My Dad: (A) An Asian Dad Who Didn’t Want His Son to Be a Nerd

Try to remember what your dad was really like when you were a kid. It might not be as simple as you think, and I suspect it is always instructive. Time and cultures change, and do so very quickly. If your dad is Asian, that should lead to another few layers of complexity. And, you yourself have likely also changed so much with time. Try the exercise, and you might find interesting things popping up, out of the blue. And Father’s Day is often a good trigger for this.

Photo 1A: Quite a good-looking dad I might say? In medical school.

Growing up, indeed, my views of my Asian dad seemed to change often, depending particularly on my own personal stage of life. Plus, in my case, the world was really hugely changing right before my eyes, complicated by significant moves in locations and cultures, in Asia and USA, which definitely but unwittingly affected my viewpoints. Second World War, Japanese invasion, China revolution, Korean War, Vietnamese War, US Race Riots, all added to the strange mix of cultural complexities.

Photo 1B: As a young doctor with mom.

For most of his life, dad was very busy mostly in private solo practice of family medicine, after leaving his intense life of general surgery. Solo practice however, meant he was on call 24/7, and it did seem that way to us as a family, since dad would often answer calls during dinner times. Nevertheless, dad arranged, on Sunday afternoons, after church, to bring us somewhere to relax.

Dad had been an athlete as a young man, especially in college, and I know he hoped that his 3 sons would follow in his footsteps. So, it must have been a great disappointment that all of us were really rather “nerdy”. As the oldest child, medical school beckoned me to study hard, from maybe age 7! A life in music called for number 2, though he died tragically in college. And a quiet life as librarian for number 3. But don’t you think it is rather weird to have an Asian dad who seemed to prefer we were less nerdy!

I’m sure dad had this athletic instinct in mind on those Sunday afternoons, especially in summer. We would nearly always be at “13 ½ mile beach,” at that time a little-known beach in the so-called New Territories of Hong Kong, a 45-minute drive from home. I learned to swim from him, which, he often reminded me, could save me, in case of a boat sinking in the sea. I never had a chance to test my skills that way, but hey, you never know. World War II was less than 10 years before that, so boat-sinking and naval wars were still fresh for some people.

And for good measure, I remember dad driving me specially to take real swimming lessons, from professional YMCA lifeguards, in backstroke and butterfly stroke, in an ocean swimming pool. This was obviously a further attempt to “de-nerd” me, which unfortunately wasn’t that successful. I think that dad just wanted me to be a more muscular man, and not a bookworm. I think he should be happy that, at least in theory, I can still swim, and I believe I’m OK with any boat-sinking, at least for a short time, minus sharks!

Actually, I did take a bit to one sport: dad had bought me an archery set, and I learned to shoot arrows quite well. I had always been fascinated by Robin Hood and his archers anyway, from my extensive British book readings, so that rather fit my inner nerd fantasy. And the romanticism of bow and arrows has still not left me. Whenever I hear stories about King Arthur and his knights, Ivanhoe or something like that, something magical stirs within me.

I even managed recently to borrow a movie from our wonderful Newcastle public library (I never borrowed anything, let alone a movie, from a public library ever!), on good old Ivanhoe, to re-awaken my English hero fantasy. I kept my childhood archery set at home in Cincinnati for decades up until our move to Seattle, and used them often as I told the yearly Vacation Bible School stories. However, I am not sure if archery really counts as athletics!

Photo 2: Is archery athletic?

Dad actually was quite successful in teaching me one real physically active sport, and I think he was quite proud of that, since he was good at the sport himself. He brought me to play Asian badminton, which is a fast-paced, wrist-twisting sport which I learned to quite like, and wasn’t that bad at. In fact, even as a resident in pediatrics in Chicago, I played Asian badminton nearly every week at the nearby Chinese Union Church gym, and always remembered my dad fondly when I played.

Of course, the American vastly watered-down version of softly lobbying the shuttlecock at lawn games definitely would not be classified as athletic! Hey, what I learned was the real badminton, which is more athletic than tennis, I contend. However, after residency, all hope of sports faded, and I reverted to “nerd-dom.” Even till today…. you could read my irreverent URS “Exercise is bad for your health,” which reflects my real sentiments. Sorry, dad, I know you really tried.

