These are some inspiring stories of some fellow Malaysians about their respective father – with only one theme in mind - that no matter how difficult things may be, no matter how hard times may get, they can always count on their dad.

Father’s Day Story #1: Learning From Dad

Vishnu, 30
Marketing Manager, SelangorFday-1

My dad is my first hero. Without a single doubt.
When my parents divorced when I was 6 and my brother was 4, my dad got the custody of both of us since my mum had a new life awaiting ahead of her. Ever since, for over 24 years, he brought us up being a single parent. He not only had us to take care of, he had his bed-ridden mother to care for too.

He was the one who cooked, he was the one who provide financially, he was the one that attended our school’s PTA meetings, and he was one the tearing up when we both graduated – he was a father and a mother. I wonder even if my mum could have showered us with all the love and nurture he provided us single-handedly. I knew I could always count on dad in whatever situation. That was his biggest promise to us. The both of us couldn’t have asked for more.

My life changing experience came over a conversation I had with dad one night when I was 16 about the power of choice. His acronym for CHOICE was Chosen Historic Options Indicates Changed Eternity. This is somewhat close to what he told me that night:

If you were asked to choose between the colour white or green, what would you choose? I said white. What about between white, blue or green? I said blue. Or between white, blue, green or red? I said red. If you asked this question to others, some would have constantly chosen the same colour throughout, some would have chosen a different colour, or some would have not chosen any of those colours. It is all within the boundary of our CHOICE.

What is a CHOICE? To be able to make a choice is a right not an obligation given to an individual to be able to choose among the options laid out in front of him. Making choices exist in our daily life, and we make choices more often than we breath. However, how many of us truly understand the weight a choice made carries or how powerful a choice made can be? Sad to say, majority of us do not.

Choices mean something more than choosing what to eat or what to wear or where to go. Choices are also what we were; we are and want to be. Past choices are reflected in the present and present choices design the future.

Do we think about: - (a) What kind of words to choose? (b) What kind of feelings or emotions to choose? Or (c) What kind of future to choose?

We simply say things for the sake of saying something. Do we take a second to think and choose our words or choose what to say that will be empowering? When couples argue, they get emotional and without even thinking, they throw words at each other, making situations even worst, and end in up in hatred and divorce. Like me and your mum. I had to learn it the hard way.

This leads to choosing emotions, as when we are emotional, we can’t think of rational reasoning. When we in control of our feelings, we are clear with our intention and we will be fully aware of what we are saying and doing. Rather talk it out than to argue or fight. Soothing words or complimentary words make the other half feel wanted and loved and cared for and that helps in the relationship and the couples end up moving a step closer to each other.

Choices are the catalyst for change where it can elevate us to heroic heights or hurl us to desperate levels of despair. Draws us closer or further from our dreams. Each decision we make points us to the road of success or the path of mediocrity.

Many of us act as if we are in rudderless boats drifting in the sea of life. Our destination? Who knows? Aimlessly floating with no single clue of our destination. We arrive wherever the currents and tides take us. But it doesn't have to be that way. The boat we are in has a rudder. It can steer us to the shore of success. That rudder is CHOICE. If we use it, we can become the captain of our destiny.

Challenge ourselves to live from a place of CHOICE. It's empowering.

My perception on life changed. I just sat glued to what he shared and had only tears to acknowledge that I knew my life is changed forever. From that day till this very moment, my life has always followed this principle of choice that he told me. I have never deviated from the path of success ever since.

This Father’s Day will perhaps be one of the loneliest because dad is no more. He succumbed to a heart attack 6 months ago. He lived his life to the fullest, but the only regret I have that he did not stick around to see my child. Next year’s Father’s Day will be special because then I now have my daughter to celebrate it with. The cycle starts all around again and someday I will impart this knowledge that my dad has given me to her. The choices that made me “ME”.

Father’s Day Story #2: Even Cancer Is No Hurdle
Jack Tan, 33
Engineer, Kuala Lumpur
I was just 18 when my dad was diagnosed with stage 2 cancer. His diagnosis shook the whole family. He was the strong one and a health enthusiast. How could it be? In the days that followed, we began to realise that life wouldn’t be the same again. I had just started my college and my two sisters were still schooling. My mum was a housewife. When dad fell sick, our biggest concern was in providing financial for the family, our education and dad’s medical expenses.

However, my dad being the perfectionist he was, had investments, savings and insurance stashed away for such rainy days. We had nothing to worry about for the 2 years that decided to take time off from his business and concentrate on his health for our sake. Everything was taken care of. My dad’s business partner took over the business meanwhile. I remember he telling me that he won’t die until he sees his grandchildren when I hugged him cried at the hospital. He always had his warm smile, calm presence, integrity and fairness even in those difficult times.

It’s been 15 years since this journey began. As he struggled hard through his surgery, recovery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy – he never complained even when his skin burned or when he went bald. That is when I learnt many things by watching him live his life to the fullest like there was no tomorrow.

He always believed that we shouldn’t put off doing things that make you happy: After all the turmoil of his treatment, he started to feel a little better. He had a new lease on life. He travelled, went hiking, ate at nice restaurants and reunited with old friends. Although he physically wasn’t the same as before—he carried a walking stick and he needed to rest more often—my dad was determined to enjoy life as much as possible. It took his illness for us to realize that our “busy lives” could and should include doing fun things too. We joined him on his adventures and cherished the time together.

