Dads For Life set out on a community assignment to invite contributions from the ordinary Man, Woman and Child on the streets of Singapore, to this question:
“What is one thing you have always wanted to say to your Dad but never did?”
The responses we received from a girl as young as 5, to grandparents in their 60s – turned out to be as insightful, heart-warming, truthful and encouraging, as it is at times poignant and funny.
Read on and enjoy…
Miss Hong Yu, 5 (K1)
This little girl gave a funny, literal twist to the question, she said,
“I wanted to tell my papa that a policeman came to my school one day. But I was too scared so I asked him to guess who that person was and gave him a clue: the person who visited our school, his name started with a ‘P’.”
Brandon, 17 (ITE Student)
Dear Dad: Although I seldom get to see you due to your work, I still want to thank you for all the things you have done for me all this while. You gave me whatever I wished for; you helped me achieve my goals; last but not least, you make me feel happy whenever you are around. Thank you and Happy Father’s Day, Every Day!”
“Dear Pa, I know we tend to argue a lot and that I may seem disrespectful. But I want you to know that I have the utmost respect for you and that I’ll be forever grateful for all the sacrifices you have made for us. Love you lots.”
Ms Gwendolyn, 40s
”Thanks for trying so hard to be a good role model and father to us. It’s not easy especially since we are not an easy bunch of ordinary kids to handle. We are extreme in personality and diverse in characters. Thanks Dad, for all that you have done for us, despite the mistakes, for which we have forgiven you unconditionally. To me, you will be always be a father I cherish, as we have gained many positive and interesting memories, which in turn have created valuable milestones in my lifetime to treasure.”
Ms Nur Fitrah T., 42
Having lost her father earlier this year, she dedicated these words in memory of her father who passed on at age 70:
“Ah Pa, thank you for giving your blessings to my marriage, because without it I would never have been able to taste the sweetness of being a parent, the duty of being a spouse, the happiness of a family, the instinct to protect my off-springs, the greatness of being of service to others, and most of all, the gratitude of being your only girl! Thank you for sharing all these great things in life with us. We miss you a lot!”
Mr Lau, 46, Father of 2
This father of 2 primary school kids contributed this prose-like quote:
“They say you did not start that business because you did not have the guts.
They say you did not work hard to get a promotion because you were lazy.
They say you didn’t buy that house because you were not savvy.
But I knew you did what you did so that: we had enough money for my education; you could spend more time at home with us; we had a proper home to grow up in.
I don’t care what they say. I just want to say: I want to be like you when I am a father.”
By Mr R.B.’s own admission he says,
“Problem is, I am one of those people who believe strongly in articulating emotion and I cannot think of something I haven’t told my father.”
Master Mikaail, 8 (P2)
This boy was overwhelmed by the question which touched a raw, poignant chord in his heart. He turned to his dad and said,
“When you die I will never forget you because you are the best Dad in the world!”
Gillian, 22 (SMU Undergrad)
“Something which I have never told my dad is how much I admire his courage and determination as an entrepreneur. He’s made sacrifices for our family and always thinks of us before himself. He’s inspired me to not take the easy way out and to work hard for what I’m passionate in. I love you Dad!“
Ms C.K., 39
This bachelorette wanted simply to convey these thoughts to her 71-year-old father:
“Thank you, for all the sacrifices you have made, for all your hard work in providing for the family as the sole breadwinner, and for bringing us (your 3 children), up sensibly to be what we are today.”
Ms B.Y., 40
This active mother of 2 young boys had this to say to her 73-year-old father, the main caregiver to her children:
“Dear Pa, you have always been a strict but fun father to me. From imposing curfews to chauffeuring me from place to place, you have always been very protective of me, even from a young age. We have had our fair share of quarrels and fights…even till this day. However, looking at how you tirelessly take care of my children, your grandchildren, I can tell that you always have my interests at heart. Thank you!”
Mr Sanusi, 53, Father of 3
“I was young and inexperienced. In my dream in search of happiness I did not realise that the road to happiness is not always easy. When I should have listened to you and taken the bridge over troubled waters, I did not. Instead I followed my heart and took the long road. Now, 25 years later, I know that I made the right decision. I would thus tell my own children: I will teach you to think, to reach for the stars and also listen to your heart, for it will show you things which your eyes will not ordinarily see.”
Mr Lee, 66, Grandfather of 2
This granddad has this to say to his late father:
“Dad, I should have tried fulfilling your wish. Owing to work commitments, I was unable to accompany you to tour your hometown in Teochew province during the 1980’s. It was rather selfish on my part. I now realised that merely promising to pay for your tour fare wasn’t good enough. What you truly needed was my company as that would have provided the confidence and gratification that you needed most.”
Mr Teo, 42, Father of 1
This Dad has all but three simple yet no less significant words to say to his Dad,
“Thank you, Pa!”
Master Elliot, 6, (K2)
This little boy’s extremely candid and refreshingly honest response, however, caught his mum totally off guard:
“I have already told Dad everything I wanted to say to him.”
Alex, 21, (National Service)
“Dear Father, I have always wanted to say ‘I love you’, but couldn’t do so because it’ll be too awkward… I couldn’t stay still to listen to the things you had wanted to share with me. I wish we could spend more time together, play games and sports like the times when I was younger, but nevertheless, thank you for being my role model throughout my life 🙂 ”
Ms Rohani, 36
To her 73-year-old father, she said,“No matter how much time I spend with guys, no matter how much I love my boyfriend, you WILL always be my number one”
Ms Choo, 40, Mother of 2
She said of her 81-year-old Dad:
“In my eyes, my Dad is a successful man who has led a very meaningful and fulfilling life. I would like to tell him that he has been successful in providing for the family. Although he is a man of few words, he had done a wonderful job in imparting his values to his children through his actions and everyday words and deeds. He has also touched the hearts of many through his kind deeds and actions”
Mrs Lee, 66, Grandmother
This devoted mother of two grown children shared as she reminisced upon her childhood:
“My dad frequently stayed in Malaysia, away from our family, as he was doing business in Kuala Lumpur. Therefore, since young, I had not stayed or spent much time with him, except for a couple of days here and there whenever he was back in Singapore. It was only after he retired that he returned and stayed permanently in Singapore in our family home. This lasted about 2 years until I got married and moved out. Unfortunately, he suffered from liver cancer shortly after and whenever I visited him I badly wanted to tell him to get well soon, so that I could bring him to travel. Yet, I didn’t say that although it had always been on my mind. I knew he was very ill and that would have been quite impossible.”
Mr Pang, 55, Father of 4
“My Dad passed away in July 2010. Time flies. It has been 3 years already. He was a man of few words, a faithful husband, a caring father and grandfather. He had a kind heart and helped many of his friends and relatives without conditions. This, I discovered, from Mum and his friends, and I am proud of his charitable acts. On the other hand, however, I feel helpless and sad for him because his quality of life had been affected by his illness. He was especially affected by it towards the last year of his life. The one thing I always wanted to say to my Dad but never did was that I am proud of his big hearted, selfless and charitable ways towards his friends and relatives. I love and care for him. It has always been my responsibility to take care of him regardless of his health condition.”
We Asians tend to be a rather shy and reserved lot when it comes to communicating our emotions and thoughts to our elders. We tend to refrain from “telling it as it is” and bury them deep in our hearts. But we carry it within us all the time, consciously or otherwise, the immense and indelible impact that our Dads have had on our lives.
They are our heroes.
And we are deeply grateful to them.
About the Author: The Dads for Life Resource Team comprises local content writers and experts, including psychologists, counsellors, educators and social service professionals, dedicated to developing useful resources for dads.