I never really write or talk much about my father. Although he is very close to my heart, I still feel our relationship is separated by a wall, albeit a thin one. He used to be very fierce. My sisters and I were scared of him. I remember he released his doberman and locked the main gate when I came home at 11.10 pm, just 10 minutes late from the 11 pm curfew. I also remember hiding in the maid's room eating bakso with my sister because he despised junk food. He would lecture us for hours about the dangerous preservatives (formalin : used to preserve dead bodies) used by several suppliers in making beef balls and noodles.
Other than for being fierce and discipline, I remember my father as a very adventurous young man whose hobbies include archery, hunting, deep sea fishing, diving, cooking, reading, playing ping pong, hashing and listening to music. When I was in high school, I learned how to shoot using rifles from him. He taught me how to look into the small lens and aim for the target. We used to practice shooting coca cola cans behind our house. As a young girl, I didn't know or care if it was legal for me to use rifle. I enjoyed every minute I spent with him shooting those coca cola cans.
My father is an animal lover. We used to have a few bats, snakes, chickens, dogs, birds, monitor lizard, tortoises, fish and wild cats as pets. Before he went to work, he would spent his mornings greeting, petting and feeding his pets. He loved watching animal program on TV and recorded them using VCR. My siblings and I were so bored whenever we had to watch TV together with him as he could watch the same program over and over again.
My girlfriends knew him as a very funny guy. He used to crack jokes or pranks when my girlfriends were in our house. But most of my boy friends think that he was the fiercest father on earth. He was very protective of his daughters. Whenever our friends called us on the phone, he would sit beside us and listen to all of our conversations. If we talked more than 10 minutes he would pretend that he needed to use the phone for something important.
Although he was very protective, he was not as conservative as most of my friends' parents. My father is the person who first introduced me to Jack Daniel, Hennessy X.O and Galliano. He poured the JD into a shot glass and asked me to smell and taste it. I remember how awful it smelt and how horrible it tasted. He then told me everything I needed to know about alcohol. He told me that alcohol could make me drunk and behave irrationally. He also told me that if a guy gave me a drink, I should smell it first before drinking it. I should decline the drink if it smells like that.
A few days later, together with my mother and his friends, he took me and my sister to a discotheque. He showed me how a disco looked like and how people behaved there. I still remember the name of the discotheque, Studio East. We listened to music and danced together. In between our dance, he showed me how men lured women by giving them alcoholic drinks. He also showed me that men could spike a drink to make women drunk or faint. He then told me that whenever I wanted to go to a disco, he would give me money to buy my own drink. He told me to never allow anybody to buy me drinks at a disco and to never leave my drinks unattended. I remember his words until now. It is one of his best advice.
Now my father is not as robust and lively as he used to be. While he still enjoys animal channel, he doesn't own pet anymore. He prefers to stay home and meditate compared to going to thick jungle of Batu Gajah to hunt for wild boars. He is more interested in reading and watching Chinese history than spending hours on the boat to catch some tunas or barracudas. He transforms into a totally different person.
It took awhile for my siblings and I to get used to this but we welcome the changes with open arms. We definitely welcome his less fierce attitude. He doesn't sit next to us when we are on the phone anymore (he increased the TV volume instead).
When I remember the 40+ years I know him, I can't help but admire him. He really knows how to enjoy life to the fullest. He lives a very balance life, sharing time between work, family, friends and his personal enjoyment. He works hard and plays hard too. He always has time for everything. I wish I have enough time for everything too...
I never ask him how he manages his time but after years of observation, I know why he always has time to do what he wants to do. He is very discipline and he knows how to say NO. When he works, nobody can disturb him. My mother never calls him unless there is an emergency. When it's time for him to eat, he would say no to anything else. He would eat without being disturbed. When we were on vacation, he totally shut down from the rest of the world. He didn't call the shops to ask about his business, he didn't call our house to ask if everything was OK. His mind was in a total vacation mood. When he takes afternoon nap or meditates, nobody can disturb him unless someone is dying. When he said that we would leave the house at 7 pm, we should be ready at 6.50 pm. If we were late, he would leave without us.
My experiences with my father have prepared me to live a peaceful life with my husband, B. He is very similar to my father in terms of discipline and knowing how to say no. B can't tolerate being late. He is also very strict on the house rules. My daughters sometimes complain about this. I kept telling them that it is for their own good.
Read what they wrote on the Father's Day card :
Both my father and B are the most important men in my life. Both taught me so many things about life. Both have helped me live a richer life, full of interesting experiences. Both have made me eat healthier food and avoid junk food (although I still sneak out and eat some bakso and gorengan when they are not around). Both cringed when I kill a fly or mosquito. They prefer to "shoo away" the insects instead of killing them.
Both also have made me run in high heels to avoid being late.
Let's celebrate all the great men in our lives. Happy Father's Day..!!