Australia celebrates Father’s Day on the first Sunday in September. Father’s Day is something that isn’t celebrated in Indonesia so I didn’t call my Dad or send him a present.
Whilst looking at the expatriate forum in Singapore that I frequently visit, I found an entry that I posted about my Dad, in response to an item posted by another member who had just lost her father. She encouraged other members to post about their respective father. Here’s my contribution – I decided to repost it here as I don’t want to lose it:
Now let me tell you about my Dad — he’s an acutely shy, insecure, stubborn and a very proud man. The whole family struggled financially when I grew up and we didn’t even have any colour telly in the house, because my Dad preferred to save all his money for the children’s education. He wanted all of his children, all eight of them, to at least graduate from High School. Flash forward, seven out of the eight have university degrees with some even finished postgraduate courses.
I used to wish I had a different Dad, somebody younger, or hipper, somebody who could have driven me around and fetched me from school. I wished I had a Dad who would show emotions, regardless of whether his children achieved or not. In my late teenager years and my uni years, I even harboured some anger and resentment towards him. I didn’t like the way he smoked in the house, the way he ate, and many other trivial things.
My Dad had a stroke about eight years ago … he lost the use of his right hand, and he can’t write properly nor walk around anymore. He was crushed – he couldn’t even hold on to his ego and pride.
Since then, I have learned to appreciate my Dad more.
The one thing that stayed in my mind was the fact that my Dad cried when I bumped my head on the desk when I was a student in Adelaide in the early 90’s. I called home to Indonesia and told my parents that I bumped my forehead and bled a bit in the middle of the night. Nothing serious at all but my Mum told me that Dad cried when he heard the news.
I have also learned to appreciate Dad more by missing his fine calligraphy – he used to love putting our names on our school books – each book was beautifully named with love. He can’t even write anymore.
I also remember one incident around Bugis when I still worked in Singapore – I was walking from my old digs in Sophia Court towards City Hall. I suddenly heard somebody whistling a tunes in a trilling manner. In our family, only my Dad who could trill-whistle like that … he lost that ability when he had a stroke and I had to fight back tears as I walked because I missed my Dad – with all his faults and all.
Happy belated Father’s Day to all of the Aussie Dads who are reading my blog.