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My Grandfather

Updated: Jun 25, 2021

"If you want to change the world, go home and love your family." - Mother Theresa

This was first written and shared on Blogger - 5 June 2019.

【Reflection】My Grandfather

My grandfather is 90 years old. Sometimes he is weaker, but on many other days, he is still strong and healthy. <3

I like to hold his hand. I like to hold his hand, especially when he is lying in bed. That's when he is calm and at ease. And he will gently cling on to my hand as well, assuring me that everything will be alright.

"I am fine, don't worry." He reaffirmed in Hokkien, with an amiable smile, and squeezed my hands a little.

And he will always end off by saying: "Bo dai ji. (Hokkien; In this context, it has the same meaning as: Nothing one lah, I am okay.)."


Since the first time I took the first move to hold his hands while he laid on the hospital bed a few years ago, I then noticed a stark contrast between our arms and fingers. His skin was crinkled, dry and paper-like, while mine was visibly still smooth and moist.

Age was catching up on my grandfather, and time was merciless. Just as I grew up, my grandfather grew older.

Actually, it was only in recent years that my grandfather allowed me to hold his hands. He got much weaker, due to old age. Previously, he didn't like us to hold him, especially when he goes on his routine walks around the neighbourhood and even in the house.

"Aiya, I can do it." he repeatedly emphasised in his mixture of Hokkien and Mandarin.

Whenever we try to lend him a helping hand, he will rebut in slight defiance: "Look at me, I can."

And he will always end off by saying: "Bo dai ji. (Hokkien; In this context, it has the same meaning as: I am fine, no worries.)"

As much as he didn't liked us to hold him, or have physical contact with him, he smiles when we do so. He knows we care.


Just like other grandfathers, my grandfather enjoys sharing about his younger days; his growing up days, his past work experiences and many many many life stories.

Despite his struggles in life, he once said something which left quite an impression on me: "Some things, just let it go."

"Bo dai ji. Mai Siong. (Hokkien; In this context, it has the same meaning as: Things will be fine. Don't think about it. Let it go. Don't hold on.)"


Holding on to my grandfather's big warm hands made me realise how small my problems and troubles are. Undeniably, I slowly began to realise how insignificant some mistakes and deadlines could be, as compared to spending more time with my loved ones.

I remember, I used to prioritise study/work over spending more time together. But to be honest, how much more time do we still have, together?

Happy to share that I have always wanted to write something about my grandfather, for the longest time possible. Wrote this piece cause Father's Day (the third Sunday in June; 16 June 2019) is fast approaching. And so I thought this one is for you. <3

Three words; with so much love - "Bo dai ji."

Update: My grandfather passed away in December 2019. A moment of pain and anguish, perhaps so memorable.


When was the last time you held your Father or Grandfather's hands? Go home, hold their hands, this Father's Day. :)

"In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don't try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present." - Lao Tzu

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