He taught me about God. My dad was a man of faith. He taught me that I was a child of God and that God loved me. I heard him pray all my life, and even in his worst days, I never seen him curse God. He always started his prayers thanking God for giving him an opportunity to live on, and a family to live for.

Sometimes good things can come from bad. My dad’s cancer brought my family closer together in many ways. We now tell each other how we feel more often and we try not to take each other for granted. All of these things we didn’t understand before my dad’s illness brought them to our senses.

Today, to see him all zest-up and enjoying his old age with his grandchildren, I am completely moved. If that day he chose to give up, he wouldn’t be here today. My dad taught me that even one of the deadliest diseases, cancer is no hurdle. If he can, I can too, in whatever hurdles that may come my way in the future. I continue to apply his lessons of love, strength and gratitude, which brings me to the most important, lesson – L=life is for living to the fullest, so go out and do it.

Father’s Day Story #3: Be A Man
Muhammad Ashraf, 35
Doctor, Kuala Lumpur
Fday 3
My hero is my dad. He has always been there for me. A self-made man that has the strongest willpower of anyone I have ever met. He seems to always know the right decision.

My dad knows how to persevere as he grew up in a rather poor family and then later opened up his own business. My dad taught me the importance of hard work and doing things to my fullest capabilities. My dad has never scolded me for questioning decisions of his, he encourages asking questions even if he has answered them before. He taught me to never take things for granted.

He treated me with respect. I never heard him use a curse word. He thought it was demeaning and not acceptable behaviour. I have heard other fathers using profanity, but never my dad. It made me very proud of him. I wanted to be like that.

No one in our family ever doubted that my dad adored my mother. I would see him come home from business and take her in his arms and kiss her on her forehead. He complimented her often. He supported her in her interests. He made sure all of us treated her with respect. None of us dared talk back to my mum or we would be in deep trouble with Dad. There is something beautiful when your dad loves your mum that much. I wanted to be a husband like that, and I guess my wife will agree I am.  

There were times I disappointed my father, and I always felt bad about it. Yet, he was never harsh. If I disobeyed him, he made sure I understood that it had better never happen again. I knew my father did it because he loved me. He always made sure I understood that part. Be sure to discipline with love and plenty of follow-up.

It not easy being a dad – now that I am a father of two lovely kids myself. Every father has a heavy burden in providing for his family and raising children to be responsible adults. Every now and then, it helps to re-evaluate how you’re doing. Don’t expect perfection, just improvement. You will enjoy your daddy-duties a little more, and your wife and children will adore you for it.

We have heard stories from different children about their inspiring heroes, but what really runs in the mind of a father?

My Daughter, My Angel
Shashi Tharan, 40,
Fday 4
Fast forward (just a bit) to today and Shashi Tharan is happy to share that his daughter is his daily dose of sunshine when he wakes up every morning. He is grateful that she was a mellow and happy baby and is even more excited now that she’s a curious and laid back toddler.

When Shashi and his wife first decided that they were finally ready to start a family, financial planning was an integral part of the discussion. They wanted to ensure that they could provide only the best to their child from the very first moment she came into existence and was a part of their lives. They didn’t want to be stressed over finances and wanted a work-life balance so they will have sufficient quality time to spend with the baby to bond. This was a vital factor to them both.

When Shashi found out would become a father soon, Shashi was overwhelmed with happiness, but felt responsible that he should provide the best for his offspring that will be soon here to call him “Dad”. One of the first decision he made was to increase their emergency funds. His new goal was to double their emergency fund with delivery and other baby-related expenses in mind. Shashi started stashing away a part of his income and made adjustments to his lifestyle and spending habits to be able to accommodate more for savings towards his unborn child.

Upon the arrival of their beautiful princess, Shashi switched to a higher paying job in his efforts to improve his income and financial status. He knew that with better income prospects, he would be able to provide financially for the kid in all aspects. Not only in the present, but in the long term it will only be beneficial for his daughter.

Though we always hope the best to happen in our lives, we should be equally prepared if things don’t really go our way. For Shashi, having a baby meant building a bigger safety net. Like many parents, Shashi’s first thoughts were worries about how would their daughter be taken care of should something happen to them. Of course no one can plan for everything, but taking care of a few goals gave Shashi some peace of mind. In his effort to always have all her needs taken care of, Shashi has invested in healthcare insurance and education plans to cater for his daughter’s future.

Whenever he and his wife came to the table to discuss on big financial moves, their daughter was the priority consideration – especially on her future education needs. Shashi acknowledges the need for providing his daughter with the best education possible and understand that education expenses will inflate higher when his daughter is ready to go to college.

When asked what is the one advice he has for his daughter, he said he wants to nurture the habit of saving within her from young.

While becoming a father has had an impact on his finances, doing some planning and adjustments has helped to make the transition more enjoyable. He is looking forward to the years he has to joyfully spend with his daughter as she grows up.

Shashi’s Thoughts This Father’s Day: If you can’t afford a child financially, best is not to have one until you can. You’ll regret not being able to give the best to your child. That’ll be more painful. It shouldn’t burden you nor make you work long hours just to make ends meet. Strike a balance in everything you do.

To all dads out there, Happy Father’s Day! Continue being the rocking and awesome father you are!
Fathers Day