Dad was always involved in church work. He was a church deacon, which meant he had to serve and help the minister to take care of the church. He did voice frustrations quite often when the committee meetings got too complicated and tedious, and he had to return home late. He had this traditional “Asian” scolding style, so I could hear him complaining at times to his cousin, who worked for dad in his clinic. I think in traditional culture, they tell me “scolding means love,” so I heard quite a bit of that around me. It did seem normal to me, however.

Photo 3A: Rare photo during the World War II years when we were brought back to the ancestral village to escape the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, where dad started me on my love of the water, in nearby waterfall reservoir (safely with life ring).

Dad faithfully brought all 3 of his sons, every week to Sunday school. This was probably quite an act of discipline on my dad’s part, which few dads might have done at the time. Of course, the way that it was put to us, it was not probably a choice kind of a thing, but hey, whatever worked, worked. Mom went to the American English-speaking church. Even though we 3 boys were all native English speakers, dad somehow prevailed that we should go to the Chaozhou speaking church, which our cousins went to also. One of my brothers, Freddie, however decided later to join mom at her church, but Danny stayed.

Photo 3B. And childhood climbing with mom in ancestral village.

Because of the Chaozhou church, I acquired a verbal fluency in Chaozhou language that was really fun, and which has lasted, after a gap of decades, to this day. And my strong spiritual foundation at the children and youth Sunday School there, was a tremendous blessing for all my life, for which I am eternally grateful. In fact, I am sure the reason I instantly started a Sunday School, after we began the Cincinnati Chinese Church 47 years ago, was directly due to my upbringing, knowing full well how critically important early childhood training is to a church, and to the future for the kids. I never deviated in my life from being super conscious of this perspective, and you can see it permeates nearly everything I do. Plus, it fits perfectly my pediatric instincts.

Dad could be a gruff man, related to the “need to scold” in Asian culture, but he seemed very gracious with his patients. I have been told often that he gave free care to many of them when they had financial problems. His surgical background, I think made him a very versatile doctor, able to handle simple surgical procedures even in his clinic, and knowledgeable about both surgical and medical conditions.

During my high school years, the office clinic was actually attached to our home, so I saw dad in action with the patients and could even watch him stitch up cuts in the faces or limbs of naughty boys, right on the surgeon’s table. It was “exciting” to watch! There was a partition between the clinic surgery table, and the X-ray room, and he allowed me to climb up onto the top of the partition from the X-ray room, to look down on the operation. I’m not sure the law would allow that today!

For smaller cuts, dad liked to do his stitching without local anesthesia, “tough love” style, because he claimed that the anesthetic injection was just as painful. I doubt it, but it was great fun to watch, especially if the “victim” was some kid I knew from church or in the neighborhood, like I was in the gallery of a hospital operating room. I’m sure it helped “inspire” me to dream of actually becoming a surgeon.

Photos 4 & 5: It was fortunate that dad loved to take pictures, especially in Hong Kong. Theses picture are of family with medical missionary friends who served the Hakkas in China. At this non-nerdy Sunday at the beach, I’m obviously flaunting my “oldest son” status, with younger brothers, including white brother Stan, who still today respectfully calls me tai ge (older brother, in Hakka).

To conclude, not only was it strange that my dad was “pushy” about my becoming an athlete, he never pushed me to study harder, at least that I remember. And I only did piano for 6 months, but that is another story… So, wouldn’t you agree my Asian dad was rather unusual? Not at all like a stereotypical Asian dad at all. Maybe except for the gruff scolding part.

Which is a reminder that each dad is truly unique, and God given, not someone we chose, but uniquely for us…. If I had not had my dad……. I cannot really imagine my life. Looking back, every step of the way I can see his fingerprints all over me, his DNA effects (good health, sorry, minus athletics), his scolding or subtle teachings (get some exercise, don’t study all the time!), and my going into medicine (he never urged me, he just expected it). Gratitude with reverence is how I really remember my quiet and frugal dad. I think he was proud of me, even if I remained a nerd.

