Sunday, June 21, 2009


I blog from the lanai, facing the door of my unit. I paused to think and looked towards the door. A figure passed by but looked my way before moving off. It was my PA. I know it. Yes, it was last night’s dream, an eve of Fathers’ Day brief dream encounter. I know he has a message….it will come to me later. I know it.

My Pa was an employee of CEB (Central Electricity Board), latter LLN and now TNB. His friend, the late Tan Sri Zainal (later the Chairman of LLN) gave him the job as a meter-reader in Taiping. The pay was meager and he held two other jobs keeping accounts at Universal Radio and the Coronation Amusement Park, to put bread on the table and to always give us the best (books, toys, comics) he could afford. He held on to these moon-lighting until he was transferred to Ipoh. Tan Sri promoted him to Inspector of meter readers when Penang and the mainland of then Province Wellesley opened up to heavy industries. His job was to register the readings of the factories. It was then that he was asked to “adjust” the readings for a “reward”. Can you imagine what an extra RM500 X # of factories will amount to?

He resisted. He could sleep soundly albeit with boisterous snoring.

He took early retirement because he did not want to die without paying up for the house.

To me, he was the gentlest of gentlemen. The harshest words he could utter was “Bloody Kai Tai” when watching live tournaments in football and badminton when our players did not give their best. By the way he took his first and last beer at my stag party!

Me, I am a poor shadow of my PA. I don’t think I will ever be even the shadow of my PA.

His first grandson, Bernard Khoo-Farquharson was born when he took ill. He kept asking if Patrina was bringing Bernie home from the Bahamas. But he kept Bernie’s photo on his bedside table. He could not hold on but I put Bernie’s photo in his clasped hand to take with him to Heaven. Dang, he is up there now lah taking care of all of us.

This Bette Midler song that we sang during his funeral service most appropriately (every line of it) sums up what my PA was to me. The whole verses of this song too appeared in his Orbituary Notice. I’d like to share with you, especially all you out there who cannot hug your PA today to wish him a Happy Fathers’ Day.

ASIDE: I played this song in one of the seminars I conducted. The next morning before the session one of my participants introduced me to her husband. The man, took my hands, shook it firmly and said: "Mr Khoo, I want to thank you for whatever you did. We have been separated for 3 years. Yesterday at 6pm, she called me and said that she was coming home."


Anonymous said...

Happy Father Day Uncle Zorro.

You mentioned the The Late Tan Sri Raja Zainal. Emmmm... Tan Sri and Puan Sri were very kind good honest couple; at times we family missed them too.

They're kind couple....

Kata Tak Nak said...

Happy Father's Day to you sir.

Estrelita Soliano Grosse said...

Zorro, I really enjoyed reading this and I love the song too!

Kisses for you!


Farida said...

Hi Zorro,
Happy Father's Day, Zorro. Hope the couple are still in touch with you.

Cheers, farida

zorro said...

Anon2:58pm. Yes they were the epitome of kindness. Although Raja was royalty he mixed with my dad. Puan Sri, being Chinese used to come play chinese "chi-key" with my Mum and Grandma and if I was around I had to babysit Zarina who later married the current Sultan of Selangor. Those were the days, but not forgotten by my generation. we wish for the return of those days when the politicians did not mess up our lives.

zorro said...

KTN - similar wishes to you....we cannot hug our dads today but we hug closely their memories and what they made of us.

Lita....thanks for the cyber kisses....remember what to do when Stephen comes up!

zorro said...

Farida....yes but not lately as they have migrated to Melbourne. But close to two years after that incident I got an invite to a full-moon dinner for their third and only girl,Bernardette. I rescheduled a business trip to Philippines for that occasion.

Patricia said...

Happy Father's Day, Bernard. I know your Pa is really proud of you as he looks down from heaven.


bennyloh said...

Hi Zorro,
I thought my own father was useless; and I am greater than him until my children(three of them!)tells me that I am useless. They can't be wrong! I have wronged my dad all this while. All Dads are great including you, hero, Mr. Zorro.
Happy Father's Day to you

Anonymous said...

You reminded me of my father, Bernard. Just like you, I feel like I may have disappointed him - as far as achievement is concerned.
He passed away seven years ago. I wish you and the others had met him - he was always the life of the party, the one with a contagious laugh, and he was highly intelligent. What little social awareness I have came from him.
There were many things I didn't say to him and do for him before he died and this will always haunt me.
I will always feel that I was never good enough for him.
That is the problem with some of us, I guess - we hold our dads up so high that it is impossible to get to that level.

joenathan said...

Happy father's day ,sir.I sincerely hope those shiny days will return oneday,sans the present politicians.

Like to inform you,that the La Salle,Peel is no longer in existence,it has been demolished a couple of years ago and replaced with a new school building,called Sek Ren/Men Kebangsaan Yakoop Latif or something to that effect.That was the time it crossed my mind that,this would probably be the beginning of the end of all the other La Salle brother schools.So sad.

zorro said...

Joe....thanks for the heads up on LaSalle Peel road. There was where I met the late Leonard Wong.

Anonymous said...

No matter what, my dad "IS" my dad.

I've always judged him. Now that I'm a parent, I "judge" myself...!

My children are my worst judges..!
I now know...

Happy fathers day to my dad & to all dads out there....!!!!!!!!!

TheWhisperer said...

Thanks, Zorro..

Appropriate song for my dad who passed on one week short of Father's Day.

Happy Father's Day to all

kamsiah said...

ASIDE: I played this song in one of the seminars I conducted. The next morning before the session one of my participants introduced me to her husband. The man, took my hands, shook it firmly and said: "Mr Khoo, I want to thank you for whatever you did. We have been separated for 3 years. Yesterday at 6pm, she called me and said that she was coming home." _______Sometimes people come into your life and you know right away that they were meant to be there, to serve some sort of purpose, teach you a lesson, or to help you figure out who you are or who you want to become.
If someone loves you, give love back to them in whatever way you can, not only because they love you, but because in a way, they are teaching you to love and how to open your heart and eyes to things.

If someone hurts you, betrays you, or breaks your heart, forgive them, for they have helped you learn about trust and the importance of being cautious to whom you open your heart.

Thanks for sharing this story.

Today is the tomorrow you were worried about yesterday.

Think About it? Was it worth it?

Have a wonderful week ahead. Kamsiah

zorro said...

Kamsiah, beautifully said. Thanks for visiting.

chl said...

hi uncle Bernard,
really enjoyed reading tis post,and sorry to wish u a late Happy Father's day

fr andrew

~Penang Mali said...

Uncle Z,
Very poignant, very heartfelt. I'm touched to the base of my heart.

~Penang Mali