How would you define success? To me, it means pushing not only your own limits, but the limits of society. As all little girls look up to their dads, I regard mine as the embodiment of success.
“Run, Michael!” The boy yelled to his friend as he dove under a hedge. Empowered by the invectives, the boy named Michael dropped to the ground and rolled away from the impending explosion. KA-SPLAT! The boys clutched their stomachs in suppressed laughter at the horrified villager, who was splattered from head to toe in exploded pig faeces. The boy pocketed the rest of his explosives and ran away, scouring for another pile of manure to explode.
This boy is my father. I didn’t believe him the slightest when he said he grew up capturing cockroaches as sustenance for farm chickens, or that he exploded pig manure beside unsuspecting pedestrians for fun- these memories are in stark contrast to the refined and hardworking businessman he is today.
The abundant wealth of the boy’s family was ripped from them as a result of the Chinese Communist Revolution. He was one of the fortunate ones who made it to a safe haven- Hong Kong. Life as a new teenage immigrant in Hong Kong was unimaginably hard. He spoke only an uncommon dialect and was rejected from all the schools he applied to.
He worked a myriad of summer jobs to save up money for airplane tickets and college fees. Boulder by boulder, he pushed away the things that caved and restrained him, making his way slowly into the opportunity-filled, outside world. From studying in a rickety, termite-infested slum, to becoming a graduate of a prestigious world-class university in the USA, Dad has followed quite the tortuous road to success.
He continues to insist that, after all those tumultuous years he had to endure, my mother and the three kids that popped out of her were his grand rewards. All who know him knows that he is a doting dad. The vivid stories he tells of his childhood years inspire me to craft delightful narratives, which are always received with a knowing smile on his wizened face.
Dad is my mentor and friend- God knows how many sleepless nights were spent working around the clock for me. While I’m certainly glad I don’t have to hunt cockroaches in the dirt, I appreciate my father’s journey and use it as motivation to power my own path and the future paths of my little sister and baby brother.