My Dad Speaks to Me All the Time

17 June 2022

I asked a highly articulate 12-year-old in my tuition class where she had learnt to converse like that.

“Oh, this I will have to credit my dad…my dad speaks to me all the time,” the raven haired girl explained with a smile.

Whether she’s listening or not, the father reads aloud news and offers his views to his young daughter.

As a result, I have a student who not only answers questions very fluently, but also asks insightful questions and initiates new ideas in classroom exchanges.

Her wit & confidence may make her appear domineering, but she’s always the first to collate worksheets for others and ease new tuition mates to lesson routine.

Often in sundresses or tank tops and denims, she’s equally at ease in *shalwa kameez if tuition is preceded by a temple trip.

“Look, Ms Ong! This top used to belong to my great grandmother. My mom gave it to me. Can you imagine how tiny girls in those days were?” my little goddess opined, as she pointed to her richly coloured tunic that united 3 generations of women in her family.

The natural trend setter frequently carries her tuition homework in an NTUC jute grocery bag, and sometimes wears a pair of rugged denim shorts to contrast with a cardigan of lavender purple that sparkles with bits of sequins.

The little hair clip she uses to tame her obsidian locks looks way too tiny to do its job, but hey, it works!

Sunday tuition for her is also about sauntering down the row of shop houses with her dad to pick up Peranakan sweets and savoury dumplings before heading home.

Zooming with youth.

There’ll come a time when daughters and sons outgrow their need to be taken around and have their snacks paid for, but they’ll always need to hear from their dads no matter how old they get.

And even when some of our fathers can’t be with us, their words will continue to sustain us through shared moments and their personal belongings.

So here’s wishing a “Blessed & Delightful Fathers’ Day” to all Dads, Appas, Pappas, Pappis, Babbas and Otuo-sans for being present and accessible, especially in our growing years.

🙏May all parents be healthy and happy for your children’s sake, because they will mirror you whether you wish for it or not.

A picture taken outside a Hindu temple to honour the girl student who inspired this post.
  • shalwar kameez – ethnic clothing of knee length tunic and pants.

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