Sunday, August 10, 2014

My Father

When I was a kid at 5, I never liked my father. He wasn't there when I needed him, to teach me how to bike. Each night I want a kiss from him, before tucking me to bed. Wasn't there to comfort me, as I cry myself in bed. When I grow up as a man, I don't want to be like him.

When I was a teen at 15, I seldom see my father. He was sleeping when I leave at dawn, at work when I sleep at night. Two persons with the same surname, a stranger inside my home. When he took leave from work, stayed at home to rest, he'll often yell and shout at me. His work can't even earn enough, to buy the coolest gadgets, or bring me to exotic countries, that my friends had been since six.

Teenage years was over, and I just turned 25, but when I think about my father, I still hate him very much. When I graduated I didn't invite him - don't want others to know. I'm ashamed that he will arrive, with the smell and sweat of his toil. What's the point anyway? He'll just stand and not mingle. He'll be in a corner and not smile, maybe his time spent is not worthwhile. But I'll start work soon and earn my keep, I'll find a wife and have a kid.

When 20s flew past and I turned 35, I despise father very much. He retired with white hair and tired eyes, does nothing on a couch he sits all day. He keeps calling me to come home for dinner, but I'm too busy with life and has no more vigor. He asks often for more allowance, but I couldn't give him more than just a pittance. "How can I give you more", I said, "when I have my own family to care for?" Despite working all day and night, I just barely earn enough to get by. But that's okay cos my kid's the reason, for me to live and work hard till I too am beaten. I promise to teach him how to bike, and a kiss on the forehead before he sleeps at night. I know I've said that since yesterday, but work as always keeps me at bay. But I promise again my child one day, all the promises I've made I'll pay.

I was 45 when my father left, didn't attend his wake I must confess. Hardly had time to rest after work, but there's still a duty I cannot shirk. So I took leave and stayed at home, to make sure my kid is not alone. I may have raised my voice a little, but my love for him you cannot belittle. I know his friends travel, and their daddies buy them gifts, so that's why I've saved up a little, for a surprise on Christmas eve. I hope this savings won't be used up, to pay for emergencies. But sadly I'm ashamed to say, that it had always been that way.

With tired eyes and greying hair, I struggled at 55. I never thought I'll say this, but I think about father all night. Wasn't invited when my kid graduated, and I don't think I'll find out why. But I'm still proud of him and it's okay, as long as his future's bright. Besides I'm too tired from work to smile, I'll probably stand in a corner. A few more years I'll be retired, and then things will be all right.

I retired from work, aged 65, and there isn't much things to do. So I sit on a couch and wait all day, for the time my kid comes home. There is oft one pair of chopsticks, though I cook his favourite dish all day. I know why my allowance is so little - he's got his family to take care of. Sadly between his kid and his father, I know quietly I'm ranked down further. Father sometimes I'll think of you, calling me home to eat your stew. Father sometimes I miss you so, why didn't I call to say hello?

Now I lie bedridden all day, my age is 75.  What I really want to see, whenever I opened my eyes, my kid my grandson surrounding me, to tell me everything's alright. But the closest thing I'll get, is not the warmth of gentle hands, it's an old faded photo, trapped in a cold and sullen frame. How could things begin so right, in the end become so wrong? I can't stand, can't do anything, except to reflect and think what's wrong.

Kiddo, when I leave this world, don't ever be like me.

Daddy, you'll see when I join you soon, I grew up just like you.


It's quite emotional draining for me to write this. When I first wrote this piece, even voicing it out can bring moisture to my eyes. How much had one generation sacrificed for the next? I think only a parent can say for sure. A tribute to all parents.


Anonymous said...

Happy belated 八八节...

Y said...

Beautifully written, a timely reminder.

My 15HWW said...

Hi LP,

I feel this is an even better story than the previous one. I guess it's true when they say some things you only understand when you grow up. I am touched.

It's been more than 10 years since I wrote prose and maybe it's time to give it a try. Who knows, I might just feel younger and go back to sec sch days. =p

B said...


A.blood is thicker than water but some turns into.hatred and dispute.

Good stories and a kindly reminder to everyone what life and family is all about.

Investopenly said...

Wow! Very touching and inspiring, two lives repeating the history itself, like watching a movie..I think you can consider writing script for movie or play...

Keep it up!

la papillion said...

Hi anonymous,

Yea, to all the fathers and parents, a happy belated father's day!

la papillion said...

Hi Y,

Thank you.. I hope I did justification to that song that I drew the inspiration of this post from.

la papillion said...

Hi 15HWW,

Thank you! This post is emotionally richer than the other short stories that I've wrote. Maybe a bigger part of my essence is in this post too.

Please do try! I would love to read it!

la papillion said...

Hi B,

You're a newly minted'll know it better than I do :)

la papillion said...

Hi Richard,

If you like this, do listen to the song "Cats in the cradle". I drew the inspiration of this post from there.

It's a very moving song, and I hope this short story moved you too :)

Singapore Man of Leisure said...


