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Stories from the Heart

My Tribute to Ah Gong


I am Nicholas Rachmadi from Primary 6F. This is my story.


My grandfather had been fighting liver cancer for the last four and the half years and it was really painful to see Ah Gong (Grandfather) who was an active person slowly deteriorating in health. In his final lap, he became bedridden.


During the week of the National Inter-schools Swimming Heats, Ah Gong’s condition worsened as he drifted in and out of consciousness. When I visited him, I talked to him and shared about how I was looking forward to going into the finals, as this was my last year competing in the Primary category. Ah Gong just smiled and said weakly that he would be with me throughout the competition. It did not strike me at that time what he meant.


Ah Gong passed away on Saturday, July 6 at around 5.20 am. I was at his bedside as he drew his last breath.


With the funeral arrangements and late nights at the wake, my parents told me to forgo the finals. Then it occurred to me, my Ah Gong knew that his time was up and that he would be with me in spirit as I competed in the finals. I then insisted to my parents that I needed to do it for Ah Gong. 


I dedicated the finals to my grandfather and managed to get a 3rd place in the 100m backstroke and 4th in the 50m backstroke. After the finals, I returned to the wake and placed both my medals with Ah Gong in his coffin. They are now buried with him at the Choa Chu Kang cemetery.


For those of you who know me, you will know how important those medals were to me. But to me it was only right and more important to present Ah Gong with my last gift to him. There will be other national competitions and I will have many opportunities to win more medals… probably even for Singapore one day!


I miss my grandfather.