Holland Road's badass and well-loved ah ma dies at age 112: Here's her amazing story

A woman, Mdm Yuan Dongxiu, died peacefully at home on Sunday morning (Sep 23) at the age of 112, loved and remembered by all who knew her.

Mdm Yuan's eldest daughter, 78-year-old Li Jinxi, told Lianhe Wanbao on Sep 24 about how her mother had arrived from Jiangxi, China, to reunite with Mdm Li's father in Singapore.

At that time, Mdm Yuan was in her 30s while Mdm Li was 12.

Mdm Yuan later had one more daughter and two sons, with the family of six residing in Holland Road.

Now with six great-grandchildren in the family, there are four generations under one roof.

Mdm Li said her father was a carpenter and that he had been ill for a period of time.

Fortunately, Mdm Yuan held the fort and kept the family going even at life's hardest point.

Mdm Li recalled how her mother would even visit the market to pick up fruits and vegetables that other people had discarded so that the family would have food.

"Mum told us to never ask for money even if we are poor, but to earn it through our own labour," she added.

According to Mdm Li, her mother led a simple life and had a tough physique. However, her health started deteriorating after she suffered a stroke three years ago.

Gentle, virtuous and well-loved by children, Mdm Yuan never lost her temper, said Mdm Li, adding that a good temperament might have been her mother's secret to a long life.

The admirable woman had five siblings in China, all of whom lived past the age of 100. She was the last of them to depart this world.

Liao Jingjing, 50, was a neighbour whom Mdm Yuan had cared for when she was young.

She shared how she and her three siblings would always visit "Ah Po" (meaning "granny") after school, playing till night and returning home only at bedtime.

To them, Mdm Yuan was just like their biological grandmother.

Mdm Liao also said: "When I was in Secondary 3, Ah Po moved to her son's house. We were so sad that we cried.

"After that, we would visit her during every Chinese New Year. For more than 30 years, this never changed."