August 8th is the Taiwanese Father’s Day since it sounds like the Mandarin words for dad (which is roughly pronounced as “ba ba”). And, I was inspired by my father to write a letter, which was deemed too poignant for him to actually read. So, I thought I might as well post it in both Mandarin and English since I already spent so much effort writing it.
Father’s Day prompted me to want to thank you, my father, for everything that you have done for me.
My father taught me disillusionment
For a girl who fights boys physically and verbally since her youth, my heart wishes for my father to at least understand the basic rights of woman. Sexist rhetorics naturally kills me within.
My father taught me how to act
I remember those long nights when I was but five, waiting to try my best to act silly so you would smile in fear that some minor annoyances at work made you upset at my mother and sister.
My father taught me understanding
My mother always told me that he “loves you guys very much, but simply does not understand how to love you guys in the way that you guys want.” For some reason, I used that to endure for over a decade.
My father taught me jealousy
No matter how good I perform, how well-behaved I am, how beautiful I try to present myself, I am always after others’ children. Does he not know that my supposed “maturity” is but a product of my mother’s teachings along with his negligence?
My father taught me how to be confused about my identity
I don’t know how to be his daughter: for the past seventeen years, he treated me like an award in a glass display shelf, coincidentally made out of the same material as the ceiling preventing women from equal pay.
My father taught me selfishness
Every summer it was always dotted with running his errands. Even though my mother tries her best to hoist the entire responsibility upon her shoulders, I still mourn the death of our vacation. (One month later he would say accusingly on Skype, “The bills skyrocketed when you guys came back.” Does he not know that half of those expenses included him in the center?)
My father taught me contradiction
Despite his claims for his sole purpose being that of ensuring his children’s happiness, his calls always come first. It doesn’t matter what type of church gathering we are planning to go, it doesn’t matter what hiking plans we have. His business comes first.
My father taught me how to find good father-figures
My newspaper advisor…adults at church…how come they all seem to be more concerned about what goes on in this brain of mine?
My father taught me how to wash away hatred with writing
Every single story I write evolves around a girl occupied with thought, attempting to balance a crazy world.