He’s Back!

I meet my dad for lunch every Sunday.

In addition to fish of all kinds, he enjoys “unhealthy” food, like pork leg (especially the skin), meat from pig’s head, pork and beef offal such as tripe, spleen, intestines, liver, etc. You get the idea – basically food loaded with fat and cholesterol, food his doctors advised against. But then, all his regular doctors have died. Last year, three of his sisters passed away too.

Most of his friends have kicked the bucket as well. We used to jest that he plans his social activities based on the obituary ads he reads in the papers.

He is a great cook, and boasts of some “signature” dishes but we also eat out often. Last Sunday we visited one of his favorite stalls.

A stall in Marsiling operated by a husband-wife team from Xiamen.

And guess what we ate, among other dishes?

Braised pork leg. Look at that skin!

Every Sunday, after lunch, I would stay to shoot the breeze with him.

His views of world events and his observations of world affairs – even Reuters, Financial Times, BBC, The Economist, The New York Times, The Atlantic, Foreign Affairs, The Spectator, New Statesman, etc cannot beat his analysis. (I know. I spend thousands of hard-earned dollars each year subscribing to non-Singapore news publications.)

After all, he worked for 46 years with the government in a role involving investigative research. He was the department’s longest-serving employee.

I love to hear him talk, and to listen to his solutions to the ills of the world.

Last Sunday, he started off condemning Israel for over-doing things – “they are too much, they overdid it this time, they’ve gone too far” he lamented, shaking his head.

Then he grumbled about a certain relative’s house – “one person living in a three bed-room apartment, plenty of space, but the whole apartment is chock-full of stuff, can’t even find a place to sit. What if there’s a fire?” He was really concerned.

He then moved on to gripe about able-bodied people using personal mobility scooters – “these people are not handicapped, why are they going around riding these scooters, to avoid paying COE and road tax on regular motorbikes?” and “there will be a new speed limit imposed later this year and how are those genuinely disabled people who work in food delivery and using such scooters going to make a living when their scooters would be traveling at a snail’s pace; isn’t their livelihood dependent on the number of deliveries they can undertake a day?” and “pedestrians are usually casually sauntering while staring at their mobile phones, not caring that the disabled are riding these scooters using the same path, this slows the scooters down; mark my words, someone will get hurt one day in an accident, it’s just a matter of time!”

Next, he moved on to complain about pension payments – “for someone who has retired decades ago and getting a couple hundred bucks a month and is still alive today and still receiving the same meager amount as he was receiving when he first retired, how is the pensioner going to survive in this day and age? What is he going to live on? Cup noodles? This is election year; the PAP is throwing money at people left and right but the pensioners have conveniently been forgotten. We have given the best years of our lives to build Singapore, we made incalculable personal sacrifices! And this is how they thank us? This new batch of politicians are largely useless morons. They are ignoring us!”

Very intense, but very coherent. Cataclysmic display of righteous indignation.

I developed a headache listening to him. That’s saying a lot for a self-declared curmudgeon like me.

But it’s a positive sign.

Of course he wasn’t just whining, complaining, bitching and moaning. He offered viable suggestions for resolving the issues he raised, but that will take another long blog post for me to detail. Perhaps he should monetize his ideas by making a proposal to his publishers.

Yes, The Patriarch is back! The Don has returned! Full of anger, passion and vehemence. Championing for wrongs to be righted! (By the way, he lives in the Champions Court vicinity.)

The year before, he suffered a mild stroke, then struggled with the side effects of Covid booster vaccine shots and was in and out of hospitals. Last year, his erratic blood pressure and heart rate caused everyone to worry. Peace of mind came when he finally had a pacemaker implanted. Less spry now though mentally as sharp – if not sharper – than a tack, he has also since hired a live-in caregiver. We therefore now worry less about the physical aspects of his aging. (My dear mum succumbed to illness 31 years ago.)

Today he is in top form! At age 93 – he was born in 1931 – he has just written another colossal doorstopper of an extremely well-researched book. Yup, one weighty tome of at least 1,500 words! Name me another nonagenarian who’s still authoring books!

Like Clint Eastwood, he sure as hell didn’t let the old man in.

I used to joke that he will outlive me, but every time I say that, I get chided, so I’m now just going to say I think I will inherit his longevity genes.

It’s Sunday again. I’m looking forward to lunching with him today.

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