By Yeu-Gynn Yeung
Up until I moved out at 22, my dad would tuck me into bed every night. Even if I had displeased him earlier in the day. Like that time I drove his car onto the kerb.
And if he had to wake us kids up, he would always do so very gently. A simple nudge. He was that kind of dad that you could count on letting you snooze a few extra minutes.
When the lockdown happened in March and people began to lose jobs, I had just quit mine. Talk about bad timing. I half-expected dad to nudge me into finding a job, as typical Asian parents would.
So I was pleasantly surprised when instead, he said “relax and enjoy life,” followed by a slew of all the different heart emojis.
Thing is, when we were growing up, dad would ask my two sisters and I at least once a day, “Do you love your daddy?” Of course, it’s a rhetorical question. As the eldest daughter, I would simply reply, “yes, of course I love you dad”. My sisters would echo the same sentiments.
Years later, I find myself asking my husband, “Do you love me?”. Even though I know he does 100%. Perhaps we mirror some of our parents’ behaviours more than we know.
Whenever someone says dad and I are alike, I am beginning to agree.
It seemed not so long ago during large family gatherings when dad would say, “don’t leave me alone.” Even if I wanted to go play with my cousins.
Now I find myself doing the exact same thing to my husband at parties. “Don’t leave me alone,” I’ll whisper, even though I know the people at the party.
Yes, we’re probably more alike than we know. Shy, quiet, and slightly terrified of our spouses (though not in a bad way).
My dad watches the news and Keeping Up With The Kardashians. I work in the news and check in on the Kardashian family on Instagram from time to time.
We even look alike – though I suppose it’s the work of genetics. Both fair-skinned and round-faced, we look like mian bao (bread rolls) with high foreheads, thankfully made popular by Tyra Banks.
Even though I was (and always will be) ‘daddy’s princess’, you would be mistaken to think my dad was always soft and smiley. Like most Asian fathers, he expected me to pick up a skill. Something girly like ballet, would have been perfect. But no, it had to be martial arts. Taekwondo to be exact.
I remember hating Taekwondo classes so much. Every Sunday for nine years, all through my best attempts to rebel and feign sickness. Dad made me do it. Until I received my black belt.
Now I’m glad he made me do it. At least I can tell people I have a black belt in something. And my increased lower body strength from all those years of kicking ass has been quite helpful in my newest hobby – pole dancing.
(Okay so he doesn’t know about my new hobby. Dad, if you’re reading this, pole dancing is not what it looks like! I’m doing it for fitness reasons. It’s like Taekwondo too, lots of kicking in the air, but graceful!)
But being ‘daddy’s princess’ isn’t such a bad thing either. It made me realise how I want men to treat me – with extraordinary attention and respect, which I found in my husband.
PS: Did I mention growing up, dad would go in my bedroom every other day just to pick the hairs off the floor. It’s a simple gesture, but I sure think about it a lot these days now that I have to pick up my own hairs off my floor!
Happy Father’s Day, dad!
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