Go Daddy, Get Your Piece of the Internet

"I love you, daddy," my daughter whispers as I tuck her into bed. My relationship with my children is very different from the one I share with my own father. Maybe it's because we're more westernised; we are more vocal about our feelings, less efficient in many ways as we try to explain the logic of our decisions to three-year-olds. Different from the do-as-I-say parenting technique I lived under.
It would be the furthest thing from the truth if I said that my father doesn't love his children just because he never told us so. Now that the shadow of the firm disciplinarian is a memory distant enough, I have come to know my father as a model of a loving husband I can only hope to emulate.
When I was young my future was framed by my two parents – my mother, who was the paradigm of perfection I could never ever live up to, and my father who positioned himself as the cautionary tale of not doing my homework. He was a man who worked with his hands, often tinkering with broken machines he'd pick up where others discarded them.
He was, and still is, my Crocodile Dundee. He has the most amazing gift of picking fruits. Where people would prod and poke at fruits in the aisle before buying them, here was a man who knew exactly what to do. He had individual techniques depending on what fruit you were looking to buy. I've tried to acquire the secret mantra, but it is impossible to document what dad does so instinctively. During one of our durian-buying trips, I realised that the fruit-sellers kept an entire basket of their best fruit for my father. Somewhere he had earned their trust as a bona-fide fruitman. One of them. He has always been one with the common man.
He always has a knife handy, like Crocodile Dundee as well.
My mother jokes about how she ought to be mortally afraid of her husband being armed to the teeth all the time, but we all know that she is most blessed among women. Fruits, in my mother's world, come ready to eat, without the hindrance of skin or seed. Crabs are without their hard shells and prawns are always peeled. This is how my father loves his wife.
Clearly, I have a lot to live up to as his son. But his example is the greatest gift a father can pass to his children, and I am often so thankful for all that he has done for us through real action, and not words.
I do not know how I shall ever repay this debt, and words are all that I have. In my own hybrid western-asian way I speak these words publicly to the world yet not directly to him in the knowledge that someone will print out this very blog post and have him read it. That he may know that I love him very, very dearly.
And that if I had all the choice in the world, I wouldn't have been able to pick out a better father for myself.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *