31st May 2016 – The night before, my dad asked me whether I would like to follow him outstation to Bahau, located in the state of Negeri Sembilan, which is next to my state, Selangor. I hesitated half a second then I quickly nodded and said,” Sure, dad!”
It’s not that I don’t want to be with my dad (Definitely not the case!), it’s just that I wouldn’t be able to do my things in the van. Because I have travel sickness, it would be useless for me to bring laptop or any reading materials along. I thought of listening to podcast but my mobile phone (redmi) is always running out of storage space and battery. I added a 16 GB memory card but not a single app can be moved to the external memory card, totally speechless about that! Thus, I would be pretty much sitting in the van doing nothing at all, just breathing.
However, I suddenly thought of I just want to be Be with My Dad. I just have to stop thinking about doing my own things. Studying abroad, being separated with my LOVED ONES really reconstruct the nerves in my brain. I now take relationships heavily – the connection with every people I truly care. The time spent with them.
Anyway, I believe that would be another long story to tell how living and studying abroad have changed me from inside out.
And so I decided to wake up super early that morning. Since I would be doing nothing in the van throughout the day, I thought of waking up early to have a proper devotional time for God and do some exercise to shed off the extra pounds I have put on in Ireland, before staying stagnant in the van for the rest of the day. Nonetheless, I seem to have lost my hearing ability after coming back home from Ireland. My ear just doesn’t recognize the alarm anymore. I didn’t leave my bed until my dad came and knocked at the door. Super ‘pleased’ with my plan came tumbling down that day.
Now, my dad is a very knowledgeable person, I mean this is just from my perspective. He knows a lot of things. Everybody knows a lot of things but he knows things that I am interested in. Of course, for so many years, I have been listening a lot but the pathetic thing is, I forget. So this time, I quickly asked for a scratch paper to scribble down as soon as the knowledge started to flow out from his mouth.
I decided to put the ‘knowledge’ here to have a permanent record. Now this ‘knowledge’ can be of anything, maybe it’s the knowledge about my dad, like the first one:
He eats fruits prepared by my mum in the afternoon. I know that because I started to gobble down the grapes as soon as the engine was started. And I was asking him to eat as well, otherwise the grapes might vanish before anyone had realized (especially the seedless ones). Then he said, eating them in the noon will help keep him awake from the afternoon slump.
As we are going to Vietnam in July for a short family trip, we started to chat about Vietnam. He said Mekong River’s point of origin is at Tibet in China and through Laos and Myanmar, forming a natural border between them, through Cambodia and its delta is in Vietnam.
Because China is building dams across the river for irrigation and electricity purposes, the river flow has been greatly reduced when it comes to Vietnam. Thus, disputes have been happening since the Mekong River is being shared, its benefits must be shared equally among the few countries too.
Related to the Mekong River, freshwater stingrays (ikan pari) can be found here. Some could be of giant size!
Speaking of Vietnam, I told my dad about a Vietnamese I made friend with in Ireland. She is studying in Finland for her full course but has transferred to Ireland for a year as an Erasmus student.
“Wow, then she get to see the midnight sun in Finland!”
“What is that?” Then I learned that the Sun can stay up for 24 hours long during the summer in those region.
Then we moved on. Vietnamese language are originated from Chinese but it has been replaced by Roman letters after France’s colonization.
Many Roman words end with ‘us’ such as Jesus, octopus and Damascus.
I have no idea how we jumped to talking about Japan. Probably my dad was trying to explain the differences between languages derived from Latin/ Roman as opposed to Chinese, such as Korean and Japanese. So here we go. Back to year 2011, travelling to Japan still required to apply Visa. It’s the year my parents wanted to visit Japan but then their dream was doomed prematurely due to the devastating earthquake and tsunami took place in March 2011. Now everyone can fly to Japan. However, however, just as Japan was mentioned in the van, we watched the news last night that another earthquake had just happened in Japan. Poor Japan. We find it hard to believe how the people over there are living in constant fear and always facing the terrible mess that ensued.
As he drove by a mosque on our left hand side, he talked a bit of the function of Minaret, the small tower associated beside the mosque. In ancient times, it was used to call and gather the people for prayers in the desert.
Moving on, we came to Cameron Highland’s talk as my dad intended to bring us to revisit Cameron again (I believe it’s his favorite place as we were there last summer). But to his/our dismay, a landslide just took place a few days ago. Maybe we are not going there anymore. Then he said, actually coffee was first cultivated there instead of tea, but the production was not good, thus it was replaced by tea plantation.
Besides that, he went to the variety of tea types which all of them come from the same type of tea leaves. The difference between green tea, Chinese tea and English tea is the amount of oxidation applied.
After that, we chatted about the passion for travelling, which mine is obviously inherited from him. He said he has always been spending less on cars, clothing and food just to increase the chance for travelling. He also said if one is very rich, of course he can spend on everything but this is not the case for him, thus, he chooses travel on top of others.
At this point, I felt sorry for him again. As because of me studying abroad (a very wrong decision), he has to continue to work so hard. Seeing him lifting so many heavy bags of food chemicals even at the age of 63 (I helped but I guess my help was no more than 3%), river of sweat came free flowing and his shirt stayed glued to his back. I just feel so helpless whenever I delve into the cruel reality.
Anyway, I enjoy this trip immensely. I have learned an awful lot from my beloved daddy. The other half of the day, my eyes were struggling to stay opened, I did try my best to stay awake as I know my time here is limited, just 3 months and time flies when I am most happy (saddest truth ever). My dad probably saw my eyes were half opened, he told me to have some sleep and so I signaled my brain to do so.
I truly wish I can always put everything I cherish into permanent record but it’s kinda hard. Anyway, I will try my best to record as much as I can. I just don’t want them to just go by like this and be forgotten.