我的父亲:一位不希望儿子变成书虫的亚裔父亲 Edison 翻译

试着回忆你小时候认识的父亲。这很可能不像想象中那么简单,但是我想这是有启发性的。岁月如梭而文化的变迁又如白驹过隙。你父亲若是来自亚洲,这件事将会比较复杂。你自己也大概在这些日子里也改变了许多。试试看,你或许会发现许多在你意料之外有趣的事。父亲节正是做这件事的好时机。

照片1A:我可以说英俊潇洒的父亲吗?父亲在医学院。

在我成长的过程是在亚洲和美国度过的。我对我的亚裔父亲的印象仿佛跟着我成长的阶段不停的转变。这段时期,世界因地缘,文化,以及时势在我眼前经历了巨大的变化。这绝对在无意间影响也加深了我对这些变化的感触。二次大战,日军侵华,国共内战,韩战,越战,美国种族骚乱全都加进了这个古怪复杂的文化熔炉。

照片1B: 父亲成为医生后与母亲合影。


在选择离开极其紧张的普通外科医生生涯后,父亲大部分的生命里都致力于他独立开业的家庭医生事业。独立开业意味着他一周七日每日二十四小时都随时待命。的确,父亲时常在晚饭的时候接到病人的电话。即便如此,父亲总是准备着在周日到教会做礼拜后的下午带我们出门休闲。

父亲年轻时是大学的运动员。我知道他曾希望三个孩子能跟随他的脚步。因此,他肯定非常失望因为我们全都相对的“温文儒雅”。身为长子,医学院的召唤让我大概在七岁的时候就努力不懈读书。献身于音乐的次子在大学时不幸过世。老三则选择图书馆员平静的生活。你不觉得一位亚裔父亲会希望我们少读点书有点奇怪吗?

我相信在那些周日的下午,特别是在夏天,父亲都带着他身为运动员的直觉。我们几乎每周都会去“十三英里半泳滩”,一个离家只有四十五分钟,当时鲜少人知在香港新界的海滩。我从父亲那里学会游泳。他时常提醒我游泳在船沉时能救命。到目前为止我并没有必须在那种情况下考验我的游泳技术,但是世事难料。那时二次大战刚过去十年,因此沉船及海战对一些人仍然记忆犹新。

除此之外,我还记得父亲带我正式去基督教青年会的职业救生员那里上游泳课并在游泳海域学仰泳和蝶泳。很明显的,父亲不想让我变成书虫,可惜的是他失败了。我想父亲只是想让我成为比较健壮的男人和人不是书虫。我想父亲应该还是高兴的,因为至少理论上我是会游泳的,我也相信在沉船时我在短时间内是可以生存的-只要鲨鱼不要出现!

事实上,我对一门运动还是挺有兴趣的。父亲为我买了一套箭术装备,而我也射箭也学得不错。在我阅读过的众多英国书籍里,我向来都憧憬着罗宾汉以及他的弓箭手们。因此箭术倒是满足了我书虫的幻想。直至现在,对弓和箭的浪漫情感仍未离开我。每当我听见有关亚瑟王(King Arthur)和他的骑士们,艾凡赫(Ivanhoe),或类似的故事时我仍感到莫名的回肠荡气。

我最近到我们美好的纽卡斯尔(Newcastle)公共图书馆里(我以前从未在公共图书馆里借过任何东西!)借了一部有关艾凡赫的电影来回味我的传统英国英雄梦。数十年来,我一直都好好的吧我孩提时期的箭术装备收藏于我辛辛那提家中直到我搬至西雅图。我时常在儿童暑期圣经学校说故事的时候用到它们。不过我不确定箭术是不是真的算是体育。

照片2:箭术算是体能运动吗?内人比我有运动细胞。她尚未于我结婚时就射了一手好箭

父亲事实上还是成功的教会我一个真正激烈的运动,我想他对这件事也是挺自豪的,因为他本人很擅长与这门运动。这就是亚洲羽毛球,一个节奏快速,手腕转动,我很喜欢,并且打得不差的运动。即使是当我在芝加哥成为驻院儿科医师,我几乎每周都在附近的华人基督联合教会的体育馆里打亚洲羽毛球,我也几乎每次都记起与父亲一起的美好记忆。

