Today, as I support my friends during this tough times of losing two family members within days, it brought me back to the times when I lost my Dad many years ago.
My Dad saw World War 2, racial riots in the 60’s, the booms and recessions of Singapore.
By the time, I came to understand things, I never seen him drown himself in booze to overcome the tough times.
He always bounced back.
In fact, we never missed a meal at all. Thanks to Mom budgeting skills too.
My Dad was illiterate and during those days where the Police was not strong, he formed gangs to protect the kampong. Good gangs… sort of like unions… sort of. Not the bad gangs that did nothing except to prey on the weak.
Later when there were more law and order in the streets, Dad went to work in shipyards.
Those days, master-craftsman were afraid of their disciples snatching their rice bowls. Like martial arts, the ancient teachers will keep one stroke for himself so that he would always be the best.
My Dad was different. He taught everything he knew about welding metal. Nobody would teach him, so he would observe, copy, and model.
Eventually, he became a legendary welder. People would learn from him and he would teach them openly.
During my secondary school and poly holidays, I would work with him.
Sometimes, I would work for my Dad’s friend. And strangers would tell me how my Dad taught them skills that enable them to live a good life. With respects of my Dad, their words to me would have less vulgarities.
I would go home, happy and excited and tell Dad. Most of the times, he could not recall this person. I could only imagine hundreds, perhaps even thousands of people learnt from him.
They would also tell me stories of those tough assignments where many people attempted and failed, but yet my Dad would be able weld, with the tool tied to a broom stick, without being able to see the welds, and complete the task with his eyes closed and all by “feel”.
Once, a man associated with his team was insulted by a foreigner. Together with the other leaders on the tiny offshore oil refinery island, they declared a “no work day”.
The whole island came to a stop as everyone on the small island (off Singapore) put down their tools.
The foreigner had no choice but to apologies and work began the following days.
My Dad was one of the 四大天王.
There were few more stories of my Dad standing up for his mates, going the extra mile to ensure fair treatment, sharing his bread with them during tough times.
There was no union then. My Dad and his leaders were the Union to ensure fair treatment.
I am very proud of my Father.
I am very proud to be his Son.
My Dad would never teach me how to weld even when I worked with him. He did not want me to follow his footsteps.
The times I worked with him, were the only times I had him without sharing with my other siblings.
It was a Dad and Son bonding time, exclusively.
I get to hear his stories (especially those on world war 2) , his life experience and his life philosophies.
Today, while at Mandai Crematorium, I cried silently. While I felt the pain of my friends losing their loved ones, the same pain carried the pain of me missing my Father.
While my original intent was there to support my dear friends, I felt supported by them too.
While I woke up early to serve them, I felt I was being served as well.
Perhaps this is what leadership is about – to serve and to support.
And the members will in return, serve and support the leaders.
The tribe can then grow together, serving and supporting each other.
Alone, I can only do so much.
With all of you, we could do wonders, even creating wealth for our families perpetually. This is one of my desires.
Will you let me serve and support you to success? If yes, how do you like me to serve you?
Type your reply below so I can know and will make plans.
Investor, Practitioner & Full-Time Coach