Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ong Ngoai Funeral

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My grandpa passed away on May 7, 2009.  He was 89 years old.  We attended his funeral in Westminster, CA on May 15 and 16th. 

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The whole family

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All of the grandkids

Speech I gave at the funeral……

A lot of people say the youngest years of a person’s life are the most influenced by the people that surround them.  After taking a moment to stop and think about it, all of us grandchildren would have to agree.  My grandfather, Ong Ngoai, without knowing it has shaped us in so many ways.  Let me take a moment to share with you a few examples.  The most obvious way was that if you worked hard you could play hard too.  I remember when Ong Ngoai first came to America not only did he work hard at the electrical plant, he went to night school to learn English.  He could speak three languages: Vietnamese, French and English.  Regardless of what language it was, everytime he would say “I detest you”, it was his term of endearment of “I Love You”.  He worked so hard to bring Di Thuy to America, then moved to California and worked hard to bring the rest of the family here.  He definitely work hard.  But wow could Ong Ngoai play hard too.  He without a doubt knew how to live a life of leisure. He loved a good back massage, foot massage, hand massage and even a head massage.  I was the first person to pluck his gray hairs for him and I would get paid to do it.  I used to think I was sneaky by breaking them in half to get more money, but he quickly figured out my business tactic.  He also loved tennis and ping pong.  He played nearly everyday up until he got sick.  All of us at one point used to chase down his tennis ball on the tennis court for him.  He had a killer slice and back hand that would beat all o fus.  Ong Ngoai enjoyed travelling, no matter what the cost.  To see things, hear things and of course eat things.  His travellings influenced all of his foods….anything good can’t always be good for you.  Like the french he loved cheese with bread, butter on bread, bread and eggs, eggs sauteed in butter, sausage and rice, rice with fish, steak and fries and of course a mean cup o noodle.  A personal favorite of mine.  He enjoyed tending to his gorgeous garden lush with beautiful orchids and fruit, and I know plenty of women here will watch over them for him.  Ong Ngoai taught us to be hopeful.  Hopeful of our dreams, hopeful that one day one of his many lottery tickets will strike it rich and if that didn’t work we work hard in school and make something of ourselves.  Ong Ngoai was a person who was strong, smart, quick witted, quick tempered, a jokester, confident, independent, stubborn, caring respectful and most of all loving.  Loving of all of his children and grandchildren.  He would give the shirt off his back and money in his pocket for any person here.  Us grandchildren have a little bit of him in all of us.  We are so lucky to have had him as a grandfather.


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A lot of waiting around

IMG_2583Nick and I baked about 200 madeleines and packaged them up for guests to eat when they came for the viewing

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The Buddhist Temple where another ceremony took place after the cremation

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