Saturday 13 February 2016

Eng Ee Lim

This is a tribute to my father, Eng Ee Lim.

So often it's the case that much is left unsaid about our parents.

It's probably a combination of fear, embarrassment or sometimes it's just us being narrow-minded and refusing to acknowledge (or even forgetting about) their positive attributes.

However I feel that it should be stated for the record that I owe a lot to my father.

The first thing that I admire about dad is his discipline, duty and commitment to the family. He will not whinge, complain or make a fuss about doing something that is necessary even if it's something mundane or very unpleasant. He will do it with his head down and sleeves rolled up so to speak: not because he wants to, but because he must. And that almost always means that he will keep his burdens to himself because he doesn't want his family to be burdened as well (as many of our fathers do).

This sometimes means that my dad will consciously choose to sacrifice his own pleasure and livelihood, which is usually not a good thing. He will perhaps choose to eat simpler things or lead a simpler lifestyle so that his children can enjoy something better. Many, if not most, fathers do this. While on one hand I do believe that you should always take care of yourself too, on the other I find that my dad has proven himself to be quite resilient in the above sense. You would have had to catch him on an extraordinarily bad day if you saw him complaining about something he had to do.

While not exactly on point, to give you an idea of his resilience and his character, my dad is capable of driving from Sydney to Melbourne (8-9 hours' drive) without taking a break or stopping!!! That's just crazy.

If I could have even one-tenth of my dad's resilience, perseverance, duty and discipline, I think I would consider that a fine achievement in itself.

I only realised this recently but my dad is also a great entertainer. If we have a guest over, be it a new acquaintance or familiar friend, dad will make a more than solid effort to connect and engage in conversation with that person (of course, assuming he has the time and there aren't too many people to talk to). He always seems genuinely interested to find out more about them, be it by way of questions or just conversational topics. I find that he actually does this quite well and he is very strong in that department. He will always try to find a point of connection. This, of course, requires him to be a general 'all-rounder' in terms of 'world knowledge'. Again, another leaf I need to take out of his book.

My dad loves his sport and will happily share a conversation on most sport topics. He, of course, goes for Hawthorn. He takes a casual interest in Arsenal because I 'go for them', and in that sense, I am grateful for the interest he takes in my interests. On that note, he generally wants to know what his children have been up to and likes asking many questions.

One of the better 'lectures' (not really a lecture) from dad can be summarised in this quote (paraphrased):
"Andre, remember that when someone is generous to us, chooses to help us and spend time with us or gives us many good things, we cannot be selfish. It cannot be a one-way street. We must give back."
I pause here to note that, while I have said many good things about my dad, I of course acknowledge that no one is perfect, including myself and my father. We all have shortcomings and downfalls.

In the end, I think we ought to remind ourselves that our parents were children once too: when they suddenly became parents they didn't really have anyone to teach them what they should be doing. Sure, no one is perfect but we should learn to embrace our parents' positive sides.

I respect my dad for all the above reasons and, in that sense, am proud to be his son.

Andre Lim

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