Sunday, June 19, 2011


My Dad passed away in February 2001. I was 40 years old, yet I felt so lost as if I was a 10-year old child losing a parent. Ten years later, at times I still got emotional thinking of my Dad. I miss my Dad. I needed his guidance, especially the last few weeks. How I wish I could talk to my Dad. I needed him to tell me exactly what I must do.
"Con khong cha nhu nha khong cot" is a Vietnamese expression that "Children without a father is like a house without pillars". Thus, without pillars to hold up the structure, the house would collapse. I understand that I am capable of taking care of myself. But no matter at what age, I am still my father's daughter. Dad's passing left a wound that never completely healed. Being the oldest child, I have a special bond with my Dad. I will always be the 10-year old holding my Dad's hand real tight as we tried to get into the stadium in Sai Gon, Viet Nam, for a sold-out soccer game.
Last night Dad visited me in a dream. We had a real nice conversation.

Dad: Con khoe khong? Ba thay con co ve lo rau. How are you my dear daughter? I could see that something troubles you.
TOTA: I miss you and I need to know you are near. (I told Dad about the incident of unprofessional conduct inflicted upon me at my workplace.)
Dad: You handled it very well. You defended your dignity and honor and I am proud of you. I was in that meeting with you. Did you not feel my hand touching your right shoulder when you presented the challenge to those in the room? They saw my intense piercing eyes and said to each other, "the man next to TOTA must be her Dad".
TOTA: I am so angry at the jerk. How dare he humiliated me? I will make him pay for what he did and also so that he won't harass another woman. I will demand that management take responsibility to provide a safe and respectful working environment for all the staff.
Dad: That was excellent when you took the stand and spoke up at the meeting. But remember what grandpa said, "when a mad dog bites you, you just don't bite the dog back." Take it from me, I was humiliated and insulted by those who threaten to report to the communist government that I worked for an American company. I had to swallow my pride when I was attacked. If I fought back, I would be sent to jail. Your mother would not be able to take care of all 4 kids. I had to beg, I had to bow to those in power because they held our passage to freedom. No matter how angry you feel right now, you must not act in haste. Just like we did when we prepared for our escape, we must be careful and not let others know our plans. Remember, I am always with you. Be proud of what you have accomplished. Sleep well, my dear daughter, be ready for tomorrow, it will be a bright day!
TOTA: Thank you, Dad. I love you. Happy Father's Day.

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