My Dad comes from Ipoh, Malaysia.
He does not speak English and did not complete high school education and
he has been working as a public bus driver for more than a decade.
Dad is quiet and he hardly smiles.
The only time he talks more is when he is slightly intoxicated.
But whenever he wants to talk to me after he had had a few drinks,
I would feel annoyed because he keeps repeating what he wants to say.
Dad indulges in some vices occasionally;
he has been a smoker since I was young and he enjoys having beer sessions with his colleagues
almost every day after work.
His favourite hangout was at a coffee shop near home.
He would wave for me to come by his table whenever he catches me having lunch there
in my secondary school uniform back then.
“This is my daughter. She is very good at her studies!” he would tell his co-workers in Mandarin.
Gradually, I found myself avoiding that coffee shop whenever I know my Dad is there
because it makes me feel uncomfortable every time he did that.
Dad works hard for the family.
He does not travel. He has no hobbies or much of a social life.
He does not buy new clothes for himself, even during Chinese New Year.
Whenever he hears that my brother and I will be going home for dinner,
he would lug bags of groceries from the mall and walk all the way home with all that extra load
just so that he could make us a nice home-cooked meal.
I have never once heard Dad complain about how monotonous and boring his life is.
Now that I am almost 30 years old, I wish I could be that girl whom he would praise
in front of his friends at the coffee shop again.
I am hardly home. And when I do catch Dad at home in the afternoon,
he would be seated in the kitchen in his usual seat at the dining table, reading the papers,
or watching some old-school Mandarin kungfu or war movies on my Mom’s laptop.
Dad is still the same old Dad over the years, nothing is new,
except for the wrinkles on his forehead, and the laugh lines that are perpetually there,
even when he is not smiling.
I feel guilty because I think I haven’t done enough for Dad.
Perhaps he feels that a Dad is supposed to always look stern, not get too friendly, almost aloof.
I wish I knew more about his thoughts, how he feels, and his opinions about my choices in life.
It must be very hard to keep all of his feelings bottled up for so many years.
Dad and I share the same birthday. The 6th of August.
I must have been one of the most unforgettable birthday gift he has ever received.
I wish I would always be his biggest pride and joy.
For the last few decades, he has given everything he has to the family.
My biggest wish now is to reciprocate with all that I have.
Even though he is not as eloquent or expressive as other Dads, his love for our family,
the sacrifices he had made, the many opportunities he chose to give up to stay with the family,
is beyond selfless and unconditional.
He does not have to tell me verbally that he is happy that I am doing ok in life;
neither does he have to tell me that he loved me as his daughter.
All it takes to keep me going is just a nod and a smile from him.
This coming Father’s Day, give your Dad a reason to smile for.
If you’re out of ideas for gifts, Oral-B Vitality Precision Clean Power Toothbrush might
make a great gift for your Dad.
I am a big fan of electric toothbrushes because they clean 5 times better than manual toothbrushes.
To do their part to make your Dad smile, there are promotions happening
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Oral-B is giving away a hefty 30% discount on their Oral-B Vitality Precision Clean Power Toothbrush at Redmart.
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