Daddy's girl

  • Family
  • Wednesday, 11 Jun 2014

Close bond: Gaik Koon with her dad, G.C. Yeoh, 69.

Love turns ordinary men into heroes in the eyes of their child.

It has often been said that daughters are closer to their fathers than their mothers. I’m not sure how true this is. In my case, I’ve always felt closer to my mother.

When I was a little girl, I used to hide my face with my hands when my dad tried to plant a kiss on my cheeks. Maybe it was because the stubble on his face tickled me. It felt like millions of ants were crawling on my face.

Being the only child, he never said “no” to any of my requests. And that was how my pet collection grew until our house resembled a mini zoo.

Over the years, I’ve kept dogs, tortoises, fishes, birds and chicks. And guess who ended up doing all the cleaning? My dad, of course.

My mum would constantly remind me of my responsibility as a pet owner, but it was good old dad who dutifully cleaned up after the animals.

We love to travel in our car around the country – just the three of us: Dad, Mum and me. We would just hop into our car without any planning and drive on till we ended up in some lovely hitherto undiscovered nook.

My dad has a poor sense of direction, so we never visit the same place twice as he would not remember how to get to the same spot again.


From young, I’ve always admired my dad for being such a handyman around the house. There wasn’t anything Dad couldn’t fix. But sometimes he got a tad too adventurous. There was one occasion when the car battery exploded because Dad tried to jump-start the car, but he crossed the jumper cables. That’s my dad.

When I grew into a teenager, I wasn’t too happy when Dad curtailed my social activities. I became a little envious of friends who could go camping and take part in all kinds of activities. I was delighted when Mum stepped into the picture, and persuaded Dad to allow me to join my friends for numerous activities.

When I went to college, the distance between us grew. Whenever Dad called up to check on me, I had little to say to him other than “Yes. Ya. OK. Bye-bye”.

Maybe this was typical of teenagers. Or perhaps it was because we didn’t share common interests.

When I was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in 2012, Dad had a hard time accepting the news that his only child is terminally ill.

I guess he took it badly though he tried not to show it.

When I was undergoing treatment in the hospital, Dad would go the extra mile to buy me my favourite food as I had poor appetite. I was very picky about food during my chemotherapy treatment, and certain tastes turned me off food.

When I was discharged from hospital, I spent the next few months recuperating at home. Dad and Mum did their best to look into my every need and kept me as comfortable as possible. Dad took over shopping for groceries, while Mum slaved over the stove to cook nutritious, delicious meals for me.


When my cancer spread to my brain, there were times when I had trouble controlling my emotions. I vented my frustrations on my dad. But Dad never retaliated. I really feed bad about those times when I took it out on Dad. Dad, I’m so sorry for hurting you. I didn’t mean to.

I took up yoga in a bid to control my temper. Now I try to be nicer to my dad. Dad is not tech-savvy, so I taught him how to use his smartphone to surf the Internet.

Till today, he still asks me the difference between Internet and Wi-Fi. Dad, how many times do I have to explain?

Yes, that’s my dad. Nobody can ever replace him. He is my superhero.

I noticed how my dad has aged over the past two years. Even his moustache has turned white. Little lines start to show around his eyes. My illness must have taken a toll on him, too.

When I look back over the years, I realise how blessed I am to have a father like him. I do not think I can go through this trial without his love and support.

When I was in hospital for a follow-up recently, I saw a boy collapsing on the floor. Dad rushed to his side to help him up, and led him to a chair. Dad stayed with the boy for a while to make sure he was all right. I am so proud of my dad. He has a heart of gold.

This article is dedicated to my dad. Happy Fathers Day, Dad! You mean the world to me.

> Beyond Barriers is a platform for sharing and raising awareness on disability issues. We welcome contributions from readers who have a disability or any special needs, caregiver s, advocates of disability groups, or anyone living with any chronic medical condition. E-mail your stories to Contributions which are published will be paid, so please include your full name, IC number, address and contact number. 

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Daddy's girl


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