Monday, August 27, 2007

Happy Birthday Pa!

My father turned 68 a few days ago on 24 August. Birthdays have hardly been celebrated in a grand way in our family for as long as I can remember, apart from the small birthday parties with cousins, a few best friends from school and neighbourhood kids during our childhood days. When we got older, we simply commemorated it with a meal at home or at a restaurant, and gave presents or angpows and sometimes even without the traditional cake and candles.

Since Caitlin came into the picture, the cake became a must-have as for her, birthdays mean singing the song (in English and Mandarin), blowing the candles (she'd gladly do it for you), cutting the cake, and eating the cream or icing, cherries, chocolate shavings, strawberries etc (but not the cake!).

Pa's (and everyone else's) birthday have received more attention these past few years thanks to Caitlin.

I remember my father as a doting dad but one with a quick temper and did not spare the rod when we misbehaved. I believe he was the one who introduced the love of reading to me. I remember our weekly Saturday afternoon visits to the old little bookshops in Melaka to get the continuing edition of my favourite Secret Seven or Famous Five and other Enid Blyton books during my primary school days. Then there was an occasional handwritten letter or two from him in Indonesia when he had a short working stint there while I was in university in Penang.

He is now a doting grandfather to all three of his grandkids and has changed his tune when it comes to the rod. That's what grandkids can do to even the most military-type. Caitlin, being the eldest grandchild, has received love in abundance since she was born. And she indeed knows she can get away with anything when "kung kung" is around!

Pa said a few days ago when preparing his muesli with chopped apples that he wishes to live as long as possible. I do hope he will, so that he may enjoy, together with Ma, years of happiness in whatever they choose to do.

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