I often used to tease my dad; my naive view of friendship was receiving text messages everyday and being invited to big social events, and so I used to tell him he had no friends. In fact, I would text him on his birthdays just so he had one message in his inbox. But seeing the amount of people who came last sunday, and today, truly affected by his death has really made me realise so much. That my humble, kind, and always hardworking father had a much deeper impact on the people around him than I could ever imagine. I came to realise that simply because he didn’t use technology in the same way as I do, did not mean he had any less friends than I have. And that the love of friends and family can last forever, even through years of physical distance.
Any one who knew my dad even to a small extent knows that he was a good man, who treated everyone with respect and was rarely angered. He approached anything he did in life with patience and careful consideration, and indeed I always admired him for his resourcefulness. He could fix everything, build anything, and do anything at home.
Dad was definitely a family man. He loved spending time with us, even if it was just a drive, or going out for dinner. He was the person in the family whom we could all depend on to listen when we needed to talk, and he never failed to be interested in our lives. In times of difficulty, he always said the right thing, imparted his wisdom and helped us move on.
He had a love of travelling and touring new countries, yet not without first spending time in his and mum’s home town of Taiping in Malaysia. He worked hard his whole life – not only to provide us, his family, with a comfortable lifestyle, but also so that we could look forward to an end-of-year family holiday together each year.
When my brother and I were younger, on every weekend morning we would both wake up, sprint to our mum and dad’s room and jump in between them. The race was always to get the spot next to dad because he would always play games with us. The best fun was when he used to kick my brother’s soft toy Mousey into the air like a football, which made my brother so angry, and me laugh so much. We never got tired of this weekend-morning routine – it was the best part of the week and only stopped when we got too big to fit into the bed.
Dad was a simple man, whose main hobby was gardening. He managed to grow a whole range of vegetables in our backyard, but the one plant that always got the best of him was his lemon tree. For many years, perhaps even ten years, he put in so much effort to carefully nurture this one plant, which initially only yielded a few, pitiful lemons. His lemons, in comparison with every big lemon tree I saw and pointed out for years, became the object of much ridicule. However, years later as the fruit became larger the jokes slowly faded. Now, the lemon tree stands proudly bearing more lemons than we can consume, a testament to his patience and quiet determination.
Apart from gardening, he enjoyed fine dining and developed an interest in investment properties, influenced by his close friend uncle Albert. More importantly, Dad and I both supported the Cats and prior to this year he used to take me to so many footy matches.
But to disregard the final 8 months during his illness would not be fair, as the pain and fear he suffered was a true test of character, and he showed amazing courage. Always, was the physical pain of chemotherapy, the bitter disappointment of failure and the anxiety for the future. Yet he was always hopeful and never stopped smiling. He stomached copious amounts of mum’s absolutely disgusting vegie juice for months and that in itself deserves commendation. But most of all, he never stopped caring for others even in his weakened state. Dad always placed everyone else above himself – not a day passed where he did not ask me first how I was, how my day was at school. And even though my brother and I, over the years, have rarely responded with more than ‘yeah, it was ok’, I’ll miss having him ask me that everyday.
Dad never had expectations of friends and relatives to visit him – and was always so grateful when people did.
I think I am who I am today, not because Dad had great expectations, but because he simply expected the best of me. He used to tell me that, if one does not have expectations in life then happiness may be found. I know that he would not have had expectations for any one to come today. But if he could see all of you now, who have come here today to celebrate his life and remember his kindness, then I know he would be simply overjoyed.
Dad, I will always remember your smile, even though we always had to explain jokes to you before you understood them. I will remember you as a selfless father who gave everything to his family. And I won’t forget how much you meant to Mum, Yang and me. It will be so hard without you, but don’t worry about us, we’ll manage. Thank you so much Dad, and I will make you proud.
This eulogy was written by my cousin Zoe for his dad, my Uncle YC, whose funeral was held last Saturday. When I received this in my mail box, sent by my aunt, I hesitated in opening it. I knew for a fact that I will cry reading it and true enough, I cried so hard reading every single word. It was beautfifully written from the heart. My Dad called me and told me the funeral was very impressive and attended by close to 200 of family, friends and colleagues. I truly believe so.
I hate myself for not being there to send him off on his last journey and I hope Uncle YC will forgive me for my absence. My heart aches so much thinking about it.
May you rest in peace Uncle YC and I want you to know that I am constantly reminiscing the good old days. My last visit to your home in Melbourne was a wonderful memory and will remain in my heart forever. Thank you for being a great inspiration in my life and for the love you’ve shown to us, even when we were apart miles away. You will always be remembered for who you are, a wonderful man and a person with great character, as Zoe had described you.
You will be dearly missed.