My dad, a second generation Chinese immigrant, had a very colorful life. He came from a large and impoverished family. He and his siblings had to fend for themselves after my grandfather passed away at a very young age. Armed with nothing but his dreams and an impeccable work ethic, he left his small town and moved to the city. He found a job at a school run by the Divine Word Missionaries. It allowed him to pursue his education. He ventured into commerce and operated a shop selling poultry supplies. After finishing a degree in engineering, he worked for other engineers and later opened his own private practice. His insatiable appetite for hard labor and perfectionism won the admiration and respect of his peers. And along with this, a great reputation and success in his field. He later on got married to a young teacher he meet while working a the school, and started a family. After her passing in the late 70s, he later remarried and grew his family. He never had a real vacation in his life, he thought, his family comes first. His work was everything to him, ever so restless. Had a few near-death experiences doing his job, a few car crashes and got robbed at gunpoint by insurgents, but he kept on going. He was a very strict disciplinarian, devout Catholic, and a great provider. He was a very tough parent. Light with his hand and reprimands. But he always gave so much support to his children who played by his rules. And those who were as stubborn as him and made their case to do their own thing, albeit sneakily, got his support anyway. His pride was tall, but he was also forgiving. He tried so long to groom one of his children to continue his work and carry his name. In the end, he got more than he ever wanted. A huge sense of relief that was so obvious from a family gathering last year. Everybody was there, everybody! He was calm, very endearing, and cracked jokes. The tiger has mellowed. He seemed like he had everything, everything but his health. Yesterday, he succumb to it, something he already knew a couple of years prior what was about to happen. It was swift battle. Now, he’s gone.
I choose this photograph to remember him by. This was when he just got married to his first wife, my mom. He was so full of life, hopes, and dreams. He’s got everything to live for. Unwavering. It was very tough living with him, but he never failed to be there when we really needed him. And he provided us very well and gave us education. I’m proud to be his son. His values and things I’ve learned from him I’ll never forget. Tough love. But it nevertheless worked. Thanks dad!