My Father’s Hands
for my father
Ranger Gandalf Ah Kong
He toils and toils and toils. Most times without a word. Lately, he says a little more, if we ask him. Questions and answers between a father and a daughter, as perennial as grass.
Some place else. He digs with his bare hands. 1976.
Why do we have to put Bobby to sleep?
– He’s grown too old.
Why are we burying him under the mango tree?
– He’ll make good fertiliser.
Some time ago. 1982.
Why do tigers eat man?
– Man eats chicken. Tigers eat man.
That makes me sad.
– You can’t change that. That’s the circle of life.
Hamburger Hill. He sells some land for my education. 1990.
Why didn’t you just throw the letter away?
– You wouldn’t have forgiven me.
You’re right, I wouldn’t have forgiven you.
– I know.
He holds my hand. He walks me down the aisle. 1995.
What’s in your mind?
– (Beaming) You’re now your husband’s problem.
What’s the best thing I did?
– You found yourself a good husband.
He flies 10,000 miles. 2000.
I feel a terrible pain.
– It’s just an ant bite.
It feels much worse.
– What’s the sound of one hand clapping?
Moonriver Lodge. Christmas 2009.
What are you growing?
– A rose.
– For your mum.
He tells me to throw it in the air. No tooth fairies in Merdeka Garden. 1976.
Will my friends laugh at me?
– Box them on the nose if they do.
Will I feel better?
-You will be fine.
Will I ever feel happy again?
-You will feel happy again tomorrow.
Will my tooth grow back?
-You will always have teeth.
Will I still be beautiful?
– You will always be beautiful.
March 29, 2010
Poet-Artist Ranger PEK