You don’t need words to express how you feel when deeds can clearly get the message across
BEING close to 1,000km away from home by air indirectly means that a lot of times, I will miss out on many celebrations in Kuching.
Earlier this month, the Sarawakians were celebrating Gawai, or the harvest festival in the state.
Although the Dragon Boat Festival is also celebrated here, it is not the same without my mother’s home-made dumplings.
The faster pace of life here coupled with the number of activities I can do keep me occupied and provide me with a sense of fulfilment.
However, when I slow down, I will feel homesick once in a while.
Not long ago, I called my father to tell him that I would like to fly back to Kuching for a break.
He told me to save the flight money and “rest” because he thinks that flying can be a bit of a hassle.
It may sound odd as to why a father would tell his daughter not to go home for those reasons.
Flight tickets are very affordable these days especially during the off peak seasons or when the airlines are running a promotion.
And while it does take some effort to get to the airport, check-in and fly back all that usually takes about four hours (assuming there is no delay with the flight).
For a round trip back to my hometown, it possibly costs me a few hundred ringgit and eight hours of travelling but that, according to my father, is an unnecessary waste of time and money.
“Save your hard-earned money for better use,” he would say.
So, usually, I will fly back twice a year; once during Chinese New Year and another trip will be made as and when I want to.
“There really is no need to come back so often. It is such a chore. All you have to do is call us more often,” he argued.
I did not argue that it would not be the same because my father’s logic is slightly different from others’ and he is a bit stubborn.
“A bit” may be an understatement based on my mother’s standard but that is my father.
A man of few words who sometimes says things that people least expect and to a certain degree, mysterious.
Mysterious in a sense that no one in the family knows what he really thinks and how he really feels.
Sometimes I ask, “Why?”, and he will reply, “Don’t ask so much”.
Surprisingly, asking questions is part and parcel of what I do for a living now.
Compared to my mother, who will show her concern and express her thoughts overtly (and most of the times excessively), my father appears somewhat “emotionally detached”.
My mother is the kind who will impose her values and what she thinks is good on her children but my father appears cool and easy-going with many of the decisions his children make in life.
The difference in their approaches became antecedent to their arguments but my mother will usually have the last word.
When my mother gets angry, we usually know the reason but when my father becomes furious, the cause is mostly unknown.
Hence, that makes me wonder more, “Why?”
I cannot even comprehend the kind of food he loves – duck neck and fish head.
Most people prefer the meaty parts.
After countless “whys” on the subject, I finally realised that, all these are just the ways my father expresses his love.
He leaves the best for his family.
He swallows his pain, conceals his emotions because he does not want others to worry.
It is also because “by default” based on most societies’ standards, a man has to put a strong front to provide for and to protect his family.
His love is in his actions but not words, subtle yet powerful, silent yet beautiful. That, is a father’s love for his family.
Ng Bei Shan, a business journalist with The Star, salutes all the fathers for being a warrior of their families. She hopes those who are able to celebrate the coming Father’s Day to treasure the moments with their heroes and gently reminds those who cannot make it back home to give their fathers a warm greeting.The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own. The STAR Home News Opinion Columnist June 11, 2014