永 遠 懷 念
IN LOVING MEMORY OF WONG TSANG Che Tong
1922 – 2016
Oration by Victoria Jerome
Good morning everyone. I'm Victoria or Bo, no 3 child of no. 2 son. I have 3 kids aged 10, 8 and 6.
I cannot imagine being able to raise 8 children during good times let alone unimaginably hard times. For Ah Ma, it must have required an inner strength and stoicism that could easily have led to bitterness. Yet Ah Mah was always able to celebrate in her children’s and her grandchildren’s achievements, however big or small. She always wanted to know what we were up to. And she always had an embrace, some words of admiration and a squeeze of the hand for us when we told her.
Every week it seemed, she would host our entire family at 148 Waterloo road for the many festivals and special occasions. This could be easily 30 or more people at any one time… not to mention some distant cousins, aunties and uncles or an acquaintance or 5 who happened to be in town.
For my generation, which we call 3G, 148 was the centre of our universe. Although many of us did not live there and most of us studied or even lived abroad, it was still … home. As I reflected these past couple of weeks on Ah Mah’s influence on us, and as I look at my own children and the foundations I hope to build for them, I realise now that the closeness I have with my cousins and feeling of rootedness to my family really did not happen by accident. Both Ah Mah and Ah Yeh made sure their home was our home. Dinner by dinner, they brought us together, embedding deep within us the importance, joy and gift of family.
Along with our parents, they may have given us the opportunities to travel far and be educated overseas, and even in some cases make new homes and raise our own 4G abroad, but the hub of our family always has remained with them, in Hong Kong, at 148.
If Ah Yeh was the head of our family, then Ah Mah was surely the heart, the soul and the backbone. Her warmth, generosity, boundless energy, firm principles and unstoppable need to feed have become our compass as we now navigate the world as adults.
For me personally, she was an invaluable example of pure motherhood. I don’t think there is a Wong/Lee/Chu woman in our family who doesn’t owe part if not all of their persistence, their tenacity and perhaps their relentlessness to her. Our brothers, fathers, partners and now our sons may or may not be so grateful for these common traits, but they should know that our empathy, our caring and even our loyalty were planted by her too.
I will greatly miss Ah Mah.