Lim: The king

WHEN I was a child, my father and I had clearly defined roles. He was the king and I was the princess. He was the doting parent and I was the pampered child. Life was seamless. But princesses eventually want to become queens one day.

It took me a long time to become an adult--so long that when I finally acquired some sense—my father had already gotten so used to being the only adult in our relationship that he fought tooth and nail to keep me in my place.

That’s when the battle began. My father could not stomach the idea of his little girl now challenging his decisions and thinking she had better ideas than him. My father was up in arms over this new plot in his castle.

He did all he could to stop me from ascending to the throne. He now realized that he was not ready to abdicate—ever. It was a long drawn-out bloody battle. In the end, one of our clients would tell my father in jest, “I guess it was a hostile take-over.”

So who won in the end? In the interest of peace, let’s just say, it was a draw.

I love my father dearly. I value his advice. I admire his wisdom. And I know that most times, he is right. But tact and timing are not his strong points. And he likes tough love. I grew up in a boot camp.

My father is the kind of person who will read you your rap sheet in the dining table and challenge you to defend yourself amongst the jury of family members. That’s how I became “class best debater” in high school. I had so much practice at home, growing up.

My father likes to play Devil’s advocate. He likes getting a rise out of you. That’s how his mind remains sharp at 93. He still debates with me. And neither one of us will still give in to the other. But there is now some improvement.

One time, intensely arguing over double standards in morality, he finally said, “I’m just saying that this is my opinion,” and I replied, “and this is mine so let’s just agree to disagree.”

I like his integrity. When my father believes in something, he stands up for it—even if it makes him appear like a fool. But when he realizes he is wrong, he admits it which is not an easy thing to do.

I adore my father but I must say that most times, he infuriates me because he is the kind of person who needs to control everyone and everything around him. And I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like being told what to do so that if you tell me not to do it, I will definitely do it, take photos and post it.

I don’t doubt that my father does what he does out of love so I know he won’t take offense when I say that while I will always love him despite his controlling ways, I would like for the “other” men in my life to love me differently. Because a queen must be able to dictate how she wants to be loved. Well, that is, when I become queen.

Happy 93rd birthday to the king!
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