Dad : My past and my future
Just like most of other teenagers, I used to hate my parents. Not because it was cool to be rebellious, but because of the lack of direct love I received from them. I said direct because they never seemed to care much about me. They were very carefree parents. Usually parents will encourage their children to play piano, swim, sport, and stuff right? But my parents never asked or guided me to anything, they would have just left me with my own devices.
The most noticeable examples are about my studies. I've been in love with drawing for as long as I could remember. So, before I went to university, I applied for graphic design in UPH here, because my graphic designer cousin said it's pretty good there. I even applied for the scholarship. We were in the car, on the way to pay for the admission fee (with cash). But then I said to my dad, "how about going to China?" (China because there was some exhibition about universities there at that time). My dad then just hit the brake, literally turned the car around after a simple "okay". We went back home. It was written that if I applied for scholarship in UPH, I'm forbidden to apply to other universities. For the next few days, I got several calls from them. I actually felt guilty. Anyways, I found a design institute in China that didn't need high school certificates. How awesome was that. It was just few months before the National Exam (UAN), and I flew to Shanghai, without completing my high school. My parents didn't say a thing. 2 Years later in Shanghai, when I have almost finished my Diploma, there was some problem in the college, for some reason the bachelor degree system there was abolished, and so all of the students had to move to either Singapore/Sydney if they want to complete their study. Then I called my dad, I said "Dad, there are some changes in the college system. So I have to transfer to Sydney. What do you think?" and he said okay. A while later, I found out that the one in Sydney wouldn't take me because of the absence of my high school certificate. I had to go to Singapore. So i called my dad again about it (of course I didn't say it was about the certificate). I just said I changed my mind. Got another okay and so, I transferred to Singapore. Even one year ago, when I was in London, I quit while in the middle of taking my master degree. I was taking business and entrepreneurship course, thinking because I wanted to set up my own company. So you know, I thought I better learn some basics about running a business. But then I realised that master degree wasn't for me. Because it is about going realllyy deep in one very specific aspect of the business, while what I need is the general, whole big idea of business. There were some other complications too, like the university's branch in London closing down, and the entrepreneurship course was stopped. Also I met Francisca, we talked about our passions about having our own brands, we decided to work together. So in the end I called my dad again, I said that I think I'm just gonna go back without continuing, to just start my business right away. And as always, he said "Okay, it's your own choice".
It might look cool to you that they would just say okay to whatever I do. But you know it is actually quite frustrating to have all the burden and responsibility put on your shoulder when you are making huge life turning decisions by yourself. And it was much worse when you're still young, when you just started becoming a teenager. It's a huge new dangerous world out there, you know nothing, you don't know where to go, you don't know what is right, or what is wrong. It's like drawing on a blank page but you don't know where to start, how to make it look better, heck, you don't even know what to draw. You know genuinely nothing that you don't even know how not to make a mistake. I was forced to build my own moral compass by myself since I was young, testing all things through trials and errors.
But slowly things (mostly me) changed. I was starting to able to think more maturely from different perspectives. There was once when I was in Shanghai, my lecturer asked about what the students want to be when they're older. When it's my turn, I said I wanted to be a good father, unlike my dad. And my lecturer said in all seriousness, "no, no way. You wouldn't be here if he didn't love you". Which is true. It took a long time to understand, but I know now that that's just how they show their love to me, by giving me freedom, instead of trying to clip my wings. Our parents might not say or show directly how much they love us, but they do. Otherwise how can you even be what you are now, or have what you have now? Our parents weren't born with knowledge to raise kids. They handle problems without preparation and they still make mistake here and there. They have lived longer than us, but they still grow with us.
It is contradicting to what I said in the beginning, but now, I love and respect my parents so much, and dare to say that they are two of the best parents in the world, although probably everybody says that about their parents. I haven't told the full story, but when I was so afraid about whether to quit or continue my master degree. When i called him, I was really scared that I would shame him if I quit, but he said, "It's your own choice, it's your life, do what you feel is right for you. Money is just an object. There is a lot of things ahead of you that you need to explore. Make mistakes, but learn and grow from them. I'll support you on your decisions." No just kidding, he never said that. He only said "It's your own choice. I also don't know. It's all up to you." Haha! but all of a sudden, my chest felt light and relieved. It feels so good to be trusted. It's funny but the things I used to hate from my family became the things I love the most from them. I can't ever express how much I love them, they have done so much for me. But I love them so much that it scares me now if I can't make them proud. Going back and started this brand was a huge decision, it was tough and I can't do it all by myself or just the two of us. I'm shameful to say this but I need you all to walk along with us in order for this to work. But still no matter what, I will make this work out well and show them that they right by believing in me.
I even inherit a lot from them. Well physically I'm 95% my mom, but my personality is from my dad. We're so much alike. He's forgetful, just like me. Very short tempered, just like me. It was so easy for us to argue. But our anger subsides quite quickly that after 5 minutes we can talk again like nothing happened. But he is a very kind person, he loves to help people and show kindness to strangers, when he saw someone down on the street that needing help, he wouldn't hesitate to help, even simple stuff like carrying baggage for an old lady. I love to help people too, and have met various people in my journey because of that. From taking pictures of a sweet Indian couple in front of Sydney's opera house with my camera, carrying plastic bags for a lady in a very windy day in London, to doing a branding for a French stranger who's publishing his novel book (I might share all those stories some other time). Which is why I wrote 'future' in the title because i can kind of see what kind of father I'm going to become.
So it's your turn now. What do you love from your dad?
Thanks for reading and happy father's day!
There is a little heart warming video from Nighahiga you can click here: dear mom
It's nigahiga so you probably have watched it, and it's about mother's day not father's day. But hey it's never too late to spread a good message right