I think most of us readers can relate to the story of a dad that's never around...

And some of us are also painfully aware that we have not been home for dinner for sometime already...

The next morning comes, all is forgotten. Tonight's refection is nothing but the dream that fades from our memory the moment we wake up...

la papillion said...


Indeed. There's still hope for a better relationship though. I hope this serves as a reminder to live in the present, so as not to regret in the future.

Anonymous said...

Just wanna say I enjoy reading the stories. Can somehow relate and also hoping I will be a better dad when the time comes.

SS said...

A beautiful story and a timely reminder. I hope I will not neglect either my father or my sons, as I pursue for financial security in my life.

Thanks for the article!

Siew Mun said...

My father passed away 4 months ago, at 79. Similarly, my father works the night shift 5pm - 3am. He is a very frugal man, he cycles to work and my mother would deliver food to him every night. He did not spend much time with me when I was young. Earlier, my father had wild days of gambling and debtors, with me as latch door kid while my father and mother toil at work. But he turn over a new leaf.
He is an uneducated man armed with only Primary 4 education. He learned to invest in equities at age of 50 and manage his finances so well that I can go US for my degree and post grad.
After he retired at 55, he continues to support his 7 grandchildren in their school pocket money and tuition, never missing a beat. His children need not contribute allowance back to him. His medical fees for his last years are paid out of his pocket in cash.
He and my mother are very frugal with themselves and yet very generous with all around them. I woke up as I am turning 50 next year will carry on his legacy "I am sitting in the shade today because my father planted a tree long time ago"

Cory said...

My eyes are wet. So well written. You have done your father proud just with your pen.

la papillion said...

Hi s-reit system investor,

Great to have you comment here :) took quite a bit out of me to write this, so as to have the emotional tug that I want.

Thanks for reading :)

la papillion said...

Hi Siew mun,

Thanks for sharing the story of your father. I can see elements of my story in your life story, just like there are elements of my life in it too. I think if you live your life fully, your father would have lived on in you. And that's the point isn't it?

It reminds myself to build a good legacy for future generations. Always leave the world better than when you inherit it.

Thanks again for sharing.

la papillion said...

Hi Cory,

Thanks so much with your encouragement :)

I hope it touches you and make you enjoy the present moment fuller and deeper. Hopefully less regret in the future!

gagmewithaspoon said...

it is a very thought provoking story indeed, one that rings really true. what strikes me most is the fact that the protagonist only thought of his father when he was old, never once when he was doing his fatherly duties by earning money and providing for the kid.

my friend recently asked me if i appreciated my parents more now that i am a mum. i said that i always knew of their sacrifices but i still don't really "feel" it with my heart. and that is pure agape love for my child, because in my head, i know that my child when he grows up, he will never feel the way i feel for him. just like how i would never feel the same way for my parents the same way for my child. it is a cycle of life, that we love our kid whole-heartedly and never ask anything in return, the same way our parents did for us. but what we can't feel with our hearts, we must know it in our heads, and do what is right even if we don't feel the rush of love towards our parents in our hearts.

Anonymous said...

"but what we can't feel with our hearts, we must know it in our heads, and do what is right even if we don't feel the rush of love towards our parents in our hearts."
I agree completely.
I had try to practice the above to the best of my ability for my MUM. Who when she passed away in the hospital still worried or pined for his favourite son.
She disliked me the most because I always got into trouble, fighting with other kids.

I think I am seeing this "happenings", repeating now with my sister-in-law towards her mother. God bless her.

Yes, we must never lost our logic as to what is our "basic responsibility towards another human being even when we can't feel the rush of love.

la papillion said...

Hi gagmewithaspoon,

Thanks for sharing your life with me :)

The protagonist only thinks about his father when life quietens down..when he sits down with nothing pressing at hand, and he lets his mind wander. That's when he starts to see that his life is parallel to that of his father. By the time he realised that, it's already too late. The moment had passed, his father had left and what's remaining is only regret.

A cycle of life indeed.

la papillion said...

Hi temperament,

I'm not the favored child too..and I'm also coming to terms with that. It might take a few more years before I can let it go though...i'm trying :)

The Independent Abecedarian said...

Extremely well written piece. Inspiring and motivating.

My dad has always remind me to not live like he did.
Now that he's in mid-fifties, he knew about Financial Freedom a little too late.
I hope to live his dreams even if he can't manage reach it.
He will be my guidance, my angel and my motivation towards a goal I had once thought beyond touch.

I appreciate your sharing of your artwork.
It left me feeling alittle sorry and moved me working harder.

The Independent Abecedarian

la papillion said...

Hi IA,

Thanks IA! I've been to your blog, nice work there :)

Maybe you're not serious when you said you're going to live your father's dreams in your life. It's never good to live a life built on the dreams of others, unless that's what you want also. Otherwise, the cycle continues and misery lives on. Maybe you're just saying it figuratively...but I couldn't help but catch on to it.

Thanks for your encouragement!