Saturday, May 30, 2015

It's 9 Years

9 years ago around this time of the year, a young woman was happily preparing her mother's 50th birthday which falls in July.  She went around booking the venue putting a lot of thought into the people she was going to invite for the birthday.  Majority of the people she was going to invite were people with a heart of gold always working hard for others, so much so that they don't give much time for leisure for themselves.  They belong to a Buddhist organisation called Soka Gakkai International of NZ.  So she wanted this birthday to be a function not only to celebrate her mother's birthday but so that these people can have a really fun time for themselves too.  The young woman put in a lot of thoughts and efforts into preparing the event.  The mother's 50th birthday was on 23 July 2005.

The day before the birthday 22 July, this young woman has to make a visit to the doctor, because of having some bad headaches in the last couple of weeks. Sadly she was dignosed with a brain tumour, the size of a golf ball.  This piece of news would have hit both she and her mother so cancelling the birthday party would be understood by all those who said they will attend.  However, this young woman who also has a huge heart of gold turned to her mother and said, "No mum, let's have the birthday party, I want all the SGI people to really have a time for themselves and enjoy.  They only work hard for others, I want this to be for them too."  So on 23 July, the party went on.  Nobody knew of that piece of sad news.  Everyone danced and had a feast.

After that evening, the battle began.  This young woman mustered her courage to conquer the disease which was later confirmed to be a deadly cancerous tumour.  For nearly a year, she stood up strong and put on a smile each day for her mother, until she went into a coma in May the following year.  A month later, on 10 June 2006, she passed away peacefully in the arms of her mother.  Well known and loved by many, this young woman is Yvonne Tan.

It's been 9 years since Yvonne passed away and her mother's 60th birthday is approaching.  Her mother will sometimes sit by the window, knowing that if Yvonne was around, she would be doing the same, preparing for her birthday.  So for her mother's 60th birthday, instead of wanting a big party, the mother calls for all SGINZ people to put in a little prayer everyday for Yvonne from now till 10 June 2015 just to say to her, "Yvonne, we remember you and pray for your abundance good fortune wherever you are."

10 June 2015 - Happy SGI Womans Day.

Thank you.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

3rd Anniversary (10th June 2009) - Scattering Yvonne's Ashes

Scattering Yvonne's ashes on 10 June 09 at Mission Bay and Devonport -Auckland.

The journey of my niece, Yvonne Tan when she was diagnosed with brain cancer had touched many people with her courage and strength. Three years had passed and people were still using her strength to encourage them whenever they were placed in an adverse situation.

My sister, Jessica obviously did not wish to let go for Yvonne was not only her daughter but also her soul mate. It was a difficult decision to make but finally she decided to scatter Yvonne’s ashes into the sea on her 3rd anniversary as she stated in her last wish.

She rang me in Kuala Lumpur and I decided to take my wife and the two children (Yoke Chin, Elle-may and Ricky) to New Zealand for the occasion. An arrangement was made with her friend, Glenn who has a boat to take us out into the waters. However, on 09th June, it was a wet day. the weather forecast was not favorable for the next few days as well. At 2am on 10 June, it was pouring with rain.

We were supposed to meet at the wharf at 8am on the 10th, but at 7:30am it was still raining. Being determined, we did not give up. The group consisted of my sister and her partner Jeffrey, Anna, Rutt, Sachi, Glenn and his parents and me and my family. At 8am, the rain stopped and we got on the boat even though the sea was rough. However, when we gradually moved into the sea, the waters calmed.

We decided to go to Devonport first. As we arrived there, the sun came out. Glenn’s father, Laurie stopped the boat. All of us started to do gongyo and chanted. When we finished our prayers, Yoke Chin passed out the paper boats she made to us. We wrote messages to Yvonne.

Then we scattered half of the ashes into the water. My sister did first. She shouted “Yvonne, be the happiest person in the world.” Flower petals were also scattered. My daughter, Elle-may made some paper stars. She threw them into the water too. Each of us then took turns to scatter some ashes, flower petals, stars, and put our our paper boats in the water. All these floated in a stream-like manner. The reflection of the sun coupled with the flower petals, paper boats, paper stars made it into a beautiful procession. Our hearts opened with joy for Yvonne.

We then traveled to Mission Bay. We did the same thing. The weather was still good for us. Anna, Yvonne’s best friend sang a song as we scattered the ashes. My sister read a passage from the book "Unlocking Mysteries of Life and Death" by Dr Daisaku Ikeda the president of Soka Gakkai International .

After we finished the ceremony, we made breakfast and enjoyed it in the boat. When we were returning to Auckland, the weather started to be cloudy again. Soon, it started to rain again.

This episode had been another proof of the power of daimoku (Nam Myho Renge Kyo) because we had been chanting for good weather even when we were in Kuala Lumpur. We believed that the sunshine was a sign of Yvonne’s eternal life of good fortune, shining above us as we scattered her ashes.

