Fathers have an impact – good or bad, intentional or otherwise – simply by what they do, and what they don’t.
TODAY is Father’s Day. There is no real significance to this date, other than the fact that it has become yet another day for commercial interests to make more money.
And so we are inundated with messages on what we should buy for our fathers – anything from a tie to a power drill is fine.
It is also interesting that many charity organisations have also got into the game, where you can give a donation on behalf of your father in support of various causes.
I won’t pour cold water on those who believe this day should be celebrated in such manner. Having been a father for nearly 30 years, I will say that a day’s celebrations can’t encapsulate the role of a father, which is both unique and challenging.
More so in our Asian culture where fathers tend to play second fiddle to mothers in a nurturing role, and may not have enough opportunities to exert their influence on the children.
But the reality is we, fathers, do have an impact – good or bad, intentional or otherwise – simply by what we do, and what we don’t.
I have written before in this column that the best times in my career were the six years, over two different stretches, that I spent at home as a full-time father.
I had a whale of a time, although my better half did find it tricky explaining to friends why she had to earn the bread and butter while I was gallivanting at home.
Without being tied down to an office routine, I had all the time in the world. During my first stint, when my sons were still quite young, we had plenty of fun activities. Among other things, I built them a playhouse, flew kites with them, and taught them to swim and to ride a bicycle.
On my second stint, when they were already in their pre-teens and had become more aware of the world around them, our conversations often revolved around the values of life.
Fathers, as you receive gifts on Father’s Day, I wonder if you have thought about what gifts you might give to your children in their formative years – gifts that money cannot buy.
Do you teach them how to make the right choices, rather than lay down a list of dos and don’ts?
Do you respect that they have a voice that needs to be heard, or do you exert authority simply because you are the father?
Do you imbue in them the fortitude to overcome obstacles in life, resisting the urge to always jump in and rescue them?
Do you affirm their dreams, or simply tell them to be practical and march to the beat of the world?
I have learnt that these lessons cannot be taught in a textbook format, and certainly not in one sitting.
Lessons in life are passed on over many conversations and through much time spent together.
If we are the kind of fathers who leave home before our children wake up and come home after they are asleep, or even when we are present with them, are not really listening, perhaps it’s time to take stock.
The world tries to make busy dads feel less guilty by highlighting the effectiveness of so-called quality time. But I believe there can be no quality time without time in quantity.
Fathers, full-time or not, are you prepared to leave everything aside when your child comes up to you, because you are the only person he or she can call “dad”? And will you show, through your words and actions, that such moments mean all the world to you?
Happy Father’s Day.
Deputy executive editor Soo Ewe Jin urges every dad to listen to Cat in the Cradle, made famous in 1974 by Harry Chapin. The song is about a father who was too busy to spend time with his son, who eventually grew up just like him, a busy man who did not have time for his father. The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own.
FATHER’S Day is this Sunday and the “Sweet andchocolaty message for fathers” in The Star the other day has prompted meto put on my thinking cap on what a father wants for his children, the generations to come, and the …
Lets not use Money as an all-powerful weapon to buy people
ONE can safely assume that the subject of money would be of interest to almost all and sundry. ABBA, the Swedish group, sang about it. Hong Kong’s canto pop king, Samuel Hui made a killing singing about it. Donna Summers, Pink Floyd, Dire Straits, Rick James and quite a few more, all did their versions of it.
Is money all that matters? The ‘be all and end all’ of life?
This will certainly be a fiercely-debated subject by people from both sides of the divide; the haves and have nots.
Just last week, my 12-year-old asked if the proverb Money is the root of all evil is true. Naturally, like most kids of his generation, he would not have a clue as to how difficult it is for money to come about. Or why, when it does come about, it has the power to make and break a person. To a Gen-Z kid, the concept of having to ‘earn’ money is somewhat alien. Simply because everything he ever needs and beyond is ‘magically’ provided for.
Forget about teaching this generation to earn their keeps, just expecting them to pick up after themselves is a herculean ask. But we are not here to talk about that, instead, is money really the root of all evil? Perhaps, the proper answer would be ‘the love of money is’.