当然,在美国极度休闲化,在草坪上轻松的拍高羽球并不能真的算是体育!嘿,我学过的可是正宗的羽毛球。我可以说它比网球还要激烈。不过,在驻院之后,我所有对运动的希望都淡去了,我回归了“书呆子生活”直到今天。。。你可以看看与曽叔叔闲聊里(Reggietales.org)大不敬的“运动无益健康”。那反映了我真正的观点。父亲,对不起了,我知道您已尽力训练过我了。

父亲总是为教会的事用心出力。他是教会的执事,因此他会在教会的服侍上协助牧师。当教会会议变得冗长复杂时,他在夜晚回家后也会发牢骚。父亲发牢骚的方式很亚洲化。我有时也会听见他对在父亲诊所里工作的叔叔吐苦水。在亚洲文化里,好像“骂就是爱”,因此我时常听到骂。这对我是司空见惯。

照片3A:其一:一些珍贵的照片 – 二次大战时我们逃离日军攻陷香港到我们祖籍村里,父亲在附近水坝里(有游泳圈)启蒙了我对水的爱。

每个周日,父亲都很坚定并有纪律的的吧我们三兄弟带到教会上主日学。这在当时并不普遍。这是父亲的决定,不是我们可以选择的。母亲是去英文教会的。虽然我们三兄弟的母语都是英语,父亲还是带我们去表姐去的讲潮州话的教会。弟弟Freddie后来决定去母亲去的教会,Danny则是留下。

照片3B:我孩提时与母亲在村里附近爬山。

我在教会里学会了我到现在都还会说的流利的潮州话。我在儿童以及青年主日学里得到的信仰根基则为我带来一生受用不尽的福分。事实上,我很确定我之所以在四十七年前辛城教会开始时就立刻设立主日学就是因为我的经验告诉我儿童早期教育对孩子的一生以及教会的未来的重要性。我一生从未偏离对这件事的信念,而它也在我所做的事里显现出来。这也完全符合我儿科的直觉。

父亲是一位不苟言笑的亚洲严父。但是他对他的病人是极其贴心。我知道他时常为有经济困难的病人免费看诊。他的外科经历使他能够在诊所里做简单的手术也对内外科病症有不错的知识。

在我读中学的时候,诊所办公室和家里是连着的。因此我可以看见父亲为病人看诊或者在手术桌上为淘气孩子缝合脸上或四肢上的伤口。我时常看着觉得很“激动”!手术桌和X光室是分隔开的。父亲允许我从X光室爬到分隔墙上观看手术过程。这在今天可能是违法的!

伤口若是比较小,父亲通常在没有麻醉的情况下以“强硬的爱”为伤患缝合。他说打麻醉药也是一样痛。我虽然不太相信,但是我还是觉得很有趣,特别是如果那个“受害者”是我在教会或者邻里认识的孩子。这就好像在医院手术房上面的观察楼一样。这肯定“激励”了我想要成为外科医生的梦想。

照片4 & 5:父亲在香港时很爱照相。这些是我们家和在客家族群事奉的医学传教士友人们。一个在海滩上充满活力的周日下午。我很明显的在炫耀身为大哥的身份。我和两个弟弟和白人小弟史丹(Stan)。史丹到今日还是尊敬的称我为大哥。

总而言之,父亲不但“执意”希望我成为一位运动员,他在我记忆中也从未督促我更用功读书。我也只学了六个月的钢琴,不过这事说来话长了。。。所以,你是不是觉得我的亚裔父亲不太一样?他完全不像典型的亚裔父亲。或许除了他会严厉骂人之外。

这提醒我们每一个父亲都是特别的,是神为我们预备的,是我们不能选择的,也都是独一无二的。我不能想象我的生命会如何的不同如果我父亲不是我父亲。回顾过去,我人生的每一个脚步前我都能看见父亲的脚步。他的基因(健康的身体,不过很对不起的,除去运动细胞),他严厉的责骂或间接的教诲(该做运动了,别整天读书!),以及我选择从医(他从未督促我,他只是认为理所当然)。感激以及崇敬是我对我那安静又俭朴的父亲的感觉。虽然我最后是一个书虫,我想他还是为我感到骄傲的.

