« Home | phone calls and meetings » | freeware = unlicensed software? » | dinner » | testing... 1... 2... 3... » | pay(less) day » | burnt and swalllowed » | work » | operating system » | from one university to another » | fund raising » 

Saturday, December 25, 2004 

grandfather stories

the pinto and de silva family history is shrouded in mystery. aging or deceased relatives, and fading or distorted memories lead to many dead ends.

both my grandfathers have long passed on, and with them, much of my families history and heritage. both didn't leave many clues about their past.

today, my aunty gwen helped shed some light on pinto family history. it was fascinating, what she could tell us. there are still many gaps in her story, but what she revealed only makes me wonder what those gaps contain and how to fill them.

my paternal grandfather passed away when i was in primary 2. that was 1985. he was totally blind by the time he passed on, and he was severely ill. i know that he did get to see me as a baby, and his eyesight progressively left him.

we used to visit my grandparents' toa payoh flat monthly. he'd sit in that chair of his, then feel the contours of my face, and 'measure' my height. that's almost the sum of my memory of the man.

i learnt a few things about him over the years, crumbs of information that amounted to mere
tidbits. he worked for the british army, and later for the ANZAC forces, a fact that only hit me fully after i started studying in australia. it is perhaps the reason i wanted to attend the ANZAC day memorial service so badly.

he had the option of re-rooting my family in the UK when they decided to abandon Singapore's defences in the 70s. he didn't because family and friends were all in singapore. this afternoon, my favourite uncle, gordon, said, "if we had gone to england, i'd have played for arsenal." *cough* *cough* (more because i can't stand the arse-s rather than doubting my uncle's footballing ability.)

he was a clerk and could type blind. all that was about all i knew about him.

today, some details were filled in. my family were technically british subjects even after independence. uncle gordon with another memorable anecdote, said that his teacher was trying to indoctrinate his class about singapore's multi-racial composition and that we are singaporeans. when asked who he was, he said he was a british subject, which was true according to his birth certificate. he was severely scolded for his truthfulness.

my grandfather also worked as a translator during world war two. so, he knew japanese, at very least. so much for my theory about how my family are mono-linguists. aunty gwen, who talked with my grandfather a lot when he was cogent, said that he came across as highly intelligent.

his father was an engineer, a big deal in those days. apparently, he worked on the railway that is now the basis of keretapi tanah melayu or KTM. yes, the tracks that the now outdated trains run on were engineered by my great-grandfather. the family was quite well off, with landed property. my great-grandmother had apparently squandered it all.

my grandfather had two sisters, both of whom none of my uncles nor aunties have seen. even if they have seen them, they have not crawled out of the woodwork for ages. he had step-siblings, as my great-grandmother remarried after my great-grandfather died. one of them died at sea. the other two, like his siblings have more or less vanished.

now, my grandfather's family was apparently from melaka. but he wasn't from the portuguese settlement. neither was my maternal grandfather, which is one of many parallels between the two men. but i digress...

for record's sake, my grandmother's side had some links from goa. and the surname 'frois' was bandied about, but i can't remember in what context.

it was an interesting christmas lunch. all this infomation makes me want to find out more about my family, and where they come from.

the short and simple answer would be portugal. but that's not the answer i'm looking for.

a happy and holy christmas to one and all!

u should start to trace your family tree! it'll certainly be more interesting than mine, considering that I'm ethnic chinese. keep me posted.

Kenneth! It's Kevjn!
Hopped by from Velle's blog.
Fascinating entry, this genealogy business. The same dirt you unearth on Christmas I unearth on Chinese New Year! :) And I'm still onit, having failed to commit errant genealogical roots last CNY on paper.
I'm at:

Takeit easy man.

Post a Comment


This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from acroamatic. Make your own badge here.

Previous Cave Drawings

Powered by Blogger
and Blogger Templates

Creative Commons License
Some rights reserved. Third-party content may come under other Creative Commons Licenses or generic Copyright regimes.