Actually I don’t know much about his childhood. He is not the type who likes to talk much, especially about him. However from the story I pick up a little bit from here and there, I can figure out that he did not have a happy childhood as good as I have. Please note it does not mean that he did not have one single happy time in his childhood. Of course he still had some happy time in his childhood.
His parents came from mainland China. I never know why they migrated from the mainland to Indonesia – it could be because of the poverty and they were just trying to get a better life in Indonesia. Honestly, that is a wild guess I made since if I get it right his parents were come from very a poor farmer family in mainland china (his mother was illiterate – if this can be used as a measure). His parents migrated to Indonesia as soon as they got married (this looks like a honeymoon to me ). However being poor, I don’t expect his parents had a good living in Indonesia. There would be lot of hard work in Indonesia.
The truth is I have no idea how their life changed in Indonesia. However I figure it got better. They have four children, two daughters and two sons (rumor was there should be other children, but they did not survive childhood). He is the youngest one. All the children were able to go to school (Chinese speaking school was still permitted at the time).
Even though the children can all go to school, it did not mean they have a good living (in a physically way). They did not have the most up-to-date toys at the time, they did not have many clothes (four pieces of clothes is enough for each child), and chicken for meal was for special occasion only. But kids in all time do not need fancy toy to make them happy anyway, kids can have a just a piece of paper and still can play happily with it. As for him, he used to play by the river with his friend and brother. He even learned to swim there. He enjoyed playing there. He could go there after school everyday. This is of course a happy childhood for him.
By the way, do you know there is old saying which says, ‘happiness and material (money) cannot be compared with each other’ or ‘money can buy happiness’? That is quite true, however for some family lack of money might be a great trouble. It can be source of argumentation. Sadly, this also happened in between his parents. An additional source of argument was because his father was a good looking guy (it was not like his father was having affair – more like ‘unhealthy’ jealousy). I will not write more detail about this. I am just going to leave it up to your imagination about how children feel if their parents always have a fight.
As if it was not enough, he had to quit school shortly after enrolled in junior high school. This must be a difficult time for him since he is the kind who really likes school and study. This would also mean good bye to his dream of becoming a doctor. The reason for his quitting school was because the Indonesian government closed all the Chinese speaking school after the PKI (Indonesia Communism Party) revolution.
During this chaos period, his parents decided to return back to China. They sold everything they had and bought some preparation for going back to China. They bought coats, etc and waited at the port every day (the port is about two hour driving in nowadays from their house) for the ship that supposed to bring them back to China. However, the ship just never came and they had to go back to the house again. WAIT!!! – forgive me for making mistake. They did not have house anymore since they had sold anything they had in order to return to China. Back in the town, they had to start everything from zero again.
After everything seemed to go back to normal again, which means they had someplace called home and also a little grocery store, the chaos period had stopped. He and his siblings still could not attend school and continue their education. Partly because of financial issue, and partly because of there were no longer Chinese school open (he could not switch to Indonesia school because of language barrier and education system). Maybe this was sad for him, but this was nothing compare to what come next.
His father passed away so suddenly. There was no sign, no warning, and no sickness. His father just passed away in the grocery store. From then on, he and his brother had to take care of the family. They became the back bone of the family. While their other teenage friends were still having time for fun, they gave up time for fun and relax. They were busy finding way to improve the family financial situation and became the family back bone.
Both of them had done lot of job to earn money. They are really a hard worker. A few years later, they life became much better. They had much bigger store – and compare to their childhood meal: chicken was served not for a special occasion only. Another event during this period was the two older sisters get married. One even life overseas with her husband.
A few year later – when he and his brother were finally could build a large house and have more stable income, he got married with the girl next door. There was no romantic story involve in his marriage since both of them barely knew each other. It was an arrange marriage by his older brother. After the marriage they went to Taiwan and Thailand for honeymoon.
At first the young couple did not have anything in common. He was so quite, working before the sunrise until pass bed time. While the wife is the romantic and like to joke type. The marriage also had a hard time since his mother did not approve with the wife family and giving his wife a hard time. Gradually, it was not only his wife that had a hard time because of his mother; he too had a hard time. His mother started to treat him differently with his brother. However, he remained silent through the years.
Even tough his marriage at first had a hard time finally he and his wife are able to overcome it. Love is really can grow with time. They understand and can tolerate each other now. He also changes a lot. He still remain silent when his mother treat him bad, however, he will stand up for his wife when his mother gave his wife a hard time. Just before his mother passed away – when his mother got sick, he and his wife will take care of his mother together. It was truly a good example for ‘Love your enemy as you love yourself’.
Together with his wife, they have three daughters and have no son. He loves his daughters much – he will do anything for his daughters. He showers his daughter with clothes, toys, and other things. He takes care of them when they were sick. He makes sure each daughter can go to college and have at least bachelor degree. He makes sure that there would be family vacation every school long holiday. The most important thing is, he make sure that his daughter will not have parents who always have quarrel with each other. The daughters do spend a really good childhood.
Being a father to three daughters, he also learned to understand woman better. It still likes ‘Man from Mars and woman from Venus’ version. He is still unromantic to his wife – people cannot be force into something they cannot be. But he can be very patient waiting for the ladies to get ready. He learns about perfume, clothes, etc so he could understand his daughter talk or his wife talk. But don’t trust him to buy clothes for lady J Best, he learned to understand cosmetic as well, he understand which acne treatment is best. In return, he also teaches his daughter cars, phone, and other thing father and son will do.
However, he might be still has some disappointment because he does not have son – like most Chinese son is highly expected to carry on the family name while daughter not. Lack of son made him threat his nephews as his son. He takes care of them like a father will.
So this is the end of the story about him. I really thank the Lord for giving him in my life. Well if you wonder, I am one of his daughters.