A secret excerpt from a conversation between Father Lim and his wife (aka my mother); Father Lim says “She’s nearly 21, but I still treat her like she’s 16 years old” regarding me, his daughter. In other news, here he is with his other fellow Asian uncles in Springvale snagging a $10 per 3kg of mandarin oranges deal. We, in fact, did not finish the 3kg of mandarin oranges.
Father Lim loves to fish. Today, he spent a good chunk of the day getting his rods ready for his next fishing adventure. But to me, this sound was annoying. And it was playing throughout the house all day.
Today was one of those days I’d remember forever. We built an outdoor chair today. I am so bloody exhausted (side note: Father Lim is still going while I’m lying in the comfort of my soft bed), but what a day it was.
He’d be the best grandpa. He’d dote and spoil his grandchildren. He wasn’t very good with being strict, in my opinion anyway. He was so generous in spoiling my brother and I, and was just so giving. He didn’t have the heart to raise his voice or hand at us, and whenever (on the rare occasion) he did, he’d immediately scar his heart with a lifelong regret. My brother and I turned out okay though. At least that’s what I hope; I just hope he’s proud of me. Of us. Of him as a father. I just want him to be happy.
Now that I’m older, I seem to be more sensitive and understanding of how Father Lim loves - I’m still learning, ever learning. Growing up and still today, he pokes and prods us emotionally (and physically) until we have lost all patience and react in anger. He wants to squeeze a response from us. I see that he cannot find any outward action that shows the extent of the love he has for us. This was a difficult one to write. Perhaps I feel that there are no words that can fulfill the depth (or complexity) of Father Lim’s love for his family.
Father Lim has been away. There is a very noticeable absence I feel in our family home. Perhaps it’s his loud footsteps, or perhaps the clinking and clanking of new woks in the kitchen, perhaps it’s the sound of him fixing up the roof, or perhaps the sound of the brushes sweeping paint unto our deck (yes, he paints the deck often). Perhaps it’s him calling out my name every 15 minutes to ask me what I’m doing, or perhaps it’s him annoying our little husky so much that they end up arguing with each other — that is Father Lim verbally trying to reason with a howling husky. I think he is missed.
All I see are the eyes he gave me.
Strange. He was sandpapering the calluses of his feet. He has worked hard everyday of his life, as you can see by the calluses on his feet. Thanks for working hard.
6PM. His other favourite place apart from being home with my mother. Bunnings Warehouse. House indeed. On average, Father Lim visits Bunnings once a week. Today, we had a rushed car ride that made me feel extremely carsick, only to realise that this Bunnings branch closes 3 hours after we arrived. He seemed to think it was worth it. We bought two cans of spray paint.
With his sewing machine that he bought at a 50% discount with his Spotlight membership card, my domesticated father’s new obsession has been to alter jeans.
I genuinely and frequently get frustrated with this posture. Father Lim wants me around the house but doesn’t spend time with me. Am I expected to stay around him like a little girl for the rest of my life? I look at him, sit with him — my eyes yearning and asking for a meaningful time with my father. But here he is. My heart breaks for lost time and wasted time.
This evening, he came home with a large and heavy box full of mandarin oranges exclaiming, “Only $10!”. I’ve had 4 mandarin oranges so far. It’s been 7 hours since.
Father Lim definitely misses our Malaysian-Indian “mamak stalls”. You know, those restaurants that are open late into night and very early into the morning. Those restaurants that employ illegal migrants as workers to wait and serve our tables. Those restaurants that blast their television screens bright and loud with the soccer match. Those restaurants that set up tables and chairs on the actual road. Those restaurants that probably have the sweat of the chefs in the food we get served. Oh, how we miss it though. How he misses it. There is nothing like a late night supper feed.
Father Lim loves his white pair of jeans. He loves to look good. He takes inspiration from “men in leather jackets” and/or “how to wear white jeans men” on the Google Images search bar. I used to think these jeans were just too bold, and too showy. I used to beg him to dress his age, and mellow his outfits down. But now, I’ve decided to embrace who he is to the world. Just like he embraces himself to the world — in his white jeans.
Almost every night, I come to my parents’ room late at night to say goodnight to my Father. We’re night owls. Almost every night, he reciprocates my goodnight with a task for me to do. Tonight, it was for me to clear his dirty coffee cup, and to bring him a cup of water. Two tasks for Father Lim.
It’s 2AM, and Father Lim is drinking a hot cup of coffee.
Father Lim is almost turning 60. Despite his age, he still shocks me with the amount of energy, passion, and spirit he has. Here we see Father Lim cycling together with his dog and not even breaking a sweat.
This morning, Mother’s at work, Brother is with his friend, and it’s just Father Lim and myself at home. He came in to my room and sat in front of me. I’m his last resort for company.