This Father’s Day, I wish my father…

  1. …hadn’t:
    • been trapped in his patriarchal past and so lorded it over us.
    • equated a person’s worth ONLY with money and power.
    • given endless lectures because he knew not how else to connect with his family.
    • waxed lyrical about his hometown incessantly, like it was heaven on earth
    • praised his own goodness non-stop, saying he’s the best father just because he’s not a criminal, murderer, drunkard, gambler, adulterer, smoker or druggie.
    • demonstrated, through frequent shouts and caning, that anger and violence will solve problems.
    • kept a record of wrongs.
    • told me that studying hard and having a stable, good job were ALL that mattered in life.
    • hoarded his savings like Ebenezer Scrooge until death, then bequeathing every available penny to his hometown, not his home.
    • scolded and treated my mom like a servant, just because their marriage (his second) was arranged.
    • been a turncoat at the slightest whiff of trouble, choosing instead to play the victim’s card, save his own skin and blame others.
    • assumed that filial piety is a given, just because.
    • surrendered home ownership because he thinks his children won’t abandon him (lucky for him a couple of us didn’t).
    • left me with impulsive, explosive fits of anger and rage at the slightest of triggers, even now.
    • left me with no positive memories of him when I was a kid, other than some mornings when he would comb my hair with Brylcreem before I caught the bus to school

Instead, I wish he had….

2. …taught me to:

    • survive in a male-dominated world.
    • play well with others.
    • be charitable and kind.
    • be strong and steadfast.
    • defend the defenceless.
    • give unreservedly.
    • love and be loved.

3. …spent the time to:

      • study with me.
      • hear me out.
      • admit he was wrong and say sorry.
      • play with me when I was little.
      • teach me how to clamour less for worldly affirmation.
      • help me improve my written Chinese and penmanship.
      • find out my likes and dislikes.
      • affirm me as a unique individual of inherent worth.
      • guide us siblings to be close and not estranged.
      • learn to be a father in every biblical sense of the word (or even just a fraction).
      • love me.

But he’s been dead six years now so…

Actually, he’s been pretty much ‘dead’ all my growing up years when I most needed a dad.

Too late for recompense.

But don’t worry Father. Your ‘negative’ modelling has taught me what NOT to do with my boys.

So I shall still say a small Happy Father’s Day to you wherever you are.

Rest assured that everything you’ve ‘taught’ me won’t go to waste.

And that every now and then when I remember to, I still pray for your soul to be saved.

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