|S. Veeriah Pillay (seated centre) with his children, their spouses and his grandchildren on the occasion of his 80th birthday.
Each year as we approach Father's Day, I am reminded of all fathers and their ongoing influence on our lives. Fathers have a way of guiding and shaping the lives of their children - whether it's welcomed or not.
In my case, the influence turned out to be quite positive.
My father was always strong, busy, disciplined and hardworking. He talked all the time! But most of our conversations centred on family, education, discipline and not much else. He was silent on personal matters. Of course, he constantly got on about going to the temple, bajans and prayers.
But when it came to the important things in life - or to tell us that he loved us - well, that's just something my dad never did or said. This is not a criticism of my dad at all. It's just an observation of how things were “back then.”
Nevertheless, my siblings and I knew that we were loved then, as we still do now.
Even though my father and I never had many heart-to-heart talks with us, we spent a lot of fruitful time together.
Throughout his lifespan he has touched many people's hearts and he has done a lot of social services. He is an ex-government servant. He speaks fluent English, Tamil, Malay and even a bit of Hokkien.
He has received awards – the Pingat Jasa Kebaktian (PJK) and Pingat Jasa Masyarakat (PJM) - from the Yang di-Pertua Negri and even the “Tokoh Warga Tua,” (an award for outstanding and model senior citizen). He has played an active role on the Jawatankuasa Kampung Berapit (Kampung Berapit committee), Health Department, Pusat Serenti Serdang and lastly he was the Assistant Marriage Registrar, too.
Actually, my dad is just a humble person who lived in a town called Bukit Mertajam and in a village called Berapit for more than 50 years. He is well known there and with God’s grace he is as fit as a fiddle.
My dad just turned 80 on April 10. We celebrated his 80th birthday with great fanfare in his hometown of Berapit.
His seven children (with our spouses) and his 14 grandchildren, family and friends decided to throw him a grand dinner party to celebrate.
His dinner was attended by 500 relatives and friends.
For this Father's Day, on behalf of my siblings, our spouses and his grandchildren, I would like to send these wishes to dad:
“Wishing you a memorable day. Happy Father's Day, Appa! We love you!”
Siyamaleswari S. Veeriah