Benjamin Kheng Recalls Being Told To ‘Move On’ From Late Mum After Writing 2 Essays About Her
Different people deal with loss in different ways. For some, they channel their grief into a creative outlet, such as by writing poems or songs.
Recently, Singaporean singer-songwriter Benjamin Kheng took to social media to post a heartbreaking story about his late mother.
a year after my mom passed, i remember writing about her in my school essays as much as i could. my english teacher left a note in red, saying “you’ve written 2 compositions about your mother, i think it’s time to move on.” i’m glad i never listened. i’m glad i continued to shamelessly immortalize her in words and in song, and in who i’m trying to be. i’m glad to have a space to share and give in grief (which never really fades, but only glows gentler and fonder), and i’m glad we found this dusty ol’ DVD documentary our family made to remind me that she could rock any wig and still slay 🕊️
He recalled his English teacher telling him to “move on” from his mother after he had supposedly written too many essays about her.
Kheng said he’s glad he never listened and now immortalises her in his songs.
He also shared clips of his mother from an old DVD his family had made long ago.
Benjamin Kheng reminisces about his late mother
The 33-year-old made his musical debut in the band The Sam Willows.
Known for their covers and catchy hits like ‘Take Heart’, the band and its individual members have all achieved a sizeable following.
Since 2019, Kheng has moved on to solo projects and racked up nearly 394,000 followers on TikTok.
Things were not always smooth sailing in his life, however — Kheng sadly lost his mother to breast cancer when he was only 12.
He recalled writing about her in his school essays at every opportunity.
However, his English teacher apparently didn’t appreciate this and left a note penned in authoritative red ink that said:
You’ve written [two] compositions about your mother, I think it’s time to move on.
Shows old DVD footage of late mum
Despite these hurtful words, Kheng said he’s glad he “never listened” to his teacher.
Instead, he continued to “shamelessly immortalise” her into his words and songs. Among these is the tear-jerking ‘For Love’, which has amassed over a million views on YouTube.
Kheng went on to describe grief as something that “never really fades, but only glows gentler and fonder”.
He reiterated that point in the video’s text overlay, which reads, “You left, but you never really left.”
The video itself also contains footage of his mother from an old DVD documentary they had made.
In one scene, she reads out a children’s book to both a young Kheng and his sister-slash-band member Narelle.
In another, a smartly dressed Kheng is seated in his mother’s lap, her arms embracing him, as they speak to an older man in spectacles.
Kheng also frequently posts throwback photos of his mum on Instagram during special occasions like Mother’s Day.
Has nothing against teacher despite their words
Kheng’s video and story touched many netizens, who shared kind words of encouragement.
While many found his teacher’s reaction to be too harsh, Kheng himself said in a comment that he believes his teacher had “good intentions” but just used “the wrong words”.
Fellow musician Sezairi commented that his English teacher was not the “emotion police”.
Once more, Kheng only had understanding words for his former teacher, acknowledging that it can be difficult to “find the right words” to help a grieving child.
In the end, everybody has their own struggles with grief and loss that have to be tackled at their own time and pace.
Kheng’s decision has been to enshrine his mum within his music, where she will live on for a long time to come.
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