Wednesday, May 09, 2012

My Pa, My Real Life Hero

My Pa and I, Hard Rock Cafe, Ueno, Tokyo, Japan, October 2009

Dear Friends,

Thank you all for your kind words, presence and emotional support to me and my family during a time of bereavement. It is with a heavy heart that I write this, hopeful that it will help me heal and find strength in the good memories I have had with my Pa, and to find comfort that there are family and friends always there to lift us up when our spirits are at their lowest levels. I am thankful and in gratitude.

For those who had attended the first wake service, you would know that I was honestly unprepared for a eulogy, yet I cannot allow the silence to become deafening, and had stood up to say something. I hope my Pa will forgive me for rambling incoherently that night. I had one prepared for the day of the funeral, which is reproduced here, so that I can constantly remind myself of the good times I had with my Pa, since I forsee the future me lapse back to the same old routine (which I hope to change, and I will).

And I also wish for those who read this to know about the horrid disease called Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) which my dad was finally diagnosed with in May 2010 after a series of tests. He had been exhibiting some signs and symptoms for a couple of months, if not years, that were examined in isolation, from shaking hands, to the lack of balance at times, and frequent visits to the toilet, before these individual signs were put together, to lead to the MSA diagnosis by a neurologist. No one nor their families should be put through combating this wicked condition which deteriorates a healthy man to being bedridden, and to find his physical strength slowly sapped away and lose the functionality of his muscles, not being able to swallow or speak, cruelly robbing him of nutrition and communication.

Treasure your loved ones my friends, tell them you love them, give them your hugs, and I cannot stress enough to always spend plenty of quality time together. Never leave behind any regret when you can make the change now.


In the last few months my Pa always have the habit of giving me a salute and say thanks when we catch up every morning before I head off for work, when I would also arm wrestle with him to test his strength, and let him win of course. He would struggle to lift his hand to his brow, which turned out to only be a salute when he didn't have the ability to speak, but I knew what he had meant. His action spoke louder than words, and each time I would return the salute like in military fashion, and I hoped that he knew I was instead thanking him for bringing me and my sister up, and taking care of everyone in the family.

When I was young, I didn't have the luxury of growing up seeing my Papa everyday. He was at work, as a marine radio officer sailing the high seas, and each time he comes back, are times where we would eagerly await his arrival at the airport. It is a perilous job, but one in which he excelled in, and would definitely come back to shore with tales of adventures from onboard the ship. To a kid, he was my hero, and not to forget the countless of goodies brought back from chocolates to toys, and even when away, kept constantly in touch through letters, postcards from far flung reaches of the world, and my favourite amongst the stash, my comic books.

Our education was always top priority in his agenda, making it known that he would see me and vivianne through to our university and funds would always be available. This despite being retrenched from a job that was inevitably made redundant through advances in technology, from which on he had dabbled in real estate, insurance, and even before the Integrated Resorts became a reality, he had work experience working in a jackpot room at the American Club. He didn't fuss about the long hours, or the irregular shifts, but instead fusses about how Vivianne and I would always get home cooked food ready on the table when we got home from school. In case you do not know, my Papa is a really excellent cook, culinary skills that I somehow regret not being able to fully pick up, but his portions, in which my family can attest to, somehow figures on the large sizes, because he loves to eat!

Nuts and chocolates are his favourite, and together we can sometimes polish off packets of nuts and bars of chocolates in no time. He taught me chess, how to tie a tie, ride a bike, and ensured that I built up a vocabulary of the English language through the learning of 10 new words everyday without fail, in which he would conduct a test. To a boy growing up, it was a chore then, where he would also constantly correct our grammar and tenses, but something I am extremely grateful for, when I look back in time and appreciate his hard stance on language skills, and turning us into voracious readers through his many outings to the bookshops and libararies in which he would do research for hours - of what? Into the stock market.

He loves to invest, and investing in the stock market was a large part of his life, with a keen eye to spot good counters and examine them with an analytical mind. Of course he had taught me how trading works like a sifu, but just as he had taught me how to gamble in games like mahjong, they always come with constant warnings for fear that I would get swindled or cheated, that it's in the natural order of things that the big fish always eat up the smaller ones. This advice, I adhere to even up to this present day, because his advices to me throughout my life, have always been nothing but strong pillars of references and knowledge, based out of unconditional love for mine, and my family's well being, with genuine concern that I lead a fruitful, meaningful and happy life.

And I won't forget your instructions to me, that when you would leave one day, I have to step up, take over and look after the family, especially my Ma. This I promise you Pa, that I Will definitely do. I love you Papa, and will sorely miss you everyday, until we meet again.

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