[fmco soundbites] On this Father’s Day …

[20 June 2021] Day 20 of the fmco* in Malaysia

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers and father-figures. Today is a special day to remember and honour your contributions as the father.

Today, I remember my own father.

Lessons from my Papa

My father was a wise man. He knew when to speak, what to say, and also how to say it. That is something I have yet to master. He has taught me more than I can learn. Please let me share just a few with you.

  1. Be grateful. Pay back.
    My father was about 14 years old when the Second World War ended in (then) Malaya. His education was disrupted and without free schooling at the time, it was near impossible for him to continue. A family friend helped out and my father managed to complete his high schooling and subsequently got a scholarship to attend college. The scholarship only covered tuition fee. He had to take a load from the family friend for his subsistence. After he graduated, he got a job and slowly paid the loan back.
  2. Be grateful. Pay it forward.
    After he started working, my father was able to help the rest of the family. And as far as I can remember, he was a very charitable man. Although his salary was not high, he would always donate to certain charities. The two he always supported were the Foot and Mouth Artists and the Montford Boys Home. He would also volunteer his services to the Sg Buloh nursery operated by the Leprosy Centre there.
  3. Leaders eat last.
    Without a high salary, life for a man with family was not easy. As I think back to the lives we led as children, my siblings and I had it pretty good. As much as he could, he provided not only food on the table, but also as much exposure as he could give us. It was not always material things. But I also remember all the sacrifices he made, just so that we could have as much as he could provide. I am having so much difficulty with this paragraph because whatever I write cannot demonstrate his sacrifices and love for us.
  4. Integrity before anything else.
    My father would always had a Buku 555 in his pocket. Many people would associate this as the credit account book of old – to record money that people owe you in a small notebook. No, my father was not a loan shark.
    Every morning, he would get into his car, take out the notebook, and record the reading on mileage meter (odometer) before driving off. Every evening, when he comes back, he would turn off the car engine and fish out the notebook and record again. This is so that his travel mileage claim at the end of the month would be accurate. He will not cheat even half a mile. This is what I see every working day when I was a kid.
  5. Everyone is a VIP.
    He was driving me to extra tuition class one day and as usual, I was the chatty one. So, I was talking about VIPs and how they had certain privileges. He listened to me and then asked, “What is a VIP?” And I thought I could teach him something — “VIP stands for Very Important Persons”. He then said, “Everyone is a VIP. There is nothing special about these people. You and I are VIPs.” I was a child then. It took me years to realise this truth.

I miss you so much, Papa. You are my VIP.

God must love me so much to have given me, you.

Happy Father’s Day, Papa.

The author, Gina Phan, is a daughter, sister, wife and mother. She is also a trainer and consultant for Zinfinity Consulting.
Read her other posts.

*fmco = Full Movement Control Order

2 thoughts on “[fmco soundbites] On this Father’s Day …

  1. Dad had always subscribed to charity and to pay it forward in his own way. He was not a businessman, earning tons of money but a salaried employee but yet, he managed to support all 5 children for their tertiary studies overseas no matter how much of a struggle it was for him. He refused to get assistance from places like Lee Foundation, etc as he had always said there were more families that require assistance than us, having gone through hardship himself for his studies.
    He had always stressed on the importance of education.
    To our ever-ready dad ( always being our chauffeur when needed) , ever-fun dad (always taking us out for picnics to Templer’s Park, the zoo, Teluk Batik, Pangkor etc) and ever-patient and wise dad, we miss you. May your soul rest in eternal peace & Happy Father’s Day.

    • We were blessed with our father. Everything he did was well-planned and intentional. He was always insightful. And his love for us cannot never be matched.

      I loved the picnics at Templer’s Park, Teluk Batik, and the waterfall at Genting Sempah. Maybe that’s why I like picnics so much.

      As for being our chauffeur — I remember I used to negotiate with him about pickup times from dance parties. LOL!

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