Gong Gong says

This is a posthumous blog of our father's (Lim Kok Ann) life. When our father passed away on 8 March 2003, he left behind an unpublished autobiography. We'd like to celebrate his life by sharing his autobiography through this blog.

"I have dredged these anecdotes from memory just to pass the time; if they amuse my grandchildren their purpose will have been served; if they provide any instruction, it will be a happy coincidence; that they are disjointed is probably to be expected.

Aurora was the name of my grandfather’s house in Kulangsu.   Amoy, where I spent the first five or six years of my life.   I still have vivid memories of events that took place when I was barely three years old.

Lim Kok Ann
October 1996"

Friday, May 30, 2008

1: 15 Mimi saved

One fine day Grandma Yin turned up with Mimi. She must have been about five years old then, and had been left with Grandma Yin in Kulangsu because she had been unwell and unable to accompany my mother on one of her trips. Grandma Yin had taken the chance to return Mimi to my father’s care because she could see that my mother could not cope with three children to look after. Whether she had consulted my mother about removing Mimi from her custody I do not know, and I doubt it. Nevertheless, from some sense of delicacy, Grandma Yin did not quite like the idea of placing Mimi in my father’s house to be looked after by his “second wife”, and arranged for Mimi to be fostered by a friend of Aunt Ena. In this way it could be put to my mother that Mimi had accompanied Grandma Yin to Singapore because there was no one to look after her in Kulangsu, and Mimi was being taken care of by Aunt Ena on Grandma’s behalf well, actually by Ena’s friend. Grandma Yin always tried to avoid doing anything that did not look nice. Aunt Ena’s friend that took in Mimi was Mrs. Ooi Khye Tuan, the wife of a lawyer who was originally from Penang and had won a Queen’s Scholarship about the same time as Uncle Say Koo, which was how they got to know each other. Khye Tuan’s wife was an English lady named Cinders, after Cinderella, and as they had no children after having been married ten years or more, was quite willing to lake in a Chinese-speaking waif of good family in unfortunate circumstances. The Oois then lived in Cairnhill Road a few doors away from where my father and I were living. Some years later, when my father moved to 348 River Valley Road, the Oois also moved, and by a coincidence, they moved to a house next to ours across an empty lot. By that time, Cinders thought it appropriate to regularise her relationship with Mimi and asked my father to let her formally adopt Mimi. I believe my father was reluctant to do so, but as Grandma Yin by then had brought my other sisters Be-Lay and Ee-Jin out of China and placed them in his care in River Valley Road, he agreed with good grace since he had children enough in his house. Be-Lay and Ee-Jin went to Chinese school and though we lived in the same house I saw little of them.


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