Wasting Time with my Father

We dawdled over the streets and park of Bacolod on Sundays, a father tagging the fragile hands of a 5-year old boy. Together we wasted time watching fellow dads and kids puttering around in their Sunday shirts of flashy neon colors and Voltes V those yesteryears refreshed in me one of Sting’s songs of nostalgia and gratitude:

“The park is full of Sunday fathers,
and melted ice cream.
We tried to do the best we can
within my given time.”

From the park, we plowed our way to the moviehouse, always opting for a Chinese karate film of either Bruce Lee’s or Filipino-Chinese Tsing Tsong Tsai. I marveled at every flying kick, the speed of every fighting action, the shrill tone of Chinese yell of “yah” as each fighter strutted his own style aped after Menacing Monkey, Cautious Cat, Daredevil Dragon, Snappy Snake, or Tenacious Tiger. Long before I’ve known about Chuang-tzi or Confucius, China was pinned into my consciousness as a country not of social diplomats but of sneaky fighters. It was all fun at the theater – one container of a father-son happy tandem.

No doubt it was my father at the peak of his paternal diplomacy and skills. A child need not visit the birthplace of Kung Fu to make a logical sense of the legacy being passed on from one generation to the next. It’s all about feeling the action, relishing every hint of the tricky art of evasion and mastery over a created nemesis. For a child that was me then, it was about the “wow” experience less adulterated by mental scrutiny of my father’s time and more empowered by innocence over every single moment with him. The dictatorship of analysis is a killer of awe, a depriver of enjoyment. Mystic Antony de Melo put it bluntly: “When you hear the bird sings, will you still look for its credentials?” True, every child has the inclination for being inquisitive. But often, not out of the adultlike desire  to connect the dots to a grand theory of something. A child asks more out of awe and less from the desire to dissect an enjoyable experience for the sake of intellectual stimulation.

And so was the time with my father: in every free flow of time with him, I don’t think I logically cared whether he had extra money after the movie or buying a couple of ice cream at the park. I don’t remember asking him whether the ticket price had gone up, or he was required to report on that particular Sunday at the posh hotel he was working for. It was almost all about enjoying the time of 2 birds chirping. So it happened to us on those casual Sundays at the park and the moviehouse – me and my father – wasting time with and for each other. And it was worth a memory to recall to remind me that not all wasted time is useless said Lin Yu T’ang:

“If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live.



Photo credit: Digger Digger Dogstar


12 thoughts on “Wasting Time with my Father

  1. Na-curious ako kung sino ‘yang kasama ni Darth Vader hahaha!

    Pareho pala tayo ng libangan noong bata pa. But my father couldn’t afford cinema tickets for the whole family lalo na’t lima kaming magkakapatid. So he would rent a betamax tape and we would walk to my uncle’s house where we could watch kung fu movies (we didn’t have a betamax player at home). All five of us children trailing excitedly behind our father. Kung fu flicks were our favorite. Well, hanggang ngayon hahaha. Binibiro ko lagi ang mga kaibigan ko that kung fu movies help keep our family together 😀

    Sabi nga nila, things of quality never fears time.

    Poignant post, Kapatid. Thank you for conjuring up some happy memories of my childhood 😉

  2. While reading your post, images of my happy times with my father flashed before my eyes… Can’t help but get smokey eyed… 😀

    I am familiar with Bruce Lee and Tsing Tsong Tsai but during my childhood, Jackie Chan’s Drunken Master was more prominent…

    One of the most powerful memories I have of my father was when we would watch PBA games in my uncle’s house at night… He would carry me on his shoulders when we go home and on clear nights he would walk slowly telling me to look at the many bright stars… They were for me moments of awe shared with my father… 😀

    Thank you so much for this post kapatid… Belated happy father’s day!

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  4. wow…ganda naman ng post na ito DFish..while reading it…memories flew back in time when lapu-lapu (my father) was absent in my growing up years…. ganun din siguro ang nangyari sa amin kung present sya….hayssss….nevertheless, he is still the best for me…..salamat talaga!

  5. Hi Nortehanon – indeed, we, yes, who grew up with those Chinese influence…And how they kept the family together – i love this value we got from those flicks. Thank you for sharing this experience Kapatid…

  6. Kapatid – what a lovely experience you had with your father – carrying you on his shoulders. Thank you for sharing these precious moments with your father. It’s one fatherhood example to follow. And yes, you’re right, i almost forgot, and forgot to write about Jackie Chan…

  7. Blu, bwahahaha – si Lapulapu tatay ni Blu. Ibig sabihin, you’re the oldest, Guinness record holder blogger around, bwahahaha…Absence has a way of telling us: fill it up. Sa blog mo – ang daming gustong gawin kang Old Wizard hehe. Thank you for all the wisdom you share through blog Blu…

  8. nag flashback bigla nung makausap ko sa telepono ang tatay kong nasa pinas. nung madinig ko ang “thankyou anak!” sobrang tuwang tuwa ako. sabi kasi ng kapatid ko proud daw yun sakin 🙂 buti na lang at di pa nahuli para sa akin ang maparamdam na lab ko sila ng nanay ko!

    hay.. ser dfish napareminis tuloy ako sa post mong tumagos sa puso ko

  9. Pareng Dens – i can imagine, even hearing the word anak – nakakaantig damdamin na. And for fathers to be proud of their sons – naku, daig pa ang nanalo sa lotto nito Dens…Salamat sa dalaw Dens…

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