URS: An Asian dad who didn’t want his son to be a nerd
我的父亲:一位不希望儿子变成书虫的亚裔父亲 Edison 翻译

Try to remember what your dad was really like when you were a kid. It might not be as simple as you think, and I suspect it is always instructive. Time and cultures change, and do so very quickly. If your dad is Asian, that should lead to another few layers of complexity. And, you yourself have likely also changed so much with time. Try the exercise, and you might find interesting things popping up, out of the blue. And Father’s Day is often a good trigger for this.
试着回忆你小时候认识的父亲。这很可能不像想象中那么简单,但是我想这是有启发性的。岁月如梭而文化的变迁又如白驹过隙。你父亲若是来自亚洲,这件事将会比较复杂。你自己也大概在这些日子里也改变了许多。试试看,你或许会发现许多在你意料之外有趣的事。父亲节正是做这件事的好时机。

Photo 1A: Quite a good-looking dad I might say? In medical school.
照片1A:我可以说英俊潇洒的父亲吗?父亲在医学院。

Growing up, indeed, my views of my Asian dad seemed to change often, depending particularly on my own personal stage of life. Plus, in my case, the world was really hugely changing right before my eyes, complicated by significant moves in locations and cultures, in Asia and USA, which definitely but unwittingly affected my viewpoints. Second World War, Japanese invasion, China revolution, Korean War, Vietnamese War, US Race Riots, all added to the strange mix of cultural complexities.
在我成长的过程是在亚洲和美国度过的。我对我的亚裔父亲的印象仿佛跟着我成长的阶段不停的转变。这段时期,世界因地缘,文化,以及时势在我眼前经历了巨大的变化。这绝对在无意间影响也加深了我对这些变化的感触。二次大战,日军侵华,国共内战,韩战,越战,美国种族骚乱全都加进了这个古怪复杂的文化熔炉。

Photo 1B: As a young doctor with mom. 照片1B: 父亲成为医生后与母亲合影。

For most of his life, dad was very busy mostly in private solo practice of family medicine, after leaving his intense life of general surgery. Solo practice however, meant he was on call 24/7, and it did seem that way to us as a family, since dad would often answer calls during dinner times. Nevertheless, dad arranged, on Sunday afternoons, after church, to bring us somewhere to relax.
在选择离开极其紧张的普通外科医生生涯后,父亲大部分的生命里都致力于他独立开业的家庭医生事业。独立开业意味着他一周七日每日二十四小时都随时待命。的确,父亲时常在晚饭的时候接到病人的电话。即便如此,父亲总是准备着在周日到教会做礼拜后的下午带我们出门休闲。

Dad had been an athlete as a young man, especially in college, and I know he hoped that his 3 sons would follow in his footsteps. So, it must have been a great disappointment that all of us were really rather “nerdy”. As the oldest child, medical school beckoned me to study hard, from maybe age 7! A life in music called for number 2, though he died tragically in college. And a quiet life as librarian for number 3. But don’t you think it is rather weird to have an Asian dad who seemed to prefer we were less nerdy!
父亲年轻时是大学的运动员。我知道他曾希望三个孩子能跟随他的脚步。因此,他肯定非常失望因为我们全都相对的“温文儒雅”。身为长子,医学院的召唤让我大概在七岁的时候就努力不懈读书。献身于音乐的次子在大学时不幸过世。老三则选择图书馆员平静的生活。你不觉得一位亚裔父亲会希望我们少读点书有点奇怪吗?

I’m sure dad had this athletic instinct in mind on those Sunday afternoons, especially in summer. We would nearly always be at “13 ½ mile beach,” at that time a little-known beach in the so-called New Territories of Hong Kong, a 45-minute drive from home. I learned to swim from him, which, he often reminded me, could save me, in case of a boat sinking in the sea. I never had a chance to test my skills that way, but hey, you never know. World War II was less than 10 years before that, so boat-sinking and naval wars were still fresh for some people.
我相信在那些周日的下午,特别是在夏天,父亲都带着他身为运动员的直觉。我们几乎每周都会去“十三英里半泳滩”,一个离家只有四十五分钟,当时鲜少人知在香港新界的海滩。我从父亲那里学会游泳。他时常提醒我游泳在船沉时能救命。到目前为止我并没有必须在那种情况下考验我的游泳技术,但是世事难料。那时二次大战刚过去十年,因此沉船及海战对一些人仍然记忆犹新。

