A reunion dinner to savour - with all four generations

Mr Ng Ghim Tin, 82, and his wife Lim Lay Hin, 78, with their great grandson Ethan and grandson Caleb, 10. All 18 family members gathered for their reunion dinner in Pasir Ris last night in a Chinese New Year tradition. This year, the Ngs celebrated t
Mr Ng Ghim Tin, 82, and his wife Lim Lay Hin, 78, with their great grandson Ethan and grandson Caleb, 10. All 18 family members gathered for their reunion dinner in Pasir Ris last night in a Chinese New Year tradition. This year, the Ngs celebrated the occasion as a four-generation family for the first time.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

For 82-year-old Ng Ghim Tin, this year's reunion dinner holds more significance than past ones.

For the first time yesterday, he got to share it with four generations after his first great grandson Ethan was born last November.

"It is my good fortune to be able to see my great grandson in my old age," he said in Mandarin. He and his wife have three children and seven grandchildren.

All of them, along with Ethan, made it 18-strong at their reunion steamboat in Pasir Ris, where they tucked into family favourites such as abalone, prawns and fish.

The Ngs hold their reunion dinner every year at the house of eldest child Ng Bee Lin.

"Nobody has missed a reunion dinner before," said the 57-year-old housewife.

Even her 52-year-old brother Arthur Ng, a project manager at a technology firm in Abu Dhabi, makes it a point to join the family. "It is a good opportunity to meet up with family members who I do not see very often," he said.

Ethan's father Noel Wong, 31, a civil servant, hopes to teach Ethan the importance of being there for the annual dinner and also pass down some family traditions - including the giving of hong bao.

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Mr Wong's parents still give him a red packet to keep under his pillow as a symbol of prosperity.

"I have wrapped a red packet for Ethan to put under his cot and keep that family tradition alive," he said.

Said Mr Ng, who moved to Singapore from Malaysia in 1958 and used to own a provision shop but has since retired: "When I look at all my family members getting together in such a lively gathering, I feel so proud. It makes life worth it."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 16, 2018, with the headline 'A reunion dinner to savour - with all four generations'. Print Edition | Subscribe