live in. So look on education positively and not just with the aim of passing examinations.
Most importantly be guided by God through Jesus. He is just a prayer away.
“What you are is God’s gift to you,
What you become is your gift to God.”
We love you and will always be here for you.
Mak and Kong
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