And for good measure, I remember dad driving me specially to take real swimming lessons, from professional YMCA lifeguards, in backstroke and butterfly stroke, in an ocean swimming pool. This was obviously a further attempt to “de-nerd” me, which unfortunately wasn’t that successful. I think that dad just wanted me to be a more muscular man, and not a bookworm. I think he should be happy that, at least in theory, I can still swim, and I believe I’m OK with any boat-sinking, at least for a short time, minus sharks!
除此之外,我还记得父亲带我正式去基督教青年会的职业救生员那里上游泳课并在游泳海域学仰泳和蝶泳。很明显的,父亲不想让我变成书虫,可惜的是他失败了。我想父亲只是想让我成为比较健壮的男人和人不是书虫。我想父亲应该还是高兴的,因为至少理论上我是会游泳的,我也相信在沉船时我在短时间内是可以生存的-只要鲨鱼不要出现!

Actually, I did take a bit to one sport: dad had bought me an archery set, and I learned to shoot arrows quite well. I had always been fascinated by Robin Hood and his archers anyway, from my extensive British book readings, so that rather fit my inner nerd fantasy. And the romanticism of bow and arrows has still not left me. Whenever I hear stories about King Arthur and his knights, Ivanhoe or something like that, something magical stirs within me.
事实上,我对一门运动还是挺有兴趣的。父亲为我买了一套箭术装备,而我也射箭也学得不错。在我阅读过的众多英国书籍里,我向来都憧憬着罗宾汉以及他的弓箭手们。因此箭术倒是满足了我书虫的幻想。直至现在,对弓和箭的浪漫情感仍未离开我。每当我听见有关亚瑟王(King Arthur)和他的骑士们,艾凡赫(Ivanhoe),或类似的故事时我仍感到莫名的回肠荡气。

I even managed recently to borrow a movie from our wonderful Newcastle public library (I never borrowed anything, let alone a movie, from a public library ever!), on good old Ivanhoe, to re-awaken my English hero fantasy. I kept my childhood archery set at home in Cincinnati for decades up until our move to Seattle, and used them often as I told the yearly Vacation Bible School stories. However, I am not sure if archery really counts as athletics!
我最近到我们美好的纽卡斯尔(Newcastle)公共图书馆里(我以前从未在公共图书馆里借过任何东西!)借了一部有关艾凡赫的电影来回味我的传统英国英雄梦。数十年来,我一直都好好的吧我孩提时期的箭术装备收藏于我辛辛那提家中直到我搬至西雅图。我时常在儿童暑期圣经学校说故事的时候用到它们。不过我不确定箭术是不是真的算是体育。

Photo 2: Is archery athletic? My more athletic wife-to-be was always better.
照片2:箭术算是体能运动吗?内人比我有运动细胞。她尚未于我结婚时就射了一手好箭

Dad actually was quite successful in teaching me one real physically active sport, and I think he was quite proud of that, since he was good at the sport himself. He brought me to play Asian badminton, which is a fast-paced, wrist-twisting sport which I learned to quite like, and wasn’t that bad at. In fact, even as a resident in pediatrics in Chicago, I played Asian badminton nearly every week at the nearby Chinese Union Church gym, and always remembered my dad fondly when I played.
父亲事实上还是成功的教会我一个真正激烈的运动,我想他对这件事也是挺自豪的,因为他本人很擅长与这门运动。这就是亚洲羽毛球,一个节奏快速,手腕转动,我很喜欢,并且打得不差的运动。即使是当我在芝加哥成为驻院儿科医师,我几乎每周都在附近的华人基督联合教会的体育馆里打亚洲羽毛球,我也几乎每次都记起与父亲一起的美好记忆。

