After work I stopped by my regular mamak (Indian Muslim) shop to buy their favourite roti pratha and the Tarik. The roti canai man asked me “Where is Tata and Pati?” “Why so long, don’t come?”
“They are at home and I am here to ‘ta pau’ (pack) for them.” Immediately, he prepared my orders. The Teh Tarik man also asked, “Tata and Pati want teh tarik?” and I nodded. He replied “Ok”
It was heartwarming every time I hear strangers, waiters and food vendors call my parents, ‘Tata, Pati’ or Atok, Nenek or even Kong Kong, Poh Poh…..
My family have always been blessed with good friendships and relationships with strangers who would be there in our times of need. These are the blessings of which my father always taught us since young, that “No matter what people do to us, we must always be good. It is because we will receive the blessings when the time comes.” He is right. Even at 85, he still holds fast to his philosophy of always treat people good even when they treat us otherwise.
My father does not hold grudges. He gets angry for a while and then he forgives and forgets, literally.
When we were poor and had very little, he would always say we are grateful we have a roof and some food on the table. A man with simple needs and simple demands in life. I have never heard him complained about not having enough. To him, what he had in front of him was suffice. He was also one of those who did not like quarrels and fights at home. He always would leave the house when my mother wanted to punish me and that was one of the things I used to resent him for. He was not there to support and help me.
He was away for 4 years when I was only 6 years old. I had a hard time coping without a father. However, mum and I would travel by bus or train to visit him in the North part of the country during the holidays. I would write him letters every day since I was 7 years old and that got me interested in letter writing until the keyboard got me lazy to write (ha…ha…ha…).
He would open his door to help anyone in need. I remembered him helping the community he was living with by building a playground for the children there. He was a strong and keen in building things. I think he got some friends to help him. I only remember certain things he did there.
To him, hurting people hurt ourselves and God is always watching what we do. He never asked for recognition nor fame. He would shy away when people complimented him. He would say,”Oh.. we must help one another.”
I give tribute to my father today by writing this to appreciate him and to remember the simple philosophy he has. It is a tough act to follow even for me. Pa,thank you for being my father. I love you and I am glad I can take care of you at this age.
You believe you are strong till today because God is watching over you and every thing is planned by Him. Even at this age, you still hold on to being good and be trusting. “Always do good and have a clean heart.” That is your simple advice.