Despite having left us for 3 years, Yvonne Tan, had shown us once again of her fighting spirit motto "My Life Is About Winning" which was very much alive with us on that sunny morning.
Posted By : Roger

The video clip:


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

2nd Year Anniversary -10th June 2008

Dearly missed but always

remembered by Mother Jessica,
Father Jeffery,Uncle Roger,
Brother Brian,Relative in New Zealand,
& Malaysia, SGI Members and Friends.



Sunday, June 10, 2007

1st Year Anniversary -10th June 2007-

Dearly missed but always
remembered by Mother Jessica,
Father Jeffery,Uncle Roger,
Brother Brian,Relative in New Zealand,
& Malaysia, SGI Members and Friends.


On the 10th of June 2007
the SGI-NZ ogranise Chanting(Praying) at
their respective venue.

The time :-

New Zealand Time: 13: 00 till 15:00 (1pm till 3pm)

Malaysia Time: 09:00:00 till 11:00(9am till 11am)


Saturday, July 1, 2006

Yvonne Tan

2nd September 1980 - 10th June 2006

~ Read Me ~

Who knew
It could happen,
That our paths would cross one day
And here you are.
Remembering every word,
And of all the things
The spirit has to say...

Guess I
Was hoping that,
You wouldn't see right through me.
Then... there you are,
Pondering every word.
So should I...
Or should I not speak?

I get to know you,
The intimacy of ink & paper.
There you are.
Reading me like a book.
And I am comfortable in your presence,
There cannot be one without the other.

Ideas through the years,
Releasing of the sub-conscious mind.

So. Here you are.
Absorbing every word.
And through you and this,
Some of me will float in everlasting time.

Poem By:
Yvonne Tan
13 Oct 2004

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

"My Life Is About Winning" quote by Yvonne Tan

New Zealand TV One- 'Sunday' Program shown Yvonne Tan story on Sunday Evening 16th of July 2006.

The title of the documentary program "A Tribute To A Young Kiwi Actor "


Monday, June 26, 2006

Yvonne Tan Biography By Fred Parsons

Yvonne Tan was born in Kualar Lumpuar, Malaysia in September 1980.She was a fortune baby, as Mother Jessica was chanting whilst she was pregnant with Yvonne. Jessica struggled as a solo parent, often working in menial jobs, whilst bringing up her daughter.

As a result; Yvonne spent a large part of her early life with her Grand-Mother, whilst her Mother was working. Jessica Phuang met Jeffrey Goh and together they decided to immigrate to New Zealand in March 1988, to make a new life for themselves. Once they were established in Auckland, Jessica called for her daughter to also come to New Zealand.

Yvonne was barely 8 years old, and did not really like the new country at first, so many things were different.

Slowly Yvonne began to adjust to life while her Mother and Jeffrey worked hard in their respective careers to make a new home for themselves in New Zealand.

Yvonne went off to school, first to the Mt.Eden Normal Primary School, then to Auckland Normal Intermediate School and finally to Epsom Girls Grammer. Yvonne then went onto Tertiary Studies, completing a first year at Auckland University of Technology studying for a Bachelor of Social Science.

The following year, Yvonne completed a one year course at the South Sea Film and TV school. This was more to Yvonne’s liking and she flourished in the atmosphere of acting and drama.

An earlier, initial exposure to the film industry had been a minor role in the Cybil Shepherd TV movie; “Which Way Home,” which was completed in 1991.
This movie featured many SGINZ members acting in minor roles, as well as some of the younger members having major roles. “Other roles were to follow and Yvonne appeared in many different Shorthand Street episodes, Xena the Warrior Princess, Market and finally Orange Roughy..

Yvonne may always be remembered for her TV role, as the person fronting the Maggi Noodle soup song. This TV Advert featured Yvonne acting as a young Japanese girl, coming to New Zealand to study English and experience life with a New Zealand home-stay family.
Her appearance was just great, but I was never too sure about her typically Kiwi accent which was a little off-putting, because she was meant to be a non-English speaking Asian, newly arrived. This is perhaps a most enduring image of Yvonne Tan, her freshness and crispness, the energy and vitality of youth, anything was possible!

In July 2005, Yvonne had her first CT Scan, which confirmed the presence of a Brain Tumor. An operation to remove the problem happened about one week later. Within six weeks, the tumor had returned, and a further operation followed, with radiation therapy as well. The tumors were deep-seated and very aggressive and finally the Doctors would not operate anymore. All this was deeply upsetting for Yvonne as well as for Jessica and Jeffrey, and the matter certainly upset their lives, as they struggled to understand what was happening.

Yvonne lapsed into a coma for the last three days of her life. Jessica intuitively understood that this was to be the final stage of her daughter’s eventful life, and wrote a short message to the SGI Members. Saturday, the 10th of June my Family visited Yvonne in the Hospice.
She was in a coma, But her good eye was open and staring into the middle distance. She was also breathing strongly and steadily, in rhythm.

