Don't Look Back... For Too Long.
This is a very of a personal entry, and you can get a good peak at my private /family life, and how much of a freak I maybe as an Actor. I just came back to Singapore from Sydney.
2 weeks ago I was faced with one of the more difficult decisions in my life. So I was in Singapore, doing what I do.
Kim and nick were flying back the next day so I told them to call home, which reminded myself it was about time i done the same. Turns out that my grandmother on my mom’s side is unwell and in hospital, I told my parents I can drop everything and jet over if the condition gets critical. But... did i really mean that? Well here I will try to analyse how I was thinking.
now don't get me wrong, I do love my grandmother, although I was never too close to her, Hardly even spared a thought let alone speak to her, none of my Australian made cousins or the 3rd gens seem to be. There is too much of a language barrier and generation gap, there isn't really anything of common interest or current relevance to discuss between us, this also applies to my late grandfather. (precious blog entries that vapourised with MSN spaces)
I regretted not spending more time with him before he passed, I was too occupied with being a first year uni student at the time in 2005.
Although I didn't want to repeat that, in the last 7 years or so I have not changed at all.
I did get to see my gran just feeling tired at home in bed 3 months ago. I hate to make promises I cannot keep, being a massive YES and CAN man meant that I'd say a lot of things just to make people happy, but being pressed for time meant that I couldn't spend more time with her before I left even though I said I should be able to.
My family are very genuine simple hardworking honest people, sheltered types that would not fight for rights or bend rules or persuade people, eat what they earn and not exploit anything for a pinch of advantage, they would just let it flow like fate and regulations (consider me the grey sheep) my father for example retired doing the same job he had since touching aussie soil and had racked up 4 months of leave or some ridiculous like that because the concept of chucking sickie was nonexistent. My parents would always give me dirt on rushing things all the time, not being at home, bending rules, not having a stable (stale) job and basically cutting thing too close and always saying it’s too late for things like dinner when I rush out the door, in this case it's my conscience telling me I should spend more time with grandmother.
Although my grandmother wouldn't have felt disappointed with me not seeing her again, It does hurt me to not fulfill an offer for an elder (pictures myself waiting in solitary drama for grandchildren to visit). but thats not all, that 2 weeks ago, a day following my call, my brother called and told me if I was to come back it better be tomorrow or so because grandmother's condition was critical, she hasn't been able to eat for a few days, and I said something along the lines of "I'll see. "
On my end I was booked for a few more gigs, auditions, waiting for call- backs and particularly an exclusive movie premiere, basically I was pushing it a bit more than usual. I've always wanted and urgent call to see a dying relative, race against the clock and be by their side as they pass in hospital, just like in the movies, but not while I was working as an actor overseas. Twisted I know, but this is a blog from someone with a taste for the screen theatrics.
Since my brothers mid-week update, I called home every day to see if she was still alive so I could feel a false sense of security to push my return date to next Tuesday when I’ve fulfilled most of my callings. I got a text from bro on Saturday, Grandma passed early morning. I woke up read the message and went back to sleep for majority of the day, I didn't deserve life that day. I woke up in the noon, booked my flight back on Wednesday just as planned then took another long nap and then walked about 4 suburbs to the nearest temple and managed to get in at 4.30pm to pay barely any respect as they closed at 4pm, bending rules again. I then went home and to bed again but that night I couldn't sleep.
I was warned and i was aware of the guilt that I would bestow if I had not made it back in time to see her alive, maybe this burden was something i wanted aside from work... it's crazy. But at the same time i knew my grandmother respected hard work and career, and would have wanted what's best for me. Though I’m not even sure if there is an expression for career in Chinese.
When I came back to syd for the funeral Mehran told me that it was nobler to tend to family matters of life, health and death first even if it means hindering your career, you just have to work a bit harder afterwards. I had 2 calls for castings in this single week of being back in Sydney, everything I fail to do stays with me. So I’m quite married to this field.
I shot my grandmother's funeral, now I can cross that off my shoot experience bucket list. I edited it and am going to share it with my known relos in Vietnam and us and Canada, after all I was the only one capable of it, i have become the family's messenger. I was also the only one that stepped up to improvise a decent eulogy on the spot in English (I probably would have said something insensitive colloquially if I attempted Cantonese) I did feel
Nervous as it was not something I had delivered before even though only the 3rd gens/cousins would understand.
Performance Rating 5/10
I delivered but it could have been better for improv, and a lot better for an eulogy. some prep would have been good of course. Some shakes and blanks but touching and special to me at least to speak, since I have been such a selfish scumbag grandson of false promises, this and working on the funeral video gave me some repentance, redemption and closure.
It's all in Chinese and Vietnamese, I dun geddit.
On the drive to the airport to drop myself off for my 4th flight to Singapore today, I was talking to my mother, I told her how I am disappointed in myself for saying what I couldn't bring myself to do and not having proper priorities. she said that it's nothing, your aunty from Canada wasn’t even in a position to fly in to attend the funeral, and grandmother said that it's only dying not much point in seeing that, in sweeter English words that would mean you've seen me in my prime, that’s what counts.
I told my mother, I assure you that if you are ever in danger of health I would drop everything and see you... she said not to worry about it, if you have important work or were unable to it’s alright... she probably doesn’t mean that, but it's endearing to know that what she probably meant is I am decent son and I don't need to prove that I love her.
I may have lacked the nurture and support to accelerate my talents but the simplicity of my family makes it far more comforting to pursue my dreams, no pressure, except for my own.
The above guy is writing this blog. Thanks for taking some time to read it.