Today, I felt my heart properly break for the first time. The course I’m studying has quite a heavy workload so I haven’t been going home for the past three weeks. My father came to visit me today. He is rarely ever free and today is one of those days that he could make time.
My father is close to 70 years old and he is still not retired. He works as a cleaner at a country club during the day and holds another cleaning job at the community centre near my house at night. For some reason, he had half a day off today and he said he wanted to tour my hall. He came over and after showing him my room, we decided to get dinner at the Kopitiam at Kent Ridge MRT.
I know my father doesn’t have money so I offered to pay for his dinner. Guess what? The silly man ordered the cheapest thing he could find – fishball noodles. There was a lady (very well dressed, looks to be at least middle-class) infront of us in the queue and she left her chilli on the counter then walked away somewhere. My father didn’t see it and thought that that was an extra sauce so he just took it and put in on our tray. When the lady returned, she said very sarcastically that someone took her chilli while glancing up and down at my father. He immediately apologised and explained to her that we were not aware and that she could have her chilli back but she replied “你动过的我才不要。肮脏死”, which loosely translates into “I don’t want what you’ve touched. You’re dirty to death”.
This was when I realised that my father was still in his uniform. I almost screamed at this lady seeing as she was clearly younger than my father and was being rude. However, my father held me back and simply apologised again. He said that he’s used to it and it suddenly hit me that this is what he does all on a day to day basis. He apologises and lets people walk over him. He is invisible. I always knew my dad worked hard and is always at the mercy of others but seeing it with my own two eyes was an entirely different experience. I couldn’t even hold back my emotions and start tearing uncontrollably while we were eating. I had to lie that I was tearing because I got chilli in my eye but the truth is I was heartbroken by how my dad has to swallow his pride all the time.
I can’t wait for the day when I can tell him to stop working and stop apologising for everything. All my dad ever did was love and dote on me but everyone else has just been so awful to him. Dear rich people, what did we ever do wrong to you?