June 24, 2005

A Tribute

A Father’s Day Observation
June 19, 2005, San Francisco

My dear father, a foremost teacher of mine, you are away at the moment but there, you feel much closer to home, we understand.

At this moment, a few thoughts come into my mind as I think about upcoming Father’s Day. I recall the good old days when I was still in my teen age. In a small town where there was no library, your collection of books was our only treasure. You introduced us to some of the greatest minds of 20th century -- Bertrand Russell, Leo Tolstoy, Earnest Hemingway, and the list goes on. It was through the great works of those people that we opened our eyes to this world, even before we left our small little hometown in the middle of Burma for a destination we were not certain of, but to its purpose we have hitherto kept ourselves abreast.

Not only did you encourage us to read great books but you also taught us how to respect them. That, I would say, is the greatest gift you have ever given to us: a habit of reading. Essentially, your passion in reading and your keenness in educating young minds distinguish who you really are to the world around you from what you appear to be from afar sometime to some people. You are not a university graduate, but you made “education” a household agenda, and you kept the names of most prestigious universities familiar to us. Above all, you compelled us to think highly of academia and make learning a life long endeavor.

You fascinated me with your occasional yet witty commentaries about the Arab-Israeli Six-Day War, Vietnam War, and about great political leaders such as Nehru (and the Indian independence movement), Mao Tse Tung (and his infamous Long March) and Ho Chi Minh (and the resistance he led against the French and the American). All these that you have taught me, including your support of me to take part in the 1988 political demonstration, I must admit, form the basis of my political activism today.

A rare trait of you, may I mention at least, reluctantly however, is you hardly ever say “sorry” and I found it troublesome at times. You hardly ever admit that you made any mistake, and not being able to admit that, perhaps, is the only real weakness you have ever had in your life.

Happy Father’s Day!

Your son, Saw Kapi

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