Let’s see what sort of evil comes with this love of money. Top of mind would be corruption, covetousness, cheating, even murder, just to name a few. These, of course, are of the extreme.
What about at the workplace? How does the love of money or rather the lure of money affect the employment market? Let me take on a profession closer to my heart, the advertising industry. Annually, our varsities and colleges churn out thousands of mass communication and advertising grads. Of these, only a handful would venture into the industry. Where have all the others gone?
A quick check with fellow agency heads reveals that many have opted to go into the financial sectors as the starting packages are somehow always miraculously higher than those offered by advertising agencies. A classic case of money at work. For those who have actually joined the ad industry, some get pinched after a while because of a better offer of … money, and more. (As if this is not bad enough, the “pinchers” are often not only from within the industry but are clients!)
The fact is there is absolutely nothing wrong in working towards being the top of one’s profession and getting appropriately remunerated for it. The problem starts when money is used as the all-powerful weapon to ‘buy’ people. Premium ringgit is often paid to acquire many of these hires, some of whom, unfortunately, are still a little wet behind the ears. Paying big bucks for talent is all right, as long as the money commensurate with the ability and experience of the person.
Case in point is if an individual is qualified only as a junior executive with his current employer, should he then be offered the job as a manager and paid twice the last drawn salary? All because some of us are just so short on resources.
Now, hypothetically, if this person was offered the managerial post anyway, would he be able to manage the portfolio and deliver what is expected of him? Would he, for instance, ask what he needs to bring to the table? After all, he has suddenly become the client service director and draws a salary of RM20k a month. Does he actually need to bring more new businesses, or what? We can call ourselves all sorts of fancy titles but the point is we have got to earn it. As they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
Having served on the advertising association council for the past nine years and presiding over it the last two, it concerns me greatly to see the how money is affecting and somewhat thinning the line of qualified successors to the present heads.
The lack of new talents coming into the ad business is increasingly worrisome. Though it may look a seemingly distant issue to most clients, they must now take heed. The agencies are business partners and if there is going to be a dearth of talents it will surely affect the clients’ business in the near future. So rather than pinching the rare good ones from the agencies, would it then not be in the clients’ best interest to instead remunerate the agencies so to secure better and higher standards of expertise? Food for thought, eh?
Pardon me for being old school. I am a firm advocate of the saying that one should not chase money. First learn to be at the top of your trade and money will chase you. Then again, we are now dealing with and learning how to manage the present generation. A generation of young, smart, fearless, and somewhat impatient lot who may not be as loyal as their predecessors. A generation that loves life and crave excitement. Adventure is in their blood and ‘conforming’ is a bad word. And money, lots of it, makes the world go faster for them.
As elders, we need to look hard and deep into how to inculcate the right value of money in this new generation. These are our children. They are the future. If we make no attempt to set this right and instead keep on condoning the practice of over-remunerating them, we will be in trouble. The fact that Malaysia will soon have to compete in the free-trade region further allows money to flex its muscles more. I shudder to think what would happen to our young ones if we keep on mollycoddling them with the wrong idea that they ought to be highly paid just for breathing.
Folks, my sincere apologies if I have inadvertently touched some tender nerves but a wake-up call this has to be. For our dear clients, think about the proposition to review your agency’s remunerations – upwards I mean. This, over taking people from the industry, will save you more in the long run.
For those of us in the agencies, let us keep polishing up our skills and not let money be the sole motivator. If you are good, others will take notice. Work hard, the rewards will come. Just exercise some patience.
I leave you with a saying that one Mr Jaspal Singh said to me when I was a rookie advertising sales rep with The Star eons ago: “Man make money, money does NOT make a man”. (Or woman, of course.)
Till the next time, a very Happy Deepavali to all.
By Datuk Johnny Mun, who has been an advertising practitioner for over 30 years, is president of the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents. He is also CEO of Krakatua ICOM, a local ad agency.
BUTTERWORTH: The man accused of shackling his children in a bathroom is not as cruel as he had been made out to be, according to his neighbours and police.
“Their relationship is very close.
“The children would give their father a goodbye kiss whenever he leaves the house,” said a neighbour, known only as Lee.
Lee said the man had been under much stress since his Thai wife left home about a month ago.
