A father’s love transcends borders and time. Meet Mr Toh, a father who has to endure the pain of being away from his family due to work commitments. Anchoring his family through the good times and the bad, his story shed light on the magnitude of a father's love, and how the value of kinship brings a family closer together in the face of adversity.
You may have also heard this about fathers, “no one knows they are missing until we cannot find Mom!” Not for Samantha though, a return overseas Singaporean, who shares a strong bond with her father – one that was strengthened during her undergraduate days in England.
Family Comes First
That was the only thing that ran through Mr Toh’s mind, when he swerved into oncoming traffic while trying to avoided a head-on collision with a drunk driver in Australia. Fortunately, he emerged from the near-accident unscathed. This experience made him realised once again, how much his family meant to him. When Mr Toh shared this incident with the family, his son, Javier took it the hardest as he had a very close relationship with his father. Javier felt helpless that he wished he could have been there for his father during such a traumatic period.
Mr Toh, takes pride in his role as a father, and he is very proud of his children’s achievement. With the Tohs being a close-knit family, working overseas was especially difficult for him as he had to miss out on many important family events and milestones. However, his close brush with death motivated him to spend more time with his family by making frequent trips back to Singapore.
Mr Toh (right) and his son, Javier (left)
“Practically, the process of travelling overseas has become a lot easier due to our accessibility to other countries,” he explained. “However, mentally, being away has taken a toll on me as I will miss home and family.” He added that the hardest part of being overseas is the absence of his family’s “companionship and daily interactions”, which made dealing with the stress of workplace issues challenging.
Whenever Mr Toh is not in Singapore, he connects with his family via WhatsApp messages and Skype calls. Mr Toh also shares that he takes comfort in the sight of the weather vane near his area of residence in Australia, as it reminds him of the wind socks along Lim Chu Kang road in Singapore, near his childhood home. He looks forward to relocating his work back to Singapore for good to spend quality time with his family and children, and Javier could not be happier.
The weather vane in Australia that reminds Mr Toh of home.
A Pillar of Support
During her time as a student studying abroad in England, Samantha relished in the comforts of home – brought right to her doorstep. During her time there, her father sent her a parcel filled with all her favourite food (cup noodles and Prima Taste Prawn Noodle pastes) and brand new stationery.
“[My dad] gave me pens and markers in 10 different colours, just because I mentioned casually over a call that I was making colourful mind maps to study,” recalled Samantha. The tiny act of love was a reflection of their close father and daughter relationship.
“Initially, I was appalled as the cost of shipping that huge box was probably more than the cost of everything inside the parcel,” she added. “But it really did make my day and was a great encouragement for my finals.”
Samantha Kong (right) and her father (left)
When Samantha made the decision to study overseas, her father was very supportive of her decision. He also felt that it was her chance to live independently while pursuing her dream of studying law. Grateful for the opportunity, she thus began her journey as a student in England for three years.
Although Samantha kept in touch with her father often, it was not easy to be so far away from home. “For me, the most upsetting part about being away from my dad was how little time we had together during the year,” she said. Sometimes, her father would visit her in England, usually staying for one to two weeks each time. During summer breaks, Samantha would return home, but having to set aside time for internships and catching up with friends, it made her feel that there was always too little time left for family.
Now that she’s back after completing her degree, Samantha makes the most out of her family time. She shares that being overseas has improved her relationship with her parents, as they learnt to be more open with each other.
Samantha also considers her father to be her biggest cheerleader and role model. “[He] gives his love and support unconditionally… [and] continually finds new things to learn through the years,” she said. “He’s taught me that it’s never too late to start learning!”
Family bonds will always transcend the largest of distances and borders. This Father’s Day, celebrate our fathers, and their unconditional love for the family! What’s your fondest memory of your father? Tell us here and win a gift for your dad!