Por Por is the lady in Sam Fu.
I thought quite long on what to put for the title of this post. And this is not a food post by the way, so if you are not interested, stop reading here. Obaachan is japanese for grandmother.
Over the long weekends, when everyone was celebrating outside for the new year, my family and i had to attend one of the family obligations that are inevitable but still sad at some point. My maternal grandmother passed away. She was 101. I still remember that night on the 28th at 11pm when my aunty called. I picked up the phone as usual ( and it's the fix line - the fix line rarely rings at home ) - that late an hour, you know it is something not too good. Poor mom, i could still remember her shock look when she came down to inform us and she was actually not sure what she should do next. All she could do was call dad who was in Ipoh (coincidentally at that time ). I took over the call to make the arrangements to go back to Ipoh. I could hardly sleep at that night. Suprisingly, i did not cry, and it was not unexpected as she was old ( there were signs she was not to be here for long ) yet it was just sudden.
My grandmother was an interesting person. She is no taller than 5 feet. At the age of 90+ she was still waddling around in the garden in her clogs bustling around the house. Compared to my paternal grandmother who was frail, she was quite a picture of health, subscribing to a diet of plain, steamed food most of the time. Oh... if only she knew what crap her grand-daughter stuffs in her mouth - she should be shocked! At the same time this, small lady in sam-fu loved - ...... WWF, that's Wrestling for you not World wildlife fund. And any time there was wrestling on TV, she will be infront of it. Oh, and hindi movies as well :) Or was it tamil movies....
However, looking back at her life, i found actually it was quite an acheivement ... she had 8 kids, 3 boys ( one died @ the age of 15 ) and 5 girls ( my mom the youngest girl ) , 14 grandkids and 7 great grand children. She survived second world war, had a relative beheaded in those times, go through the pain of losing her son in a freak accident and brought up the rest of the kids when my grandpa died in the late 60s. For me, she was always the grandma who could cook well. When i was younger, i used to stay in Ipoh when dad was on sabbatical and both she and my paternal grandma had a tough time trying to cook for me as i was the fussiest pot in town when it comes to eating. Ah yes, i could only take in milk and char siew pau when i was a wee lass - talk about healthy eating.
She also used to make awesome fatt kou for new year ( that uses toddy as a base for the rising agent ) and ... everyone in the family/neighbourhood could not get enough of it. In fact my dad remarked her lamb stew was absolutely to die for - it can't be help though, she used to cook for the whole family ( about 30+ people staying in Lahat Lane, Perak ) and with big mouths to feed, the demand for excellence is there.
However, in the late 90's family wealth split the family. My grandmother was still a traditionalist, favoring the sons a bit more than the girls, causing my aunts and my mom to have some disagreements with her. Actually looking back now, some of the decisions she made, could when she was not of sound mind, for soon after, her Alzheimer's symptoms became more apparent. For my mom, despite all the ill will between her and the brothers, her mother was still her mother, and she made the effort to see her and visit her.In fact, my brother and i could not miss out on visiting her. They were amusing visits though, sometimes she could not recognize us, on her good days she could - or sometimes we were mistaken for god knows who. Best is when she always ask me... "Have you graduated from University?" Initially i found it annoying, after awhile i just nodded agreeably. So far she never told or said to me -"why are you so slow in graduating?"
At her wake, we decided as a family not to cry instead we wanted to celebrate her life. One of my cousins dug up old pictures of grandmother and the family and we had a riot in the dining room. She used to avidly collect photos of her children ( her self as well :) ) and there were so many pictures that we never even imagined - the above is one of them. We also discovered my grandmother loved hand bags and in most pictures she had a bag of different shape. They were Prada worthy! We all had a good time remembering her through those pictures.
Goodbye Grandma. We will miss you.