Another neighbour, who wished to be known only as Gan, said the father was a friendly man and he seldom scolded his children.
“I am not sure why he decided to chain the kids, but I guess he was at wit’s end on how to take care of them,” said Gan, who runs a plastics shop next to the double-storey shoplot in Taman Mawar on Jalan Raja Uda where the family stays.
The two children, aged two and six, had been chained inside the bathroom of their home on Wednesday.
Authorities broke into the place after being alerted by neighbours who heard them crying.
Their father has been detained while the children have been warded at the Seberang Jaya Hospital.
Gan said the children were usually left in the one-bedroom home on the first floor when the father went out to deliver goods to customers from 3pm to 10pm.
“He is very busy as he runs a shop on the ground floor while his children live upstairs,” he said.
Asked about the children’s behaviour, Gan said the two-year-old boy was naughty and had thrown toys and chairs out from the balcony.
Another neighbour, Soy, said that she would give the children some bread when she heard their cries.
Penang police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Wira Ayub Yaakob said the community must play its role and help the family instead of blaming the man for his action.
“We must not just look at the case from the criminal aspect.
“Obviously, he was under a lot of stress and he needs help and support from the community at this point,” he said yesterday.
Meanwhile, Raymond Tan, the uncle of the two siblings, has stepped in to take temporary custody of the two children.
The North Seberang Prai district Welfare Department will apply for a court order to grant temporary custody to Tan, pending the outcome of investigations into the case.
Penang Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said Tan had agreed to temporarily care for his nephew and niece, and they would live with his family at his home in Bayan Baru.
He said Tan told him that the children’s father had expressed remorse but explained that he had no choice as his son was hyperactive.
“Sometimes, the child would throw things around at his home and the father decided to chain him as he was afraid that his son might run out of the house,” said Phee, who visited them at the hospital.
Both the children were in good health.
Tan said his 40-year-old brother worked as a chemical supplier and that he was a caring man who loved his children.
“My brother has never done such a thing before and I was shocked over the incident.”
Tan said his Thai sister-in-law, who is said to be two months’ pregnant, had gone backto her hometown in Bangkok to visit her family.- The Star
BUTTERWORTH: Two children, aged two and six, were left home alone for hours and worse, they were chained in the bathroom.
Their father, a despatcher in his 40s, left them chained in their house in Jalan Raja Uda, apparently for “being naughty”.
The girl and her younger brother were left without food for about four hours before they were finally rescued on Wednesday.
North Seberang Prai OCPD Asst Comm Zulkifli Alias said neighbours who heard the children’s cries called a volunteer patrol team, who then alerted the police and Welfare Department.
“The authorities broke into the house through the front door and freed the children,” he said.
When met at the Seberang Jaya Hospital where they were admitted to, the six-year-old girl said: “I was scared and hungry so my brother and I began shouting for our father.”
When asked whether she or her brother was in pain, she said no.
The girl, however, seemed unable to answer when asked whether they had been chained previously.
She said there had been no visits from relatives since they were sent to the hospital.
ACP Zulkifli said the father claimed that the children were naughty, so he chained them and left them without food as punishment.
He also told police that his wife left home about a month ago.
Police picked up a man at a shophouse in Taman Mawar shortly after the children were rescued at about 8.40pm. He has been remanded for four days.
“Initial investigations revealed that the children were chained before he left for work at about 3pm,” ACP Zulkifli said at the district police headquarters in Bertam, Kepala Batas, yesterday.
A neighbour, who works as a mechanic, said he heard the crying while he was at his workshop, which was next to the shoplot near Jalan Raja Uda where the children live.
“I heard them crying at around 2pm on Wednesday. I did not think much of it as I thought the kids were just quarrelling,” said the neighbour who declined to be named.
“So I was shocked to see Rela members at the house around 8.45pm. I only realised the kids were chained when some of them showed me the photographs,” he said.
He said he often heard the children crying since his car workshop opened for business about a month ago.
A Chinese vernacular newspaper in its evening edition quoted the father as saying that he was forced to chain his children because they would dirty the house if they were left unattended.
Penang Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said the children would be placed under the custody of the Welfare Department for now.