Of course, the American vastly watered-down version of softly lobbying the shuttlecock at lawn games definitely would not be classified as athletic! Hey, what I learned was the real badminton, which is more athletic than tennis, I contend. However, after residency, all hope of sports faded, and I reverted to “nerd-dom.” Even till today…. you could read my irreverent URS “Exercise is bad for your health,” which reflects my real sentiments. Sorry, dad, I know you really tried.
当然,在美国极度休闲化,在草坪上轻松的拍高羽球并不能真的算是体育!嘿,我学过的可是正宗的羽毛球。我可以说它比网球还要激烈。不过,在驻院之后,我所有对运动的希望都淡去了,我回归了“书呆子生活”直到今天。。。你可以看看与曽叔叔闲聊里(Reggietales.org)大不敬的“运动无益健康”。那反映了我真正的观点。父亲,对不起了,我知道您已尽力训练过我了。

Dad was always involved in church work. He was a church deacon, which meant he had to serve and help the minister to take care of the church. He did voice frustrations quite often when the committee meetings got too complicated and tedious, and he had to return home late. He had this traditional “Asian” scolding style, so I could hear him complaining at times to his cousin, who worked for dad in his clinic. I think in traditional culture, they tell me “scolding means love,” so I heard quite a bit of that around me. It did seem normal to me, however.
父亲总是为教会的事用心出力。他是教会的执事,因此他会在教会的服侍上协助牧师。当教会会议变得冗长复杂时,他在夜晚回家后也会发牢骚。父亲发牢骚的方式很亚洲化。我有时也会听见他对在父亲诊所里工作的叔叔吐苦水。在亚洲文化里,好像“骂就是爱”,因此我时常听到骂。这对我是司空见惯。

Photo 3A: Rare photos during the World War II years when we were brought back to the ancestral village to escape the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, where dad started me on my love of the water, in nearby waterfall reservoir (safely with life ring).
照片3A:其一:一些珍贵的照片 – 二次大战时我们逃离日军攻陷香港到我们祖籍村里,父亲在附近水坝里(有游泳圈)启蒙了我对水的爱。

Dad faithfully brought all 3 of his sons, every week to Sunday school. This was probably quite an act of discipline on my dad’s part, which few dads might have done at the time. Of course, the way that it was put to us, it was not probably a choice kind of a thing, but hey, whatever worked, worked. Mom went to the American English-speaking church. Even though we 3 boys were all native English speakers, dad somehow prevailed that we should go to the Chaozhou speaking church, which our cousins went to also. One of my brothers, Freddie, however decided later to join mom at her church, but Danny stayed.
每个周日,父亲都很坚定并有纪律的的吧我们三兄弟带到教会上主日学。这在当时并不普遍。这是父亲的决定,不是我们可以选择的。母亲是去英文教会的。虽然我们三兄弟的母语都是英语,父亲还是带我们去表姐去的讲潮州话的教会。弟弟Freddie后来决定去母亲去的教会,Danny则是留下。

Photo 3B: And childhood climbing with mom in ancestral village.
照片3B:我孩提时与母亲在村里附近爬山。

Because of the Chaozhou church, I acquired a verbal fluency in Chaozhou language that was really fun, and which has lasted, after a gap of decades, to this day. And my strong spiritual foundation at the children and youth Sunday School there, was a tremendous blessing for all my life, for which I am eternally grateful. In fact, I am sure the reason I instantly started a Sunday School, after we began the Cincinnati Chinese Church 47 years ago, was directly due to my upbringing, knowing full well how critically important early childhood training is to a church, and to the future for the kids. I never deviated in my life from being super conscious of this perspective, and you can see it permeates nearly everything I do. Plus, it fits perfectly my pediatric instincts.
我在教会里学会了我到现在都还会说的流利的潮州话。我在儿童以及青年主日学里得到的信仰根基则为我带来一生受用不尽的福分。事实上,我很确定我之所以在四十七年前辛城教会开始时就立刻设立主日学就是因为我的经验告诉我儿童早期教育对孩子的一生以及教会的未来的重要性。我一生从未偏离对这件事的信念,而它也在我所做的事里显现出来。这也完全符合我儿科的直觉。

