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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Story of My Father

Perhaps father was just an ordinary man in the eyes of many people, but he was an extra ordinary man to me. His story perhaps was nothing too special too, but it amazed me deeply...for he was one of the resilience human being.
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Father had never seen his own mother for his whole life before. Grandmother had died when they ran away from the capture of Japanese soldiers during the invasion period back in 1942. My father was just a few-day old infant at that time.
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Since then, the heavy burden of life had fallen to the shoulder of my grandfather. Having 5 young children to feed all by himself, he found life too hard to cope with. Thus, he thought of giving my father away to someone else. Luckily, father's eldest brother held him in arms firmly and promised he would take care of my father no matter what happen. So, grandfather just let them be. And I suppose he didn't have much time to attend to my father, nor any of his other sons or daughter for their time of growing up.
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According to my father, he was a wild boy in his childhood time....He ran around in a naked body like no body's business; he made troubles all the time; he didn't know what's the right thing and wrong thing to do...Logically, he was labeled as a hopeless kid. No body expected father would make it to anywhere when he grew up later.
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But some kids can never be underestimated, my father was one of them. For unknown reasons, when father reached 13-14 years old, he suddenly reckoned that he should strive up instead of sinking. And he realized the best way to get rid of ignorance is by acquiring knowledge from books.
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Since then, he studied very hard. Like he said, he learned basic Mandarin words, ABC letters, simple mathematic all by that time. Imagine how weird a teenager boy started to pick up the knowledge that a small boy had supposed to master at 7-8 years old. Late? Well, but never too late.
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Due to his strong determination, he caught up the syllabus which match with his age in just a few years time. In fact, he even out performed many of his peers as time pass. Finally, he had graduated as a F5 completer that is equivalent to a university graduate in our present time. He could have pursued his tertiary study in Taiwan, but he just had to give up the chance because financially, the family couldn't afford it. This has become the biggest regret in his life.
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So, father started work as a temporary teacher in a school in Mambang Diawan for a few years time. Then a friend had recommended him to work in a local bank in Kampar (working in a bank is a very prestigious job at that time). At first, he didn't get a good position straight away in the bank because there was no vacancy. So, he got to work as an office boy while waiting for the chance to come. Imagine, a university graduate had to work as an office boy...Such a waste ! But father was patience enough, finally he got the promotion some time later. *

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Then he married my mom, and the four of us was born one after the other. Being the sole bread winner for the whole family, he need to work very hard to support us. Besides the full time job in bank, he got to work as a part time tuition teacher at night time. I remember our house was full of primary students after dinner time everyday, and father insisted his children should follow the rest of the students to catch up school lessons at early age. To be honest, primary 1-4 lessons was like a piece of cake to me. I always got flying marks in all of the exam. All this was really my father's merit.
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I also remember when I was small, father had repeatedly input some values in our young mind, like : "the best way to get rid of poverty and be good in whatever you do when you grow up later is through acquiring knowledge. There is no short cut for it". Due to this believe, father was very attentive to our studies, he made sure we were on the right track all the time. He used to say the whole family chain had never came out with a university graduate, so he hope at least one of his children could break this fate (he made it, in fact, he had cultivated 3 university & 1 colleage graduates).

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As we grew up, the family's expenditure had become increasingly big too. Looking at our good academic performances, father had a vision that there could be more than one of his children would make it to university. Father didn't want to repeat the history, he didn't want to sacrifice any of his children's opportunity to further study to a tertiary level simply because of financial problem. I think that was one of the major reasons that had motivated him to work harder. For this, father had decided to venture into the insurance industry, which was still in its developing stage back in the years of 80s. *

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Father had achieved pretty good result after some time dipping in the line. His supervisor had suggested him to give up the steady job in bank, and to work as a full timer agent. However, my mother had strongly objected the idea, said the family need a steady income. So, father gave up his ambitious mind, and continue to work full time in the bank, and part time in selling the policy.

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Even so, father was able to earn extra to buy his first car. Boy, I still remember vividly our first car. We were so happy to see it when father drove it home. And the memory of that happiness had last forever. Since then, father like to take us here and there for outing. I remember I was about 12-13 at that time.

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As he wanted to provide more good things for his family, he became increasingly busy juggling in his full time job at day time and part time job at night time. We hardly saw him since then. But whenever he was free, he would take us out for dining. Father loves eating, and his part time job had pushed him to the extreme end of unhealthy eating. And that was the time he was diagnosed as having diabetic disease. I think he was at his early 40s in that time.

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Father took this chronic disease very easy for too many years. He refused to control his diet as per every doctor's suggested. I remember he used to say a life that can't enjoy the good foods is no fun. And it's really hard for any of us to make him changed his eating habit. Amazingly, he lived quite a healthy and normal life for at least 20 years plus, although carrying this disease with him. Only for the last several years of his life time, this disease had slowly get over him...

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Father and I saw each other less frequently as I left home to study in Penang USM at the age of 2o. And we saw each other even less after I left Malaysia and settled down in HK not too long after graduation. But wherever I go, I always remember the things he used to teach me all these years, though I was no longer by his side.

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If one to ask me how to define successful. I would say one won't necessary need to be a millionaire or a manager before he can be called a successful person. Instead, it's his positive influences to the people that matter to him that counts.

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To me, my father was truly a successful man. He had successfully turned his seemingly 'hopeless' life into a 'useful and constructive' life. He had successfully made a generation leap from illiteracy to highly educated, started from himself and carry on to his off springs. And he had successfully earned enough to meet our basic needs, especially in terms of education wise.

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Despite life was not easy at his time, father had made so many impossibles possible...He had never made his family suffered once from starvation; he had never used physical punishment in shaping and disciplining his children; and he had never betrayed his family. Father had really demonstrated that he had done the best he could to improve the quality of life for the whole family.

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If all of the above still not qualify him to be called successful, then what else? I've tried to imagine myself being live in his condition back in his time, and honestly, I am not so positively sure that I could achieve what he had achieved with that much.

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Now that father had gone, I don't have anything to return him. Perhpas all I can do for him is to document his story, so that my children, and their children and their chidlren, and so on, will get to know there is one great ancestor who had contributed so much in his life time that changed the fate of the whole family chain. For this, I am very proud to be his daughter. Without him, I won't be who I am right now.

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Dad, I hope you are good in heaven now. I will love you and miss you forever.

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5 comments:

CY said...

Deepest condolence, MY. Just read about your post and scrolling it down realize that your Dad has passed away. Your story and previous post really touch my heart and it made me realize that I should spend time more often with our parents since they are still around. Take care and be strong.

Gargles said...

This is such a sweet and nicely written piece of eulogy for your beloved father. I'm very impressed of his "getting up" too.. you and your siblings are all he's proud to see at the end of his journey. And that's more than enough to return to him. Life is such, paybacks are done forward, like how you live and bring up your sons is the best reward your parents could ever have.

Gargles said...

And I can feel you wrote it from your heart..

jessylee said...

Thx CY.
It's good if you can spend more time with your parents, it's not just good for them, but for yourself too.

jessylee said...

Thx for your compliments, Gargles.

If my English level is as good as yours, I should have write better. Actually, I felt stuck many times...But I really wanted to complete it for my father, as a final tribute to him.

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