I have written about my mother and my maternal grandmother, and now it’s time to “showcase” my Father. I have specially reserved this for Father’s Day.
My dad, born in the year of 1946 in the small town of Teluk Intan is a very traditional, conservative China Man. He can be modern for his time, partying, dancing, idoling Elwis (mum told me dad use to have this “currypuff” Elwis hairstyle), plays the guitar and harmonica, a playboy (even in his golden years of age 40++ there were still many admirers. I knew particularly about these single ladies from the Buddist Association in our small town that use to admire him. They kept on telling my mum, how envies they were of my mum having found my dad as her husband. He has got this ability to charm women) but when come to raising his kids, he’s strict and conservative and full of Confusius thought. I suppose being the eldest of 12 sibblings (10 surviving), being send away to boarding school in Penang at the age of 13, being raised by my very strict great grandmother has formed what my dad personality and character. He shoulders the responsibility to be the good example, a role model for his siblings, hence the stoned face. He does not show his love and emotion to us easily. All are well kept and reserved. It’s like having a BIG BROTHER, FATHER status. A status which could be seen and respect but cannot be touched. A feeling of so near and yet so far. I remembered one of my aunt said my dad “吃古不化” (close minded, conservative)
We were once very closed. But the barrier slowly build up when I approach my teen. I suppose is his confusius thought that boys and girls should keep a distant (男女授授不亲), at that time I was also turning into a rebellious teen and found my dad couldn’t understand me and unreasonable so I pushed myself away from him. I respect him but I fear him. I was rebellious, but each of his teaching and nagging is deeply engraved in me.
爸常摆有父亲的威严. There were times that I couldn’t understand why, he can be so closed with his students, walking hand in shoulders with his students and joking around like brothers, but to me there’s always an unbreakable, untoucable barrier. We are as if in two different world. I even envy my cousins, because my uncle is very closed to my cousins. They are like friends, they can talk, they can joke but never me and my dad.
Until these day, I still fear my father. Each time I go back, we still don’t talk much. In fact I don’t know how to start. I know my father loves me very much, but he doesn’t show it freely. My mum is our messenger. Each time I got problem, mum will definately tell my dad, and then mum will called me and say “Your papa say……. (dad’s advise)” or “Papa asked me to call, to tell you….. “. I remember when I shifted from PJ to Seremban. I was suppose to drive my kancil here myself while hubby drive his own car. But my dad is very concern about my safety on the road. A woman driving long distant with 2 kids even with my hubby following me from behind is too dangerous to my dad’s point of view. So dad asked mum to tell me that he would drive the car down for me. A few times when we have the car back in PJ, dad would drive down or get my brother to drive down the car back to Seremban for me. It’s his way of showing his love and concern to me. It’s very heart warming, tiny little thing his does for us, me particulary that shows he really care even I’m 30 yrs old now with my own kids and family, but to him, he still protects me like a little girl.
Dad is strict, very strict. He sets alot of rules and curfews on me. He’s even stricter to me than to my brother. Maybe I’m a daughter, he wants to protect his daughter from being harmed. He can be sarcastic when lecturing us. There were constant nagging and lecturing. Everything, from the way we hold the chopstick, table manners, to walking and standing, each tiny behaviours has got to be corrected by him. I always fear him, cautious about my every single act that will cause a long winded nagging and scolding. (But to think back now, I’m really grateful for my dad’s strictness to instill good values, good manners in my brother and me)
Things I remember about my dad:
1) Plucking white hair for him and we – my brother and me get 1cent for each strain of hair. (Last time in the 80’s dying hair is not an IN thing yet)
2) The last time dad hugs me was when I was 12, I scored 7As in UPSR
3) I always thought SMARTIES come from the dragonfly, because each time we have SMARTIES, dad would say he wants to do MAGIC by catching the dragonfly and do some silly magic then *BLICK* ..there’s SMARTIES.
4) Dad bring us for holiday/makan angin during school holiday.
5) Helping dad add up the marks when he did the marking of SPM Additional Math Paper 2. Later on helped him to enter the marks into the computer sheets. (Don’t blame me for entering the wrong marks in the computer sheets if you ever failed your add maths paper 2) I still remember the parcels of exam papers (because dad’s is the team leader for his team) we’ve got every Nov, I like the stamps on it. Which also mean we got to stay in HOTEL when he’s sent for his meeting/briefing on how to mark the papers. (Being from a small town, we were very “jakung”, HOTEL in Ipoh and KL to us is like paradise)
6) Dad forced me to do past years paper for my SPM and he will then mark it. He gave me private tuition, which helped me to score As for both my Maths paper. 🙂
7) Dad forced me to write essays in English, BM, Chinese each weeks when I was still in primary school, of course he would be the marker again. He was the one who started me off writing diary as well.
8) Dad sings to us and put us to sleep when mum’s outstation for her training.
9) Dad is good at singing, drawing and Chinese calligraphy.
10) Dad’s a math genius. 😀 (but the daughter never inherited this talent)
11) Dad forced me to speak English ONLY to him at the age of 8. ( I’m now thankful for that, else I would be like any CHINA AH LIAN from the small town and would not be able to write this post)
Dad is still working very hard these days eventhough he has way past his retirement age. He has his difficulties and troubles, but he has never shared it with me. I wish he could slow down his pace and relax and enjoy life now. All I want to say most to him is “THANK YOU”. Thanks for everything that he has given me, thanks for everything that he’s taught me, thanks for all the values he has instilled in me. Though there were disagreement, I’m not sure if I wanted it to be done the different way. Would I still be me, would I still me the same as today if things were done differently? Nevertheless, I’m just grateful.
Dad and me.
Parents and me.
The happy family. Parents, my brother and me.