Purnama family

  1. Money is not the most important thing. Spend it when you can, with moderation, and enjoy life once in a while. Oh, and never spend what you don’t have.
  2. Family is the most important thing. Dad always drills the lesson of ‘three is better than one’, and us three daughters are (too) close to each other.
  3. When it comes to your friends asking to borrow money, either give it to them completely or don’t. Money is such a sensitive issue; it will ruin your friendship in the future.
  4. Education is important. Or, in my Dad’s words: ‘As long as I can still provide for your education, go attain one, as high as you can. Money can run out, but knowledge enables you to make money again.’
  5. Hard work is needed to succeed. My Dad has been working in the same company for over twenty years, climbing up from a low-level job to a high-level one.
  6. Allow yourself to dream big. As a poor man in his thirties, he had a dream that one day he would have an awesome car. Today, his three daughters (and one grandson) have travelled in that car.
  7. Always listen to Mom. Dad has always been the more lenient one, granting me almost any wish and never saying no. But he always reminds me that there’s wisdom in Mom’s words, no matter how hard they are for me to chew.
  8. Allow yourself to make mistakes, and learn from it. When I first learned how to drive, I was 16. That day was the first day I was behind the wheels, and from our suburban home he straightaway ordered me to go to the street. I ended up crashing the car (quite mildly), but after that I could really drive well. True story.
  9. And about mistakes: a few years ago I made a horrible mistake. When he found out about it, my Dad just walked me aside, and said, ‘I don’t want to know the details. The past is the past. What’s important now is that you’ll learn from it and never do it again.’ Then he hugged me and said he loves me. Future fathers, please take note.
  10. Generosity pays off. Growing up, I’ve always seen him giving to the less fortunate, from tipping a hefty sum of money towards the barber who cut his hair to tipping the cleaning services who scrub the toilets in shopping malls. He always tries to give more – despite my Mom, my two sisters and my objection – and he never stops.
  11. You’ll reap what you sow. Dad believes in this life lesson. If you’re generous towards others, others would be generous towards you. If you’re kind to people, people would be kind towards you. And he’s the living testament of this.
  12. You can see a man’s character by his attitude towards the little people. My Dad’s job required him to mingle and talk with the little people all the time, and he concludes that everyone needs to be respected, no matter who they are. The people with the best character and attitude will treat everyone equally.
  13. Behind a great man, there’s always a great woman. In his younger years, Dad was far from being accomplished. In fact, he was quite screwed. But he always tells me that he gets to where he is now, mostly due to my Mom who continues to support him no matter what storm they’re going through.
  14. You’re only as good as your words. He never backs off on what he’s said, and he never makes excuses. I trust my Dad and I can count on him through any thick and thin, because I’ve seen how true he is to his words.
  15. Family comes first. One of the most vivid memories I have was when my Dad picked me up from school during working hours. I was ten, and I was bullied. The day before, he listened to my story while I was crying, and the next day he went home early from work, picked me up at school, called the boy, talked to the boy not to mess with his daughter, and we went home. I was laughing and beaming the whole time. And even now, every time I go home for holiday, he always takes time off work, having lunch together at my favourite places.
  16. Respect the elders. When meeting the people older than him, he always is the one standing up and shaking their hands, the one who walks towards them from across the room to just say hello.
  17. Pamper the wife. My Dad is never too prideful to carry my Mom’s shopping bags, and in fact, he’s the one pushing my Mom to go shopping when he feels like she hasn’t bought anything lately. He still holds her hand when going out. So guys, carry your partners’ bags, and girls, find men who would gladly lay their pride for you.
  18. Be proud of your children’s accomplishments. When I graduated high school, I attained the highest score and got to deliver a speech during the ceremony. Despite not understanding a single word, he always beams when he tells people the story of how good my speech was, and how proud he was when I walked to the stage to get my trophies. It’s one thing to see your parents say they’re proud of you in private. It’s another when you see your parents tell others that they’re proud of you.
  19. Be there for your family. I can’t possibly stress this enough. Dad always makes time for his daughters, whether it’s accompanying me to go bowling or making the whole family flew to Singapore during school days to see my first sister’s play.
  20. Confidence is the key. My Dad is a performer(-ish), and he always says yes whenever someone asks him to sing some Chinese songs at some events. Despite lacking proper talent, he makes up what he doesn’t have with confidence. Whatever it is you’re doing, be confident with it. If you make mistakes, shrug it off, don’t dwell on it, and move on.
  21. Choose your family over other things. Again, whenever his three daughters come home for holidays, he always chooses us over his friends, going out with us for lunch and accompanying us shopping. It means a lot.
  22. When your children have grown up, be their friends instead. Now that my two sisters and I are adults, Dad always emphasises that he wants to be our friends. He asks us for advice and listens to us, and not feeling that he’s more superior than us because he’s our Dad.
  23. Sometimes, giving in is the best thing to do. Avoid quarrels when you can, and as long as it doesn’t conflict with your values, give in. Give in to where to eat, what was said, or who was wrong. Life would be better and more peaceful, and you’d certainly be happier.

My Dad is by no means perfect, but in the 23 years I’ve lived he never fails to be there for me, support me, trust me, take care of me, forgive me, and love me. Happy Father’s day, Dad. We’re proud and blessed to have you as a Father.


Photo: The Purnama Family.