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Offline Yani Puk

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Meet the dragons
« on: 19 January 2012, 10:22:37 AM »

People born in the year of the auspicious Chinese zodiac sign are said to be blessed and popular. Here are some of them.

Born in 1928

Madam Chua Kim Swee, 84, great-grandmother of four

She turns 84 this year but Madam Chua Kim Swee leads an independent and active life matched by few of her peers.

She climbs the stairs of her threestorey house without needing to catch her breath and travels independently on the MRT.

Her 67-year marriage to a man match-made by her family bore eight children, who in turn have produced six grandchildren.

Madam Chua and her retiree husband live with their eldest son in a four-generation household.

Last year, she welcomed her fourth great-grandchild.

She says: "our house has become livelier after my eldest grandson became a father. It's so nice to have a baby to fuss over again.

"I'm thankful that our offspring are filial and I don't have major health problems. I have travelled all over the world and used to bring my own sambal chilli overseas."

The octogenarian likes gardening and credits a simple diet for her good health and longevity.

She says: "My husband prefers to stay at home but I go out with my childhood friend, who's now in her 70s, at least three times a week.

"My Chinese New Year wish is to prosper so that I can share my good fortune with my loved ones."

Born in 1964

Dr Kong Hwai Loong, 48, Cancer Specialist

Cancer specialist Dr Kong Hwai Loong epitomises a key attribute of the dragon - intelligence.

He was the first Singaporean to win the American Society of Clinical oncology Merit Award in 1997 for his research on novel cancer therapies.

He was also a recipient of the Public Administration Medal in 2005.

"Most of my friends suspect that I was born in the year of the dragon because 'dragon' appears in my name. occasionally there is a little awe or reverence, real or otherwise, when they know that I am a dragon," he says.

Loong means "dragon" in Chinese and his name is supposed to mean "intelligent dragon", he adds.

He explains: "My Chinese name is Jiang Hui Long. In Chinese, it also sounds like 'will become deaf'. For your information, I am hearing very well.

"My middle name 'Hwai' is commonly misinterpreted by Americans to be 'Hawaii'.

They think naming myself after one of their states is 'cool'."

Dr Kong is in private practice at the Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre.

He has two daughters and is the only "dragon" in his three-generation family.

He says: "I prefer to name my children according to nice or good attributes - which are more durable - rather than favourite items, which may change with the passage of time."
Born in 1940

Madam Lim Ah Gek, 72, Kindergarten Cook

Every weekday for over three decades, Madam Lim Ah Gek has been cooking up a storm for over 530 people at a kindergarten.

Sociable and affable, she has no plans to slow down even as her 72th birthday approaches.

She grew up during pre-independence Singapore where people lived in a kampung and toiled for a living.

When she was very young, she was fostered out to a married-but-barren neighbour.

Madam Lim's entry into the family was deemed auspicious as her foster mother later gave birth to nine children.

She says:"I was never beaten by my foster mother.

My foster siblings knew my background yet they respected me as their big sister. I fed and took care of them. our father was a hawker and our mother worked at construction sites."

At 18, she was married to a boy who lived next door and they have six children including twin daughters.

One of the twins gave birth to a boy (Justin Chua, below) in the dragon year.

Madam Lim has 12 grandchildren, each representing a Chinese zodiac sign, making it a complete cycle.

Of her dragon-year grandson, she says: "He doesn't get special treatment as I treat all my grandchildren the same."

 Born in 2000

Justin Chua Jing Jie,12, Student

He will sit for his Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) this year and Justin Chua Jing Jie is feeling the pressure.

Studying with other dragon boys is competitive, he admits.

"I will watch less TV, do my homework and do what my tuition teacher says," says the Fairfield Methodist Primary School pupil, who takes tuition for mathematics. He has been doing "okay" in his studies and gets good grades for science.

The only son of civil servant parents, Justin has a sister three years younger.

Like most siblings, they tease and bully each other. But this dragon boy says he is not easily angered and forgives easily.

"When I was three or four years old, I realised I like dragons. My mother then told me I was born in the year of the dragon. My grandma (Madam Lim Ah Gek, above) is also a dragon."

His two pairs of grandparents dote on him and buy him his favourite food, but they say the well-fed boy needs to keep his weight in check.

Justin's Chinese New Year wish is: "I want to do well in my PSLE. When I grow up, I plan to be a lawyer because I am good at talking!"

So, any dragons here? Share something please.... ;D