Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Papa's Tea Pot and Clarinet

Papa's favourite tea pot and clarinet

It has been some 32 years since my most beloved papa passed away. Not a single day has passed without my thinking of him. Papa is my inspiration. Sometimes when I am somewhat angry or sad, I would think of what papa would have done, given a similar situation. He was a resilient man who would always pick himself up whenever he fell. Papa was always cheerful because of his positiveness. Not one to hoard, he was always so generous, even giving away the little that he had. For he always believed that when his pockets are empty, the One up there would refill the empty pockets! Papa was always a very forgiving man and this is probably why there was always so much love and serenity in him.

When papa passed away, I kept his favourite little teapot and clarinet. Papa loved to drink Chinese tea with his friends. He enjoyed simple things and his friends all loved him for his ability to narrate stories and holding everyone spellbound and roaring with laughter. I guess this is one area where all my siblings and I take after papa. We are natural story tellers and jokers. Being the quietest in the family, I only started to really shine when I became a toastmaster. I suppose this is proven in my winning some trophies in the humorous speech contests.! Second sister Ean Ean is the funniest of us all. As the extrovert, she would come up with all types of mimicries ......a crying shame that she never ended up as a comedienne.!

As a life long learner, I must give credit to papa. A Chinese school teacher, papa had never studied English, yet I remember how he attempted to make short speeches in English at his workplace. One morning, while we were having our morning walk, he suddenly said to me, "Choo, listen to papa's speech which I'm giving tonight. Correct papa, ok. Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Green Parrot Night Club. Tonight, we have the famous Ms. Yao Su Rong on the stage. She will be singing her well-known song, "Jin tien pu huei jia!" (Today, Not Going Back). I was in Secondary One, and felt so honored to be called upon to help papa in his English.

Apart from being a school teacher, papa also worked as a band master in the evenings. He worked very hard, raising 5 children. Probably this is where papa influenced me the most. I seem to be always holding two jobs at the same time. Even when I was a teacher, I was also giving part time tuition, and now that I am a property agent, I am also lecturing part time. Like papa, I am often filled with wonder and curiosity.

I still remember many of the things that papa told us. One of them is sadly, ever so true. He said, "A father can raise ten children; but ten children could not look after one father." I guess Jack Neo had also tried to portray this truth in his movie, "Money, no enough". Of course, we could always say that life is now different and everyone has to work hard to make a living, etc. However, if one wants to do something badly enough, it can be done. I remember how I was prepared to just work as a legal secretary in Penang so that I could stay with my parents and look after them, as all my siblings were living in other countries. It was only after my parents had passed away, that I decided to further my studies in Canada.

If papa had lived to a ripe old age, I would have proven him wrong......yes, his youngest daughter would have been able to look after him.

Gan Chau

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