What can i say? They are equally difficult. They love their jobs to death. They are perfectionists. They never talked much. They believe in hard work and they attend to every single detail.
I never knew him well. I only know that he worked most of his life. He dedicated his life to it and he probably never regretted it. But, one thing for sure, he loved me dearly.
There are only a few good memories with him that i remember.
I turned 10 one year and he and mom were too busy at work to celebrate with me. He phoned back and said :" Ba Ba can't make it back to celebrate with you, but i promised that i will bring you to eat western food coming weekend." Westen food was big deal back in the 80s. It was luxury and i loved it. He was a man who delivered promises. I had my Faber Castell that weekend. 1988, i was top student in my class and i wanted a bike. I got my bike. ( but he never rode with me) 1990, i was addicted to my uncle's video game. Once again, i was the top student in primary 6. Nearing death, he asked my uncle to buy me one. I never got one because i told him that its not good for me.
I also remembered a " conversation" about cancer we had in the living room, with him lying on the sofa . He talked, i listened. I wasn't sure if i asked the question if he was going to die.
Other memories of him were more of the ways he brought me up. I was never allowed to sit with my legs up on a chair. I was never allowed to whistle. I was never allowed to disobey the elderly. I was never allowed to choose and pick food with my chopsticks. I was never allowed to ask my maid to wash my shoes. He was a very strict and serious father.
Despite my disrespect for him being a person who didn't know how to juggle the balance of life, I feel honoured that he instilled in me his principles of being a good human.
Malcolm asked me if i think i lack a father figure during my young adult life. I never thought i lacked anything until i met my father-in-law.
If my own father built up the foudation of being a good person during my childhood, my father-in-law fills in the rest for my adulthood.
Despite his seriousness, he surpises people by throwing in a few jokes or two occasionally.
His old fashion attitude to life and his believe in righteouness reiterate the foundation i was built upon. But his wit and determination to succeed in this crude and realistic society is something that my own father never had the chance to teach me.
I don't think i can learn his wit given that his smartness was probably polished from the fact that he had to wheel himself out of the humiliation and poorness that he was in. Its increadibly fascinating to see the ideas and perspective he has of things around. As i know the Peh family better and better, i realise that their success is based on pure determination and hard work. Of course, my father-in-law insightful views to spot potentials are the first step to the success. He told me that, for anything you do, you have to be able to see beyond what other people see. If people see one step ahead, you have to see three steps ahead. Foresights are utmost important.
Determination has been a recipe of success i share with this family too. Never give up until the very last minute should be the motto for everyone. My own dad fought cancer till the very last days. If i had been able to ask my dad to speak, i am sure he would have told me that he believed he won't die. The same goes to my father-in-law, I see the strength and determination in him. I see his positivity and will power to live. I hope he doesn't disappoint me and continue fighting.
My father-in-law and i also share the same view of how important self control is for any person. We don't believe that obese people would be successful. If a person can't control their own eating and living habits, how could you believe him to come out with something good?
Not much else i could speak of this person whom i have only know for the past four years. I can only pray that God give him a few more years so that i could have the honour to be "taught" by him.