My father was not a man of great influence in our community. Nor was he a decision maker of social affairs in which we lived. He is one of many ordinary citizens in our village. He was just a teacher who taught students not far from our home. Perhaps one of his best public roles he played that I can remember was that he was appointed as secretary of some village programs. The reason for his appointment, as I recall, was because of his neat and orderly handwriting.
Father really enjoyed his role as a teacher despite low salaries and the difficulties with supporting seven children. I know this from the spending records in his diary. Sometimes, he didn’t receive any salary for awhile, because he had to pay the bill in the previous month. It was an answer for why my father always said there was no money if we were asking for this and that!
Although Father would always warn us not to ask for tertiary desires such as toys, television, bicycle, and other items, but I know he would fill it in with the high standard of basic needs. I think his support was above average for most families in our village. My Father always provide the best rice and fresh, quality food. Even I know the row of multivitamins provided meets in Father transparent bottles on the table with the label written to mark with Vit B1, Vit B2, Vit B12, Vit C and others. He has a standard and a special procedure directly to cook in the kitchen.
Then I also knew Father subscribed to receive a national magazine monthly which was being used for reference materials in educating his children. He seemed pleased when the magazine arrived and placed it with great care in a special place. However I often borrowed the magazine to read. It is so simple. Yah, he is my Father. When I was a kid, I saw other people that I thought was cooler than my Father. For a time, there was resentment in me why my Father was not cool like this. It’s only the thinking of a kid, comparing anything, including his own Father to others. But I was aware, and my being like this, could not be separated from an outpouring of love for my father.
I still remember my Father did not hesitate to huge me and my brothers with a long cloth of batik while the perception that it was taboo for a man to be wrapped in a shawl around his shoulders. He try to calm a fussy child begging as I was. Father also often serve me and my brothers to better enjoy the night sleeping with his songs. Until now I still feel if his song is the perfect mantra to conquered my eyes that it sometimes difficult to shut.
My Father was not a man who expressed himself directly to us. Mother became a spokesman who was sent by Father to convey what the perceived need was. We often communicated in silence, and I know that he not quite enjoy it, but it had happened. It’s only the little things about him that I try to draw about my Father in my mind. All of these I would say thanks for Father, for all love, tension, misunderstanding and history between us. (***)