The Years of the Tiger: 2034, 2022, 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962, 1950, and 1938.
The Tiger ranks third among the animals of the Chinese zodiac. The 12 zodiac animals are, in order: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. Each year is related to an animal sign according to a 12-year-cycle.
What do I remember of my Tiger Years?
1950? Nothing. I was born in March 1950, so how could I remember anything?
1962: Twelve years old, I discovered that my English name was spelt wrongly ever since I had been 7 years old. I went to school in St Michael’s Institution, Ipoh, where my name was registered as Thong Wei Hing. In a predominantly Cantonese-speaking town like Ipoh, I was called Wai Hing, and I supposed nobody looked at my birth certificate at school. Somehow, I became Thong Wei Hing, and not Thong Wai Hing. Both wee wrong.
*At 12, I was given an Identity Card (the all-important IC), and was shocked to see my name on it: Thong Wee Hing. It matched the name on my Birth Certificate. My parents were Hakka, and Wee Hing was how my name was said in Hakka and Mandarin. My parents had named me correctly. Others had bungled.
1974: One day when I was 24, I fell in love with Suzanne Kwoon. It was love at first sight. That relationship defined my life from then on. We were married in 1975, went to New Zealand in 1976, and returned in 1982.
*Suzanne graduated MA with First Class Honours from Auckland University. I added 4 pieces of paper to my BA from the University of Singapore (now, NUS).
1986: An extremely tough year. Married, with two boys, Scott who was born in 1982, and Jamie who was born in 1984, we had to move back to Ipoh. I had been sacked by my employers in Penang at the end of 1985, and the whole country was in recession from the collapse of the tin mining industry. Jobless and with no savings, we returned to the safety net of our families in Ipoh. We had a roof over our heads, and quickly, I found a job teaching English at the Poi Lam High School in Pengkalen, Ipoh. For the next few years, it was a struggle making ends meet.
*A blessing in those years of hardship was the arrival of our youngest son, Kerry, in 1987, a wonderful surprise from the Lord!
*My former employer in Penang had to pay compensation for wrongful dismissal, and the money helped.
1998: The years continued to be a struggle financially, but gradually, I made a name for myself as an English tuition teacher. I returned to Poi Lam High School, left for Shen Jai High School, and then for Yuk Choy High School. The most fulfilling aspects at Shen Jai High School were the various speech competitions that I went to with the student representatives of the school. At Yuk Choy High School, I made many good friends.
2010: For the next few years, I was a part time lecturer at Sunway College, Ipoh and Quest International University Perak (QIUP).
*The medical students at QIUP were among the most intelligent people I had ever taught, and I hope that the sociological perspective which I tried to impart to them will serve them well as doctors. One topic was vaccine hesitancy, and another was suicide, and both are particularly relevant today.
*I taught English part time at Poi Lam High School as well.
*In 2016-2018, I worked at The Haven Resort Hotel, where I made good friends among my colleagues.
2022: I will be 72 in March. Life is relaxed and meaningful. I no longer work but life still passes quickly. Life is good. God is gracious and blesses.
*I blog. Andrew Thong, my younger brother who lives in the UK, calls me a serial blogger. I blog throughout the day and night.
*I keep my cat, Kitty Snow, company. As a result, I am starting to keep a cat’s hours, particularly at night. She sleeps after 1am and is awake by 6am. I do get enough sleep.
*I fetch the grand children back from school. It’s the best time of each day.
*I eat what I want and what I like.
*I meet with my RH brothers once a week for breakfast. We have known each other since 1972. The time together is precious.
*I have time to pray. For family and extended family, and for friends.
2034: Will I be around? Wait and see.
In the Year of the Tiger, the Lion will dance. As it does at all Chinese New Year celebrations.
Tigger of Winnie the Pooh fame is as much a tiger as any other tiger
Tigger is a fictional character, an anthropomorphic stuffed tiger. He was originally introduced in the 1928 story collection The House at Pooh Corner, the sequel to the 1926 book Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne. Like other Pooh characters, Tigger is based on one of Christopher Robin Milne’s stuffed toy animals. Wikipedia