Requiem for my great-aunt
My great-aunt in Macau passed away. At first, we didn't quite believe it, b/c the news came from my cousin over MSN, and my father spoke to my grandmother just this morning (he remembered that his sister's mother-in-law, the one in North Point, also passed away earlier this week).
But my cousin assures me that her mother did have a conversation with a nephew or relative-by-marriage of my great-aunt.
I'm not sure what to think. It's the first time since my grandfather (my father's dad) or my great-grandmother (my mother's granny) died, and I can never remember which first b/c I was 13-14 back then and wasn't exactly emotionally mature enough to have remembered how I felt - but I do remember the faces of my relatives, especially those who were the closest to the deceased - my grandmother, my father, aunts and uncles; my mother, aunts and uncles.
I have met my great-aunt as a kid when she came to Canada to visit her sister, but I can't remember anything there. Her name was Ho Him-ping. I don't know the character for "him" (or "yim", I guess), but "ping" is the chara for ice (my grandmother is "sutte", as francisized, but usually "sut", or snow).
Same time last year (early June), I was in Macau to visit her, like I did in 2002. What I do remember of my great-aunt was from my occasional trips to Macau by ferry from Sheung Wan. My grandmother always recognized the physical strength and general upbeatness of my great-aunt. She was a hell of a woman, that great-aunt. Always chattering away, always joking away. This is my favourite picture of her, where she's taking care of her ailing husband (I took another one afterwards, a more "official" pose). He wasn't given much time to live, cancer in terminal phase, but fought back, felt better, and finally fell a few months after. My great-aunt was hit with an acute infection, and everything went down so quicky that we didn't even hear that she was sick.
And I guess she treated me sort of like the grandson she never had. My trips to Macau would've probably been very very different if it weren't of her living there (she was in fact living only a slope down - 20 meters - away from Macau's central point, Largo de Senado, and tai ma lou). Casinos, colonial era building all over. Macau has changed so much just between 2002 and 2005 (a large dirt field at the back of a middleschool closeby was filled up with foundations to yet another new big shiny casino). So I don't know.
Departing was quick but emotional. With the free time I had at the end of July in HK, I could've forked out a 40CAD to spend a few days in Macau. I knew that I was going to come back to HK within the next few years at least. With limited time off, maybe I should just make the most of it and go where I want to go. I have vast amounts of school knowledge of Europe, and accumulated cultural references to Europe, but I still think I constantly need my dose of South China'ness.
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