Monday, 7 July 2014

Wisdom from my dearest daddy

Myself and daddy at Fenghuang Ancient City, Hunan, China. 
 True Happiness (The Cricket)                                              by Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian
A poor little cricket
Hidden in the flowery grass,
Observes a butterfly
Fluttering in the meadow.

The winged insect shines with the liveliest colors;
Azure, purple and gold glitter on his wings;
Young, handsome, foppish, he hastens from flower to flower

Taking from the best ones.
Ah! Says the cricket, how his lot and mine
Are dissimilar, lady nature
For him did everything, and for me nothing.

I have no talent, even less beauty;

No one takes notice of me, they know me not here below;

Might as well not exist.

As he was not speaking, in the meadow

Arrives a troop of children.

Immediately they are running

After this butterfly, for which they all have a longing

Hats, handkerchiefs, caps serve to catch him.

The insect in vain tries to escape.

He becomes soon their conquest.

One sizes him by the wing, another by the body;

A third arrives, and takes him by the head.

It would not be so much effort

To tear pieces the poor creature.

Oh! Oh! says the cricket, I am not more sorry;

It costs too dear to shine in this world.
How much I am going to love my deep retreat!

To live happily, live hidden.

Daddy dearest, after I read and re-read this fable, I finally understand the many messages that you convey to us either through your actions or words. It is the English version of the famous Chinese idiom: 树大招风. I remember you once told me a man cannot carry his own sedan chair. You are so humble and at times, even, unassuming, just like the cricket, you live happily and so often, you have the last laugh.
Daddy, I miss the tea session we had at the balcony, with you, mummy and Baron – mummy doing most of the taking and you adding on your valuable experiences from botany to business management to construction to land surveying; how you surveyed the East-West highway that links Grik to Jeli, living among the natives and evading the deadly cobras, elephants, how you contracted oil tank servicing from Shell, how to differenciate between many types of oil palm seedlings and fertilizer and etc etc.

You are just like a walking encyclopedia and hands-on man. It is always amazing when I think of how you manage to send shivers down the spine of the workers who slack, how successfully you ran the business and still finding time to take care of all the beautiful plants at home because we know it isn’t easy. You are a giant among men, daddy. How I wish you are here for a little while more to share the wisdom of life with me, but I have to be contented that God have better arrangement for you.

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