Ah Gong, 83, will take part in run

Mr Goh Ah Ong, 83, (in foreground), will put down the wok and ladle and lace up his shoes for the family run. Even the clan’s 10-month-old boy (far right) will ‘run’ in a stroller.

SINGAPORE - Food is what binds this four-generation family of 44 members together.

On weekends or festive events like Chinese New Year, they gather at a four-room Bedok Reservoir View flat to visit their "Ah Gong", 83-year-old Goh Ah Ong.

But next Sunday, the family will attempt something different.

They will don sports shoes and a specially-printed family T-shirt for the POSB PAssion Run for Kids 2013.

Thirteen of them will take part in the 10km category, while 22 will take part in the 3.5km Family Walk category.

The rest are unable to make it due to work and school commitments.

It all started when a few of the thirdgeneration members had the idea of doing a run together during their Father's Day celebration in June.

Mr A.K. Goh, 49, then convinced the others that it should be a family event.

Said the country manager who works in a regional logistics company: "It was on the spur of the moment. We wanted to do something different to celebrate Ah Gong's birthday this year. I thought we should have a healthy event this year."

It was up to the younger ones, like undergraduate Goh Xiao Yin, 22, to make the arrangements.

The family spent about $800 on green T-shirts printed for the run, to display their unity.

Even the latest addition to the family - a 10-month-old - will be taking part in the run, albeit in a stroller.

The family is not worried about Ah Gong as he takes daily morning walks, said the younger Mr Goh.

When The New Paper visited the family Sunday evening, the Bedok flat was bustling and full of lively banter.

The women were busy in the kitchen, while the teenagers gathered in the living room, talking among themselves and playing with the toddlers.

And seated on a rattan chair was Ah Gong, looking content.

Ah Gong loves to cook

Until Miss Goh chimed in that Ah Gong was actually a little restless.

"He usually cooks for the family, but today we made him rest and let the others help out with the cooking," she explained.

The patriarch of the family has been helming the kitchen at every Goh family gathering for at least 13 years.

Said Miss Goh: "He loves cooking. He looks forward to each gathering so much that he would start planning what dishes to make, and go marketing as early as six in the morning."

His best dishes are chicken rice and nasi lemak, as voted by the family members present on Sunday.

Having grown up in a boisterous environment, teacher Goh Xiao Han, 26, said she would not have it any other way.

"Last December, Ah Gong was hospitalised following a trip to his hometown. We took turns to visit him, take care of him and bring him meals.

"In most families, it's usually one person settling the whole thing. But for us, we split the responsibility," she said.

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