A lesson about fathers and sons


Being home on Saturday evenings is a rarity for Yani and I – we are usually out in a café somewhere with some Indonesian friends from church, killing time. I suggested to Yani that we should stay home instead – resting ourselves as both of us are having sore throat. Yani suggested that we should watch some movies – so the movie marathon began with The Jane Austen Book Club, a smart chick-flick that I have seen before and then continued with The Scent of Green Papaya. I watched the DVD many years ago and I thought I had enjoyed it. Now I think it’s just a tad bit too slow and awkward. 🙂 The third movie,which I have seen many a time, is a perennial favourite – Big Fish (with Ewan McGreggor, Jessica Lange, Billy Cruddup and Albert Finney).

The final scene never fails to leave me teary-eyed – it is a really beautiful movie about father-son relationship and looking at life with a dash of imagination and romance. It makes me think about my own father and compare his characters to mine. We are both hard-headed and stubborn, we are both inherently proud and insecure at the same time. In the movie, Will, the character is uneasy and is frustrated with his father. He feels that he doesn’t really know his dad because his dad loves to embellish his stories and infuse fantasies into past history. I remember the time when I used to be embarassed when my dad tells the customers who came to his stationery shop in Bandung about all of his children’s achievements, including mine. I was embarassed when a stranger in front of my Dad’s shop would say, “So this is the one who studied in Australia?”. His customers were updated with all of the children’s comings and goings and we used to comment on that. Now I know that it’s his way of telling us that he is proud of us and that he really loves us. It’s the way that he knows how.

I feel sorry when I realise that most of my nephews and nieces only know their Grandpa as a grumpy man who spends most of his time sleeping or grumbling, and making my mum frustrated. Well, he has always been the grumbling kind too, before he had a series of strokes many years ago. 🙂 However, before stroke and old age dulled his mind, he was a really smart man – forward thinking and analytical. He loved crosswords and even a game of Scrabble or two. He used to love watching quiz shows on TV.

When I cast my mind back to those years, I see myself as a sharp-tongued boy who wished his dad were different and a boy who was sometimes embarassed by his dad’s qualities and habits. It’s ironic that it took me years to really appreciate Dad – he has done a mighty great job in raising eight children with my mum. Every one of us, including my late brother, comes out alright and is sufficiently equipped to handle life. It’s also ironic to find out that some of the qualities that I disliked in him, are also mine. Being maried exposes those qualities and it does take a lot of determination to shake off things that are ingrained in my genes and habits. It’s another proof of God’s fantastic sense of humour, for us not to judge others (because we may turn out to be very similar to the person who we judge!) 🙂 This blog is a further proof how similar I am to my Dad, if he used to love sharing stories with his customers, well, I do enjoy writing my blog posts. 🙂

If you want a heartwarmer, please go and get the Big Fish DVD. You won’t be disappointed – it is in my Top-20 movies.



Published by fuzz

I've finally relented to the lures of blogging - and for those who care, well, I'm a self-confessed geek who's a wanderer at heart, who thinks and analyses too much, and who's trying hard to hold on to his 7-year old inner persona.

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