About 8.00PM, I took my leave of Yvonne Tan, expecting to return in a couple of days. Jessica telephoned me at 10.30PM, and informed me that Yvonne had passed away at 10.20PM. I was shocked; everybody knew that it was going to happen, but not so soon.

Yvonne had always been an extremely determined person. She was initially diagnosed as being ‘Gone by Christmas’ Yvonne’s extreme opposition to this scenario and the support of the members delayed her departure by at least six months, but the end was inevitable.
Yvonne attended the "Christmas in the Park 2005 Party " (Domain Auckland) together with her family

During her lifetime, Yvonne had made a considerable contribution towards cultural activities for the SGI Youth in the Auckland area.She was also involved with the New Chanters movement in Auckland, and continued to attend these meetings for as long as she could. She was also assertive and articulate and never afraid to express her opinion about anything at all. These characteristics may well be genetic and most of the SGINZ Members are also aware of her Mothers contribution towards New Zealand Kosenrufu activities over the many years that the family has been in this country.

Yvonne Tan’s funeral at the SGINZ ( Soka Gakkai Internation New Zealand) Culture Centre in Auckland, Saturday morning; 17 June 2006, was an event. It set a precedent, it was the first funeral service held in a Kaikan in New Zealand. It was a celebration, a festival of song and dance, with an Austin Powers theme, which Yvonne had requested, just prior to her death.

Many Policemen in uniform also attended the event, Jessica’s work colleagues were out in force ! The celebration was capped off by a very moving video-ed message from English actor; Orlando Bloom.

SGI President Daisaku Ikeda sent Jessica Phuang a beautiful message of commiseration on the death of her daughter,Yvonne Tan.

Therefore we can only understand Yvonne’s premature demise, in terms of Buddhism. Her life was a mission, which she completed and then her it was over. She was a very bright star in the filament, she illuminated the heavens with her youthful energy and vitality and then she was gone. She had everything except time.

Yvonne was never destined to suffer old age and sickness, and the meaning of her short life is clearly to encourage all of us Buddhist and non-Buddhist alike to look again at what we as mortal beings must face, each time we are born. We need to accept and appreciate sickness, old age and finally death, because this is the reality of the human existence.
Yvonne will be reborn again into this world; this is a cornerstone of our faith, our belief. We may not recognize her, but she will be reborn again into a Buddhist family. She will be reborn as a healthy individual, and sometime over the next few years you may recognize a young child, or then again it may just be your imagination playing tricks with your mind. But rest assured, Yvonne will be back, somehow, somewhere, soon.

Wrote By Fred Parsons


Saturday, June 17, 2006


While Yvonne was still around, She has requested that her Funeral service to be arrange with 'Austin Power's 'Themes.The reason She wanted everyone to be HAPPY on that day !.

Within 2 days Yvonne friends and SGI NZ members decorated the centre plus practice of Austin Power's Dances.They are 'AMAZING '

(Note: Click on the picture for bigger view)

Only two evening of putting up the decoration

The Practice of Austin Power dance
Only two evening of practice

~~~~~ ----- ~~~~~ ------ ~~~~~ ------- ~~~~~ ------- ~~~~~

Date: 17th June 2006
Time: 10am -12.30pm
Venue: SGINZ Cultural Centre-Auckland
Introduction of Prayer Procedures
Buddhist Prayer and Offering
Taiko Drummers
Words By SGINZ General Director
Songs dedicated to Yvonne
Tribute to Yvonne by the "Sisters"
Video Message from Orlando Bloom
Words By Yvonne Uncle
Words By Yvonne Mother
Video of Yvonne
Open Mic
Dance inspired By Yvonne
End of Service

Buddhist Prayer and Offering
Yvonne Mum & Yvonne Dad

MC of the day- Desmond Gul in 'Austin Power' costume


Words by SGINZ General-Director Jimi Wallace (also read SGI President Ikeda message to Jessica Phuang)

Songs dedicated to Yvonne by Kathie

Words of Thanks by Yvonne Uncle Roger and Mum Jessica

"I am so grateful to Yvonne, so grateful that she has chosen me to be her mum"

Video of Yvonne

Open Mic

Dance inspired By Yvonne

Farewell Yvonne
background music ‘Hero’ by Mariah Carey & ‘You Got A Friend’ sang by Yvonne’s friends outside the hall


Rainbow sighted on 16th & 17th June - Auckland Sky

16th June 2006
On the 16th when Yvonne’s casket be close, Family members, Friends had the last view of Yvonne plus individual private moment with Yvonne at the Davis Funeral Home. The pictures below taken in front of Davis Funeral Home, Dominion Road.

17th June 2006
View from outside crematorium, just after Yvonne cremation