day of week

My Grandma turns 90

15 November 2010

Everyone, meet a very beautiful lady.


She is my Poh Poh (Cantonese for “maternal grandmother”).

She turned 90 a couple of weeks ago.

Just try saying that a few times. Niiiiinnntty. Nine-Zero. Only 10 less than 100.

She was born in China, ran away from the Japanese invasion before the Second World War, arrived in Singapore, lived through the Japanese occupation there, moved to Christmas Island, and raised 10 kids in a single room house with a dirt floor. Food was so scarce she had one chicken a week to feed the ten kids and two adults.

The whole world has changed while she has been alive!

When Christmas Island became part of Australia, many of the people living there on Asian labourer wages became Australian citizens. In the 1980s, the whole clan moved to Perth, when I was 10, but Poh Poh was already almost 70.

It must have seemed like she was moving to another universe! My Poh Poh didn’t, and still doesn’t, speak any English, and there were very few Asian people in Australia back then.

Her husband, my Gong Gong, died about 15 years ago, and now she lives with one of her daughters.

I guess she has lived a life I can’t even understand, most of it without the privileges I take for granted.

To celebrate Poh Poh’s 90 years, we had an entire restaurant full of her direct descendants, and family friends. There was no shortage of chicken, and it was a Chinese restaurant, one of many, many Asian restaurants in Perth’s “Asia Town” district on William Street.

10 children.

18 grand children.

And 10 great grand children, so far.. (of which I have contributed 3!)


Here I am with my Poh Pop’s eldest child (my own Mum), and MY youngest son, Liam Kin-Keong, who is my Poh Poh’s 10th great grand child.

I hope I am surrounded by so much family when I am 90!