Nov 12, 2015

Growing Up with Pa, part One

My memories  I will pen down before it fades with age and time.

Pa as an English Teacher

I was born in 1963, a sickly child. My sister was healthy and fit as a fiddle. So Pa took it upon himself to care for me since then. We became extremely closed due to that. Pa was an English school teacher in a Chinese secondary school. Where he taught English as a 2nd language. Everyday after school, he would come home and I will greet him at the door. And he would put his files down on the table and instead of going to change his clothes, he would sit with me, with his arms around me and he would read a book with me. Its an old Chinese pictorial book, I remembered it had only 10 to 12 pages. There were words in it, but I couldn't read, not just as yet. I haven't been to school. Then after that, Pa would say "ok, I need to take a bath, and mark the papers". I would be contented as Pa has spent that precious 10 minutes with me. 

Pa would take short naps in the afternoon and he expected me to do likewise. Because of this, its been an afternoon nap I have to take every day without fail, from 3pm to 5pm. I would sit by Pa at his reading table. And I watch him write and he does referencing on books and stuff. Pa would give me a pencil and a paper to draw stuff, and he would tell me how his day went. Half the time I couldn't figure out what he was saying. But something in me knew I just had to sit there and listen. I was never the child who poke and probe or ask too much questions. But I was the child who was quiet, attentive and obedient. So Pa doted on me alot.

When we got our first black and white TV set, Pa would allow me to watch certain shows with him. But he watches all the cartoon shows with me, he  would laugh at all the jokes. When I was old enough for the movies, he would take me to watch all the Disney's animated cartoon movies. I was the happiest child back then. I grew up in the time where most families could not even afford a radio at home, much less a TV or a day at the movies in the cinema. We weren't rich but Pa came from a wealthy family in Taiping, Malaysia. He never had to support his family, and whatever he earns, he gave everything to Ma who help to keep the finances at home. Pa saved his pennies for me, so once its school holidays, he would take me to the movies.

At home, he would watch movies with me. And he would explain who did what, why they did what they did. Its with this, I grew up loving the movies. Pa told me to watch all genres. From romance to crime fighting, to horror and drama. Back then, there isn't much gore on TV or Movies. 

But my most favoured memory with Pa at that young age was when the Circus came to Singapore. Pa brought me to the travelling circus. It was the first time I went to one. It was everything I imagined it would be, possibly more. As Pa used to read to me, of stories and tales about the Circus. After visiting one with Pa, he would ask me how I felt and he told me of the famous Ringling Brothers , Barnum and Bailey Circus. None of my peers nor even Benny knew what in the world is Barnum and Bailey circus. Only me..and of course PA.

And everything I have gone through in my young life, Pa was there always to explain the complexity to me.

When Natasha was 5 or 6, a travelling circus group came to Singapore. My eyes and heart lit up like the lights on a Christmas tree. I bought tickets to go but instead of going there with Natasha, I gave Pa the tickets to go with Natasha. PA was delighted. Because I knew he wanted to relive that old with his grand daughter, he would tell her of the things he used to tell me. 

This is my Pa, that is one of the reasons when I married Benny, I asked God to make him like Pa, the one who spend time with his kids, the one who would tell them stories and be their friend. The one who held their little hands in his, and the one who adores them to bits.

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