Letters from Grandpa: Dr Charles Ng Sen Ark – For My Grandson’s 21st Birthday

Dr Charles Ng, 68, is Emeritus Consultant at the Singapore General Hospital. The obstetrician and gynaecologist has been practicing for 42 years. A graduate of Cambridge University, he has served in numerous academic, government, professional and voluntary organisations. He has three grandchildren aged 20 months to four years.


A Letter to my grandson to be read on his 21st Birthday.

My dearest Michael,Charles-Ng275

When this letter is read to you, I shall not be with you physically but in spirit. I doubt that your “Por Por” will be there as she will be with me in “another place”.

Will I see a handsome, tall young man brimming with confidence and happiness surrounded by your loved ones and friends? I hope that the hours we have spent together sharing stories and my experiences in life have not been in vain.

It is our wish that you grow up into a decent human being knowing right from wrong, not selfish, standing up for what you believe in when you are right and admitting your fault when you are wrong.

My main fear for you, your brother and sister, is that you have been born into a privileged life. You have been surrounded with toys, books, DVDs, so much so that you do not appreciate them and take them for granted. We have to prepare you for the real world where you’ll have to face adversity, failure, nasty people, and challenges to your beliefs. As an adult, you have to make your own choices, make your mistakes and learn from them. Do not fear challenges but take them in your stride. Do not be afraid to venture into the unknown. If you believe in yourself and are confident, you will succeed. But please do so with your own ability and not at the expense of others. Also when you have reached your goal, do give a helping hand to those who are still struggling.

You have told me you want to be a train-driver, a fireman, a doctor, a pilot etc. Whatever you choose to do, enjoy it. Then you will succeed and your work will not be a chore but a challenge. Your reward will be the satisfaction you derive from your work. Money should not be the main motivation. Integrity is important and if you do become a doctor, your patient comes first. Your great grandfather will be beaming from ear to ear if you follow in his footsteps and become the fourth generation in the same profession.

Your great grandmother predicted that you would be a “great man” in whatever profession you choose. She told me: “a good name is more than all the wealth in the world and help others if you can and if you cannot, do no harm”. My wish for you and your brother and sister is that you will all be close to one another, filial to your parents, live life to the fullest as decent human beings, and remember to give back to this world and society what you have taken from it.

Remember the happy times we have shared and my love will always be with you.

Your ever loving,

Kong 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

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