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For the benefit of some readers, ‘XOXO’ stands for ‘Kiss Hug Kiss Hug’. You may also make changes to the order and the number of X’s and O’s. For instance, ‘XXOO’ and ‘XOXOXO’ would mean ‘Kiss Kiss Hug Hug’ and ‘Kiss Hug Kiss Hug Kiss Hug’ respectively.

I guess people of my generation would know. Maybe my guess would be wrong, but one thing is certain. I’m not making this up. Try here for knowledge. In any case, urban use has rendered it to mean hugs and kisses, regardless of its origins.

Who’s the Fat Bunny anyway?

*Drumroll*

My dad.

*Collective gasp*

I call daddy dearest the fat bunny because he’s not skinny (obviously!), and he was born in the year of the Rabbit. We’re like buddies rather than a traditional Asian father-daughter team. The following are excerpts of our interaction from day to day.

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No prizes for guessing why FB mentioned dog meat and not, say…lamb chop or pig’s trotters.

*Then you know – Singlish; in this case, loosely translated to mean something like “Play nice, or else you’ll regret it if the subject (insert threat/warning mentioned before ‘then you know’)”. For example, ‘Better not vandalise the walls or police come to arrest you then you know’. An implicit warning is usually embedded in its tone, and it’s generally directed towards discouraging certain behaviour.

By the way, all characters used above are taken from LINE, which is, in their own words, ‘a global messaging service loved in over 230 countries worldwide’. No, this is not a flagrant attempt to plug this application because they’re paying me; I’m just a big fan of their stickers (which are basically bigger than usual emoticons).

Going back to the topic of the FB.

It may seem like we have fun all the time, but I’m sure many of you would understand, close proximity also means conflict. And we do have our conflicts, sometimes to the extent that I just want to bring a heavy dictionary or phone book down on the FB’s head. I’m sure that he in turn, has wished many times that he has strangled me at birth (mine, not his). Despite our differences, or should I say, because of our differences, we are family.

Blood ties don’t necessarily mean family to me. Not to wash my dirty linen in public, but I have had people who are related to me by blood do things to me or my loved ones that you wouldn’t have expected from someone who is supposed to be family. People just happen to share the same blood type/facial features/part of the DNA, etc. Convenient if you get into an accident, or need an organ transplant, or things along that line, but that’s all.

People need conflict. To change, to improve, to grow. Of course, the wish to resolve that conflict in win-win terms has to be present for conflict to be meaningful. Sharing good times is not a difficult feat. People who stick with you through tough times, chastise you when you do wrong, and accept you for who you are – that’s family to me. The FB has been/done all that for me, and I have shown him the same courtesy. Yes, he gets chastised by me even though I’m his daughter. Gentlemen, don’t hope for dominance in a family of ladies. Well, you may hope, but be gracious about losing.

The FB has played a great influence on me by teaching me, through example, to speak up when things are not right, to fight for the underdog, to be a hands-on leader, and to have a sense of humour no matter what happens.

He reads prodigiously, and speaks and writes English a lot better than many people my age or younger. Most of the baby boomers do, I think. Well, those who were fortunate enough to complete their ‘O’ levels. Since the FB was English-educated and took Malay instead of Chinese lessons, his Mandarin sucked. It sucked big time. Imagine a toddler who spent most of her time at home with her Chinese-educated mother, trying to communicate with her dad after he came home from work, and you can imagine the hilarity that ensued.

Notice that I said his mandarin sucked. It doesn’t now; after more than 10 years on the road as a cabbie, and tuning in to countless mandarin-dubbed Hong Kong drama series, he has learnt enough to amaze me. The human potential. I love. Determination and perseverance, seemingly inherent in people of his generation and markedly reduced or absent in the following generations. If you mention this to the baby boomers, they’ll laugh it off and say that they didn’t have much of a choice and that it was purely for survival. I say we sorely need reasons for survival now, if only for character building.

I don’t know if you can call the FB a good man or not. He’s ‘very good at cutting corners’, and that’s from the horse’s mouth. And if we live in a world of no legal enforcement, he would get money from means that most people would call nothing short of shady. A smart man, a man quick on his feet, a humourous man, and a man quick to support the underdog. But also a hot-tempered man, and a man who doesn’t mind taking shortcuts now and then if it suits him.

I’m not sure when it started, but I learnt to see my parents as human beings rather than someone who is just my dad, or just my mum. Hmm…I don’t mean to say that I treated them inhumanely before that realisation dawned. I’m saying that being a parent is just one of the many roles that people play. The FB is simultaneously a son, a husband, a brother, a co-worker, and so on and so forth.

A good man? An inspiring father? A loving and devoted husband? An unruly son? Debatable.

Ultimately just a man who has lived through various experiences, who has made and will continue to make his fair share of mistakes, and who will live on after his passing in the hearts of those who love him.

Why the sudden tribute to the FB?

Because it’s Father’s Day, everyday.