[Taken outside a pitstop along the mountain ranges of Austria. One of our favourite places in the world. It showed.]
Preface: The father I knew for a good number of years was a self-made man, who believed nothing in life comes easy and you will achieve what you wanted if you try hard enough and put your best effort into it. He planned my life for the most part, applying for schools in Singapore and then in Australia. He even told me once that he planned the age gap between my sister and I, so that we would enter the next stage of our education in phases. (Yeah, I know) My only memory of him (also my fondest) during my childhood was him sitting beside my bed, putting me to sleep and telling me, “You will be great one day. Must work hard ok?”
There were a series of conversations that took place lately that gave me a sense that he no longer see things that way he used to. These are changes that not only surprised me but has brought warmth to my heart.
Overhearing a conversation behind the driver’s seat… [it had been customary for my parents to address each other by what we children would call em, hence “daddy” and “mummy”, as opposed to darling or honey. I know, it’s strange.]
Mum: Maybe if he had planned properly for her, she might have gone a different path. [referring to a family friend and his daughter]
Dad: Aiyah mummy, nothing in this life can be planned one. Life is always changing. You never know what’s going to happen.
Me: [thinking] Here’s your living example.
[Conversation while watching HBO together.]
Dad: Uncle Gordon is now bed-ridden.
Me: What is he bed-ridden for?
Dad: Some spinal problem. He had a slipped disc, remember? Sigh… What’s the point of having all that money and not being able to enjoy it? [Uncle Gordon inherited a shitload from his parents in terms of land property]
[Conversation in the car after a customary father-son lunch when I’m home.]
Me: Dad. Mother has got to throw some of her stuff away. It’s slowly eating into my room and crowding my closet space.
Dad: Ya. You know her la. Always buying new clothes and don’t want to get rid of the old ones.
Me: She always think she would wear em one day. Sentimental value it seems.
Dad: Ya know that the three bags [LVs and Gucci] bags she bought from Europe? She haven’t even used ’em all except one, ya know? Now she’s thinking of selling them.
Me: Ask her to pass one to me so I can impress the girl I’m courting in the future.
Dad: She don’t realise, your mummy is just not that kind of person. She doesn’t understand that it’s not about what you buy that defines you. It is who you are.
Me: [thinking] Woah.
Let me just say that these words coming out of my old man’s mouth are not the ones that I normally hear since my coming into this world. Therefore I was taken by surprise. But a nice surprise it is.