Heart and Soul: Happy Fathers Day to my 'Ninja Turtle' dad


The writer and her dad taking a breather during a hiking trip at Bukit Wawasan, Puchong (also known as Ayer Hitam Forest Reserve). — John Tan

My dad, John Tan, is my role model, my friend, my tutor, and one of the two important mentors in my life (the other being my mother). He is my ultimate "Ninja Turtle" – my hero. I’ve always looked up to him for advice and guidance whenever I hit a road bump.

He has rules set at home and practises proper manners even when guests are not around, setting a good example for us children. Manners such as not lifting up our bowl to drink soup but to use a spoon, tidying up our beds once we wake up, washing our cups and dishes, using proper words when we speak, and so on.

He constantly reminds us that he isn’t a strict father and that he is also learning to be a better person. He is fair and disciplines us accordingly because he believes that we should be instilled with good values and taught how to behave from a young age so that we do not embarrass ourselves, and be successful in the future. We have to cultivate proper manners and discipline, because my Ninja Turtle says it will help us grow up to become good people.

From the day we were able to read, he gave each of us a personal piggy bank and taught us to make a habit of saving our remaining pocket money in it. He always emphasises the importance of saving money for a rainy day because no one has a clue what will happen in the future.

My dad, who is one of 11 siblings, lost his father – my paternal grandfather – when he was seven years old. I’ve never heard any complaints from him about how hard it was at that stage of his life. He stayed strong and always lent his siblings a helping hand whenever they needed it. The protective big brother instinct is always in him. I am very similar to him in this sense because I am the oldest sibling in my family. Seeing how he handles family issues, how he is the glue to the family, relatives and friends, has made my respect for him grow.

He is the first person I hope to speak to, rant to or gossip to about my day or anything that I am too embarrassed to share with my mother or friends. We are even friends on social media and we share funny moments on TikTok. Sometimes, he would crack some jokes or look at some funny memes on Instagram and we would laugh at them together. He encourages me to type using proper English words. He too learns alongside me and shares words he learnt with us to help build our vocabulary.

“Do what is right, not what you want.” My dad’s favourite motto. He drilled this into my mind ever since I was mature enough to differentiate between what is wrong and what is right. I can say that this motto has saved me from trouble many times. I remember once when I wanted to copy my friend’s homework and ended up not doing it because it struck my conscience of going against what I had been taught.

Turns out, my friend had plagiarised from one website and the teacher immediately caught her and later gave her an earful on the plagiarism and the serious consequences that follow.

I enjoy his sharing sessions of wisdom and life experiences. It helps us think and ensures that we do not do things that we may regret. His advice has somehow always worked out for me, one way or another.

I am 14, I am blessed to have him in my life to mould and teach me. I will improve myself so that one day he will look at me with pride, and can proudly show off how successful his daughter has become. Thank you, dad.

I would like to wish him and all the fathers in the world, a Happy Fathers Day. Also, to my favourite uncle, Father Albert Tan, who has long been away in the Philippines for church work, and whose birthday is coming: Happy Fathers Day and Happy Birthday! Stay safe and healthy.

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Fathers Day , father , dad , hero , Ninja Turtle , daddy's girl

   

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