Saturday, June 15, 2013

My Father, in a nutshell.


This is my father. 

(We wore coats, and I didn't realize we wore the same damn cardigan underneath. He insisted we took a photo)

Mohd Nasir Abdullah. Business owner, professional cynic and Asian parent. Like so many of us, I owe my father almost everything. So here’s a little update of his life story, it’s pretty darn colourful, so bear with me.

My dad didn’t have a tertiary education. He did finish primary school in TBS Tampin where his reign of terror has started, ending only in high school, in the Royal Military College. After that, because of stellar results, he had opted for the army (… didn’t have much of a choice). I can honestly say my dad took a little time to grow up. But seriously, he is probably proof that you do not equate school with an education. With a little bit of confidence, a good command of English and a tall stature, you too can fool people into thinking you’re so much smarter than you are. Also, his words, not mine.

He was adopted, which I had always thought was a little odd because he never had this serious nerve wracking crisis that plagued so many people you see on tv. You know on tv, people have ‘unfulfilled lives’ and ‘voids’ when they realized they were adopted and set off on a whimsical journey of self discovery to find themselves. And then the Lifetime logo comes along and you’re reaching for a box of tissue to dry up your sentimental drivel. He seems pretty content with the MIA status of his biological parents. I asked once if he wanted to reconnect with his parents and he replied 

‘And have a bunch of strangers asking for money? No’. 

Did I mention my dad is Asian?

His adopted father (who married his adopted mother when he was 9-10 after his OTHER adopted father died. Migraine inducing stuff) was Sri Lankan. I know this sounds a little racist but that does explain his very ‘Indian’ demeanor. And the fact that he doesn’t mind me forging friendships with Indian boys (Yes, I mean you Dharma!). There was this one time when we went to this satay restaurant my dad has been frequenting since he was a kid and the old lady at the counter saw him, lit up and said

“Oh you kah anak Cina dengan bapak keling tu?” 
(Oh, you’re the Chinese kid with the Indian father?)

Gotta love Malaysian sensitivity, I tell ya. No one can ever accuse us of being too PC.

My father was a misbehaved child. Oh no, he won't take offence at the accusation. It’s true. I remember one time; I attended his primary school reunion is Seremban and three girls (who were, by now ladies in their 50s) refused to come because they knew that he was coming. Can you imagine the aggravated trauma they had gone through to still be carrying that burden after 40 odd years or so? One story my dad told me, that was validated by one of his schoolmates, was one time, there was a screening of a movie in school hall.hall, and him being the impish child that he was, dropped stink bombs along the corridor and waited outside, delighting in the hoards of people rushing out to escape the suffocating smell of rotten eggs. The school never found out it was him.

My relationship with my father, or my parents in general, is a very Asian one. Not in the sense of him constantly badgering me to get married and or major in both Engineering and Medicine from Harvard University of Oxford. More like, often I take offence in what he says and vice versa and rarely do we apologize for whate we say. Not a big fan of public displays of affection, really. My mother often comes in as the peacemaker, trying to diffuse whatever tension filled situation we were in. Oh no, just because I’m a girl, doesn’t mean him and I don’t log heads. I inherited his short temper and impatience and frequently this has been a source of strain.

But since I left home, I started to appreciate my parents a little more, and perhaps, them with me as well. I realized that pride would spell the deterioration of any relationship, and that the angsty, angry tortured little girl wasn’t gonna cut it anymore. I mean, I’ve lead a good life, and who am I, not to cut the people who have provided with so much, a little slack?

Long story short, while my father is stoic, a little apathic at times, mean, and not to mention knows how to bloody well push my buttons. I love him dearly and not because he spoils me unnecessarily, but because I see so much of me in him (the cynicism, the inability to mince my words, the lack of a verbal filter in general), just a weathered, wiser version (even the face, sadly, even the face). He is me in about 30 years. And like he said so many times, mistreating him would mean I would be cut from the will, and all the money would go to some rural orphanage somewhere. Thanks daddy, love you too. 

Oh,

Happy father's day, daddy!

2 comments:

Zaimah Abu Bakar said...

Ohhh..you should see him smiling from ear to ear..:D

Imran said...

lovely! Kirim salam kat abah kau