When I was growing up, dad was a busy man. Busy with work, busy with sports, busy with church work. Believe it or not, he has medals in almost every game...badminton, squash, basketball, table tennis, carom, golf, chess ...... a long list isn't it?
Yet, he made time for us, time to talk to us. He also made the most beautiful kites, took us to fields where he'd make his huge kite go up, dive towards the ground and lift off again. I remember chasing and chasing the kite and yet, never catching it. :)
But what I really learnt from my dad, was his love for "outsiders", orphans and foreigners without home. As a child, our home was often filled with people every weekend. Mum would cook up her best Nyonya dishes, and the house would be filled with people from all sorts of countries, Korea, Japan, Phillippines, East Malaysia, Nigeria etc. They loved coming because of my parent's company. There was much laughter. Somehow, they would end up calling my parents Dad and Mum. Such was my parent's impact on these lives. They cared for people who were newcomers to this land.
Well, upon retirement, my dad took his passion a step further. He began going into interior villages where he saw the living conditions of the OA people. Because he has the wonderful gift of "connecting" very soon the village people recognized him and looked forward to his visits. His heart of compassion drives him to bring in basic necessities for them, and talk with them.
Apart from this, he and my mum dedicate one day a week in going to the refugee school. If you go and see for yourself, you'd know how much the children there love them. And lately now, he's also dedicated his weekends to going to P.Ketam where he provides free English lessons to the children there. I met some of his students recently and it's amazing to note how love has touched them. Their parents can testify that their children who were once bordering on becoming gangsters and school dropouts, have turned around.
How did it happen? Instead of looking at them as gangsters, my dad saw them as potential leaders. And because he saw them that way, that's what they've turned around to become, true leaders in training. :) My mum (an ex teacher) is also now a regular teacher there, and it's wonderful that they share the same passion. :)
So...I titled this post "Things I learnt from my dad." I'm sure you can tell now what I've learned. While growing up, it wasn't A's or being first in class that mattered the most. What mattered most was a heart that cared for others, for the less fortunate, for the orphan, for the foreigner. And because I too now am a parent, I do the same. I bring my children to interior villages, I take them to refugee centers, orphanages and old folks home. For I'd like to pass on what I've learnt, to my children, in hope that they too, like their grandparents will put above all else, a love for God, and a love for those in need.
|Some time ago, my dad's friend gave me a photo which he captured. It was a photo of my dad walking in the rain, in a remote village deep in the jungle. I decided to make a painting of it.|