As Father’s Day approached, I pored hard through my albums looking for a picture of my Father and I, especially one where Father was smiling. Needless to say, there were none. So the next best thing was me smiling and Father looking tortured. As most of you know, my Father passed away in 2012 and it was hard knowing that 2011 was his last Father’s Day.
Today, I honour my Father’s life with a part of him that very few know about – the Unsung Hero of Multiple Streams of Income.
Having migrated to Singapore from Punjab (India) sometime in 1947/8, besides farming, he had not other skill. So I was told, he started working as watchman (in Malay they called watchmen “Bayi Jaga”) and eventually became a bus driver. So at night he would watch over some factory or building under construction, which provided him living quarters and in the day he would drive the bus.
My Father’s right leg was crushed and had to amputated; and so was his job as a bus driver.
Then when I was about 3-years old, in 1972, my Father and his friend were heading back from work at about mid-night when a drunken driver hit into their motorcycles. His friend was injured but largely okay but my Father’s right leg was crushed and had to amputated; and so was his job as a bus driver.
A wife and 5 kids to support (my oldest brother by then would have been in his early 20s), I cannot imagine what my Father must have gone through during those painful months at the hospital. My sister and I reckon Father must have slipped into depression and probably resorted to alcohol to numb his pain, but even if that was the case, he didn’t show it.
Through your life, you taught me self-believe and how to stand up for my beliefs. You taught me to fight for my rights and never back-down My only wish was that I could have talked to you more when you were alive.
Father was a very proud man; his family will not go on welfare and no one was going to wear shabby clothes. Since we were staying in the quarters of a brick factory which he looked after, by default, we were all watchmen! So he managed to get another night watchman job for himself at various locations thus adding another stream of income. This went on for a good 20 years after losing his leg.
But he realised that since his job as a watchman was only at night, in the day he could look at other income options and he started a moneylending business with his friends. It was a success and we lived a fairly comfortable life. As a 10-year old, I used to go around the neighbourhood, after school, collecting interest from his borrowers. Sometimes they will come to the house with many stories to tell on why they couldn’t pay or why they needed more money. Those were the times I would see my Father laugh because he just enjoyed bantering with them. He knew that he would give in to them, but not before he had a good laugh.
Long before Robert G Allen wrote the book, my Father was already practising The Multiple Streams of Income.
So whenever a client who has lost his/her job comes to me saying that they don’t know what to do, all is lost, I tell them this story. If my Father who had no formal education, moved to a country that he knew nothing about and then after losing his leg, could hop right back up (no pun intended, but then again…) and support his family, then why are you limiting yourself?
Through your life, you taught me self-believe and how to stand up for my beliefs. You taught me to fight for my rights and never back-down.
My only wish was that I could have talked to you more when you were alive.
Be at peace wherever you are.