Contemplata aliis Tradere

A meagre contribution to the mission and work of the Order of Preachers: my reflections, thoughts, ideas and the occasional rant on matters mainly theological, philosophical and ecclesiastical, drawn primarily from my reading and experience of life and the world. Striving to be always Catholic, firmly Christian and essentially Dominican, flavoured with dashes of Von Balthasar.

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Location: Oxford, United Kingdom

A son of the English Province of the Order of Friars Preachers (Dominicans); born in Malaysia but have lived in the USA, Singapore, the UK & the Philippines for varying durations. A pilgrim and way-farer, a searcher for Truth on the journey of Life... "Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine, There’s always laughter and good red wine. At least I’ve always found it so. Benedicamus Domino!" - Hilaire Belloc

Monday, August 29, 2005

A Family-filled Weekend

The weekend was a wonderful family occasion. The festivities for my grandparents' joint celebration of their 60th wedding anniversary and 80th birthdays began on Friday, when the entire Lew extended family - my four aunts and their respective families and my father and our family - gathered at the family home in Kuala Lumpur for a photograph session with professional photographers (left). The epic photo shoot took almost 6 hours! It was a rather chaotic time, with children running around, teenagers talking excitedly, adults shouting instructions and my grandmother getting agitated by the heat of the lamps and the lateness of the hour. As my grandfather observed, the 'problem' with our family gatherings is that everyone wants to be the boss; "too many Chiefs and not enough Indians"! As such, everyone is giving instructions (often conflicting) and no one is listening!! But I survived and a very tense start to the evening became more relaxed as we started to joke and laugh and the younger cousins clearly revelled in one anothers' company.

Saturday was the main day and we were busy in the hotel from morning until past midnight after the actual dinner party. There were rehearsals to organize, last minute arrangements and the ladies had to have their hair done! Finally, the hour for the dinner came and the guests in their finery gathered. The ballroom (right) looked marvellous and as the evening wore on, the mood in the ballroom became more convivial, relaxed and we had a good time despite technical hitches (which are almost inevitable, in my experience). It was really wonderful to have so many people present to celebrate with our family and to see so many 'long-lost' family members from all over the world. Many of my grand-aunts and grand-uncles and their children , I had not seen in over a decade so it was a revelation of sorts for us all! My grandparents were clearly happy but were tired by the end of the long day. Altogether, I felt this was a most successful evening, not least because of the camaraderie and family bonds that were re-established, despite all the stress and tension involved... but that is normal in my family (and I suspect most families)! 'The Star' newspaper, one of three English dailies in the country, reported the event here.

Sunday was a slow start for most, but I was glad to get up earlier (when all was still quiet and calm) and go to Mass at the Cathedral, which was just 5 minutes from the hotel. To my surprise an Italian missionary from Mindanao, the Philippines came to say Mass and preach at St John's Cathedral. This was a marked improvement over the normal standard of preaching there! We had a relaxing afternoon and ended the day with another family dinner (crabs galore!) and then home to open the gifts which my grandparents received! This was yet another noisy and gregarious affair. My younger cousins gleefully ripped their way through the wrapping papers and there was much excitement as we uncovered the presents one by one. My grandparents watched the proceedings indulgently.

Altogether, I feel the weekend was very blessed. It reminded me of the qualities of family life which in many ways, prepares me to live in community too. The different characters, the tensions, misunderstandings and difficulties but also the genuine affection, patience, support and love for one another. I have been blessed with such a large and loving family and to have had my grandparents with me. This occasion gave me pause to reflect on how much they've changed and aged and how important a part of my life they are - I cannot imagine the past 2 years without them.

I thank the Lord for the gift of family and my grandparents and implore His continued blessings and graces upon them in the years ahead.

The photo above was taken with a friend after the dinner party. I am dressed in a barong Tagalog from Lumban, Laguna. Fr Allan OP and I had travelled out to that embroidery capital of the Philippines to select it and have it tailored especially for the event.

2 Comments:

Blogger jordan said...

What a glorious event! I can well imagine that all participants must have been exhausted afterwards, but at the same time was a great celebration of life!

Love the shirt, btw, my husband has always secretly longed for one of those.. : )

2:44 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats to your lolo and lola mo.

Pogi ka sa barong. Pero, hindi ba masikip sa leeg? Kasi tumataba ka ata.

1:43 pm  

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