Wednesday, January 02, 2008

"You forgot your school bag?" New School Year

Continuing from my tales of how parents discipline children I have a sibling's tale. How did we look at our parents?

What is your perception of your father?

We would often regale with laughter when we reminince as siblings through the years. Some of the stories are of course very publishable, but some are not.

My brother, sister and I would jump into our father's Land Rover early in the morning to get a good jumpy ride to school. And as usual we would squat at the back, all three of us, looking out and having a good time, drinking in the early morning sights of Sibu. How people cycled, how they carried things on the pian dan, how they pulled their carts. We were also breathing in the smelss of Sibu. The aroma of coffee floating in Blacksmith Road and Island Road, the catchy and intoxicating fragrance of the dry mee or kampua. All our senses were alert. This was like the invocation for our school day to start. It was Sibu coming alive!! And we were alive too!

But that particular morning, my sister was very quiet. She was often the quietest amongst us.

My father driving in the front would pay full attention to the road as Sibu pedestrians were most unpredictable, and sometimes very sightless. So vehicles actually had to watch out and took great care not to knock into anyone, especially cyclists. Foul words would go on the overflow should an incident happen and we would have bad luck for the rest of our lives fromthe curses inflicted.

My father would also remind us not to be too noisy.

And so it was a fairly uneventful ride to school.

Finally, we reached our school gates and father helped us get out of the jeep. We each carried our own school bags.

Father noticed our bagless sister. And he was a little red on the face.

"Where's your bag?" my father asked sternly.

We were terrified of our father actually. My little sister looked up at him and with a mousy squeaking voice she haltingly replied, "I forgot to bring it."

I remember our earth was opening up and the clouds suddenly became very very dark. We waited for the thunder and lightning to strike.

But bless his heart, my father said, "Go to class. I will go home and bring the bag. Next time, don't forget."

We somehow found our legs and arms and moved towards school with aching ears and hearts. I think my sister almost peed in her pants.

We were brought up not to cry for any reason. Stoical,patient,and full of perseverence, we trotted to our classes. We kept this incident in our hearts, with the full understanding that my fa ther must have been very annoyed and even angry. But we really respected him for not raising his hands on us.

The inherent fear we children had for our father made us behave in such a way. We were never rebellious, we were never too loud. We looked at our father in awe. His word was his command.

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