Have you seen a coffee mug with the words “Dad, you were right!” ?
On Father’s Day, I think of my father who went to heaven three years ago. He was a very good man and gave his best for his family. He had a lot of influence on me which has only started to become quite evident in recent years.
My father was an accounting clerk who unfortunately could not qualify as a certified accountant as he could not speak much English. I vividly remember one particular instance where I shared my wish to study overseas in Canada with him, as it was where many of my school mates were going to for their university studies. Without hesitation, he offered to give me HK$100,000 and told me that that was all he had. That was my father; he gave everything he could offer, to his children.
My father’s favourite food was Chinese BBQ pork with rice. There were occasions where I would meet him after school at a traditional Chinese restaurant and it was here, where he could be seen eating the same dish, every single time. Through this experience, I have developed my love for food and have learnt that the best BBQ pork or “char siew” must have a good portion of marbling fat, and is especially tasty, with a bit of burnt ends.
His love, apart from my mother was his black colour Volkswagen Beetle that had a sunroof. There were times where I remember helping him wash his car. I also clearly remember his car registration number , which was “1262” without any prefixes at the front. One fruitful day,while my father was washing the front bonnet of the car, I decided I was going to sit in the driver’s seat and pretend to be able to drive, just like him. As I got overly excited, I decided to ‘follow in his footsteps’ and release the handbrake, guess what happened next? My father tried to stop the car from rolling by pushing back as hard as he could. One can only imagine how angry he looked and how much fun I had!
Today, I see some young men on the streets who have the exact same hairstyle as my father when he was in his 20s (to put things into perspectives, this was in the 1950s). Till today, my mother still has some of the old pictures from those days, which she has proudly kept in pristine condition (back in those days, photos were hand painted to give it colour!). Isn’t it interesting to see how fashion trends evolve over the years?
My father was an extremely friendly man and made many friends including those who spent hours playing cards with him at home. During Chinese New Year, they would play happily for hours, without stopping for lunch or dinner.
My father smoked until his late 50’s or 60’s. I remember visiting him at his office in Central Hong Kong, and the entire office compound was smoky and smelt like cigarettes. I also remember seeing packs of cigarette on his colleagues’ desk; brands like Viceroy for the guys and 555 for the ladies were popular in those days. It was such an “in” thing then for individuals to ‘smoke’ in order to be seen as fashionable.
He had some bad habits but he was a good man and in my eyes, I think he deserves to be called a real gentlemen. It did not matter whether he was right or wrong as I loved him dearly. After more than half a century, his influence on me has never been more evident. I now drive a black Volkswagen Beetle with a sunroof. I also learnt how to smoke when I was in high school but never became a regular smoker. I have also grown to love and enjoy BBQ pork and as many would know, I keep my hair short, just like him!
Most importantly, the biggest lesson he taught me was to give the best within my means to my three children.
Father, you were right about everything all along! Happy Father’s Day!