Dad could be a gruff man, related to the “need to scold” in Asian culture, but he seemed very gracious with his patients. I have been told often that he gave free care to many of them when they had financial problems. His surgical background, I think made him a very versatile doctor, able to handle simple surgical procedures even in his clinic, and knowledgeable about both surgical and medical conditions.
父亲是一位不苟言笑的亚洲严父。但是他对他的病人是极其贴心。我知道他时常为有经济困难的病人免费看诊。他的外科经历使他能够在诊所里做简单的手术也对内外科病症有不错的知识。

During my high school years, the office clinic was actually attached to our home, so I saw dad in action with the patients and could even watch him stitch up cuts in the faces or limbs of naughty boys, right on the surgeon’s table. It was “exciting” to watch! There was a partition between the clinic surgery table, and the X-ray room, and he allowed me to climb up onto the top of the partition from the X-ray room, to look down on the operation. I’m not sure the law would allow that today!
在我读中学的时候,诊所办公室和家里是连着的。因此我可以看见父亲为病人看诊或者在手术桌上为淘气孩子缝合脸上或四肢上的伤口。我时常看着觉得很“激动”!手术桌和X光室是分隔开的。父亲允许我从X光室爬到分隔墙上观看手术过程。这在今天可能是违法的!

For smaller cuts, dad liked to do his stitching without local anesthesia, “tough love” style, because he claimed that the anesthetic injection was just as painful. I doubt it, but it was great fun to watch, especially if the “victim” was some kid I knew from church or in the neighborhood, like I was in the gallery of a hospital operating room. I’m sure it helped “inspire” me to dream of actually becoming a surgeon.
伤口若是比较小,父亲通常在没有麻醉的情况下以“强硬的爱”为伤患缝合。他说打麻醉药也是一样痛。我虽然不太相信,但是我还是觉得很有趣,特别是如果那个“受害者”是我在教会或者邻里认识的孩子。这就好像在医院手术房上面的观察楼一样。这肯定“激励”了我想要成为外科医生的梦想。

Photos 4 & 5: Dad loved to take pictures, especially in Hong Kong. Theses picture are of family with medical missionary friends who served the Hakkas in China. At this non-nerdy Sunday at the beach, I’m obviously flaunting my “oldest son” status, with younger brothers, including white brother Stan, who still today respectfully calls me tai ge (older brother, in Hakka).
照片4 & 5:父亲在香港时很爱照相。这些是我们家和在客家族群事奉的医学传教士友人们。一个在海滩上充满活力的周日下午。我很明显的在炫耀身为大哥的身份。我和两个弟弟和白人小弟史丹(Stan)。史丹到今日还是尊敬的称我为大哥。

To conclude, not only was it strange that my dad was “pushy” about my becoming an athlete, he never pushed me to study harder, at least that I remember. And I only did piano for 6 months, but that is another story… So, wouldn’t you agree my Asian dad was rather unusual? Not at all like a stereotypical Asian dad at all. Maybe except for the gruff scolding part.
总而言之,父亲不但“执意”希望我成为一位运动员,他在我记忆中也从未督促我更用功读书。我也只学了六个月的钢琴,不过这事说来话长了。。。所以,你是不是觉得我的亚裔父亲不太一样?他完全不像典型的亚裔父亲。或许除了他会严厉骂人之外。

Which is a reminder that each dad is truly unique, and God given, not someone we chose, but uniquely for us…. If I had not had my dad……. I cannot really imagine my life. Looking back, every step of the way I can see his fingerprints all over me, his DNA effects (good health, sorry, minus athletics), his scolding or subtle teachings (get some exercise, don’t study all the time!), and my going into medicine (he never urged me, he just expected it). Gratitude with reverence is how I really remember my quiet and frugal dad. I think he was proud of me, even if I remained a nerd.
这提醒我们每一个父亲都是特别的,是神为我们预备的,是我们不能选择的,也都是独一无二的。我不能想象我的生命会如何的不同如果我父亲不是我父亲。回顾过去,我人生的每一个脚步前我都能看见父亲的脚步。他的基因(健康的身体,不过很对不起的,除去运动细胞),他严厉的责骂或间接的教诲(该做运动了,别整天读书!),以及我选择从医(他从未督促我,他只是认为理所当然)。感激以及崇敬是我对我那安静又俭朴的父亲的感觉。虽然我最后是一个书虫,我想他还是为我感到骄傲的.

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