Thoughts on My Father

If I asked you to describe your father – what would you say about him?

For me, I’ve always seen my father as loving and caring until recently that I’ve lost my respect for him completely.  Why?  I look at my past and I realize that he did nothing much for me but only to paint a picture that he wants me to see.  He wants me to see how important he is and that I should always look up to him.  See him standing in his pedestal.  He wants me to see him as influential.  Well, he’s definitely influential  – in all the negative aspects of my life.

Let’s start from the beginning to see how influential he was.  For all the things that I remember from my childhood, he was the father that expects my mother to do all the parenting.  He would stand on the background and watch.  He just did that and only that.

I remember my father simply sat in front of the TV to watch the news and reading his newspaper.  That’s all I remember.  He was never there to spend time with me.  He was never there to hold my hand to walk through life.  Not when I was a child, not when I was a youngster and not when I’m going through the toughest part of my life.

My mother was the person who nurtured me and it was Liza, the domestic helper that kept me company when I was a kid.  All I remember is my mother who would be on my bedside to watch me fall asleep at night; she was the one who was there for my reading homework every night – she listened to me read.  Liza took care of my everyday life – she was like a second mom to me.

Things that I learned as a kid, none of them was taught by my father.  Just to name a few, I learned how to ride a bike from Mr. Lam, my next door neighbor.  Two of the sports that I learned, tennis and swimming, were taught by dedicated coaches from the housing estate where I grew up.  I learned how to play Chinese chess from my cousins and uncles.  I learned how to play chess from my mother’s dear friend, Mr. Ayan.  I learned to build Lego’s on my own by following the instruction booklet; that led me to building scaled model cars which was an idea of my cousin.

As a child, I was an extremely shy.  I was always hiding behind my mother’s dress, holding on to my mother’s hand.  I was an introvert.  Didn’t like to talk to people and didn’t like to social.  It took me a lot of work, a lot of hard work to build my confidence and in believing in myself.   I owe it to my friends, my teachers, my mentors and my schools that made me to become the man that I am now.

At the time of my parents divorce,  I was about 7-years old.   I recall his side of the story was my mother took us (me and my siblings) to at vacation in Europe and he was left alone, all by himself.  By the time we came home, he packed his things and left.  At the end of all divorces, it comes down to the custody of the kids and the split of the assets.  My mother won the custody and as for the split of assets, I was too young to comprehend – but what I felt extremely uncomfortable was being at attorney’s office being probed by questions like ‘how much does your mother give you each week? How much do you spend each week?’  Now, looking back, it has to be my father’s side of attorneys.  I suppose his fair share of the assets were more important than how I felt being put under the spotlight.

Years after the divorce, I never blamed my parents.  Life continued.  Everything remained almost the same for me.  Seeing less of my father didn’t matter much for me.  Considering the amount of time he spent with me, whether he was living with me or not is practically the same.  Anyway, I had to spend time with him once a week.  For the times I was with him, he gave me his side of the story, he said how dedicated he was to the family, he said that my mother had an affair and blamed my mother for the divorce.  He also consistently emphasized how much he did for everyone.  Not only for me and my siblings but how much he did for my mother and her family.  He effectively painted a picture of a man full of greatness that stuck with me for a long time but it also made me question: if he was truly the man he says he was – why did no one stood on his side except himself and his stories.  Not to mention, my mother NEVER said a word or anything negative about him, nor anything about the divorce.  While I mentioned ‘dedication’ earlier, who is he to talk about dedication?  It was my father who had a marriage and a family prior to the relationship with my mother.  He is the one who has some sort of relationships after the divorce and now with a life-time companion.  But my mother, who is terribly wrong and caused the divorce is still single to-date and not in my recollection, she had any type of relationship since the divorce.  I guess, after all, it only shows his definition of dedication and how he defines love.

To Be Continued…