Father and Children bonding : How did you bond with your late father back then?
Yes, I do observe that the way my late father connected with us was quite different from how parents connect with their children today, because the attitude of the generation then is different from today’s.
In those days, we were bashful with our parents and had high respect for them. We were always wary with what we say or do because we didn’t want our words to hurt or bring unpleasant feelings to my father.
But this doesn’t mean that there was no deep sense of love, indeed there was. I still remember when I studied abroad, at a time when there were no email, sms or social media, we had to write letters via aerogram and wait for the reply. Whenever I wrote to him, he would definitely reply, even though he was very busy as Prime Minister and a reply may arrive only after two weeks but a reply from him would definitely arrive. This was a sweet memory for me and my late father was a very subtle motivator who encouraged us to study hard so that we can be the first, second or third in class. And every month, he would want to know about our achievements. My siblings and I did not want to disappoint him, so we did our best. If we were the first in class, his face would light up, but if we did not get the first position in class but third for example, he would be a little disappointed. So it was in this way that he taught my brothers and I not to be spoiled, not to be too extravagant in our lives and to always practice a modest kind of lifestyle as well as to be considerate for other people. And that’s probably the reason why I have good EQ with the Rakyat, due to the subtle lessons of my late father, which had left a significant impact on my life and my feelings.
And how different is it now on how you bond with your children?
Today we are more informal. Which means we can hang out together, we can mix with each other, but the presence of respect is still there but on a more informal way than in the past. In my relationship with my children I see that we are able to exchange our thoughts more openly, without the feeling that there is a gap between us, but at the same time they are fully aware of their respect for me as their father. This generational change is not only on me but also on other Malaysian families in general.
I would like to wish a Happy Father’s Day to all fathers. Father’s Day is a day in which the role of a father is being remembered and appreciated by their children and families and this is a time where we should show our appreciation for the contributions and wisdom of our fathers. I would also like to wish a Happy Father’s Day to those who have just become fathers as well. We have to also give recognition to the new fathers for their contributions as they hold the potential of forming a new generation, which would ensure the success of our country, with God’s willing.