Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Father's Old Ladder

Each Chinese New Year my father would take out his old wooden ladder and clean up the house. Dusting the old rafters with his homemade bamboo brush he would happily tell us to be careful and not to look up in case we get dust in our eyes.
Those were the days when no one knew about safety eye glasses! He would also tie an old rag on a broom and get rid of dirt and dust in little crevices. His humble offering of help to my mother endeared him to all of us and I believe especially my mother who was heavily burdend with looking after 7 children without any help except a washerwoman.

It was customary to use bamboo to get rid of cobwebs and dust in the old days. So my father would cut a few lengths of small bamboo and tie them up to make a kind of broom to clean the ceiling and other higher parts of house. I thought it was very creative of him to be able to make suck a broom. As bamboo was plentiful around Sibu he would also get long poles and bring them back in his Land Rover. The smaller bamboo was cut from our garden which had a lovely bamboo hedge. This kind of small bamboo hedge can no longer be found in Sibu.

The lovely bamboo hedge would provide us a nice cooling soup. My mum used to take the tips of the bamboo and steam them in a little water with a small piece of rock sugar. I remember this little bowl of nourishment which helped our bodies to cool down. After the bamboo hedge was taken down for redevelopment we sort of outgrew this "dish". We never knew then about Pandas eating bamboo leaves in China. Hence we kids were probably the panda children of Sibu being often fed on bamboo leaves and bamboo shoots!! May be I will write another article on this later.

How I miss having a father doing dutiful housework like that. Even though it was only once a year.

All these years I continue to believe that a father's roles are definite. These are the duties he has to carry out as a father and as a husband or as a son and as a brother. Some men just do not have any idea of what a husband's duties are!! It is sad when that occurs. My son has just created his insightful wish list of what he thinks a father/husband should do. I think he is going on the right track.

I wish for this new year and many new years to follow that all my lady friends and relatives would be able to meet their good matches/future spouses who know what to do as a father/husband.

All fathers must train their sons to prepare for their roles as heads of the family. This is like present day leadership training courses in which men learn what their job descriptions are like - accountability - trustworthiness- hardwork - faithfulness- etc. When fathers pass on their skills to their sons they have indeed fulfilled some of their duties as men of the society.

Actually this was an evening scene which propelled me to look for a photo of an old ladder.

A new hydraulic crane ladder helps a man hang a bright red Chinese lantern to get ready for the Spring Festival in Miri. Upon reflection today fathers are so fortunate in that they are assisted by many different technologies to help them fulfil or play their roles.

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