HE’S the first man in our life; the one we look up to. Dads are just the ultimate hero. This Father’s Day, the writers of Vibes ponder the question: If your dad were a superhero, who would he be?

CAPTAIN HUMBLE

Aiman Ahmad Anuar

“IT’S hard to imagine dad as some superhero from a comic book. He isn’t flashy and neither does he wear skin-tight spandex. He’s more of a sarong man actually! But is he any less of a superhero than Superman? No! My Ayah is the kind of person I’d describe as a “true hero”. Although he doesn’t have any super powers, he’s always helping those in need. Whether it’s something as small as aiding a lost tourist, or as big as helping finance someone’s education, he’d always be ready to offer his assistance.

The most amazing thing however, is not his large heart. It’s his humility. While some people enjoy spinning stories of their achievements to a captive audience, my father prefers to take a quieter approach. He might say a word or two about someone he knows needing a little help but that’s always followed by how God would’ve wanted him to do right by that person. He’d then encourage the rest of the family to do the same.

He never likes to take credit for what he does. And if he knew I was writing about him now, he’d probably be incredibly embarrassed. All that Captain Humble wants is for people to be given a chance and for others to seize the chance to do good.”

THE TRANSPORTER

Zuliantie Dzul

“WHAT time is your flight tomorrow?” dad asked. “I have to be at the airport at 6.30am,” I replied. I was going to Sabah for an assignment a few months ago. He went silent for a few minutes. I knew he was doing some mental calculation — distance, velocity, weekday morning traffic, etc. “Ok, we’ll go at 5.50,” he said firmly.

True enough, the next morning at 5.50am, he was already waiting for me in the car.

When I require him to drive me somewhere, he’d always be more than happy to do it. But he’d set a specific time to leave the house. And I must honour it. 5.50 means 5.50. Not a minute sooner or later.

He’s a stickler for punctuality and that reminds me of Frank Martin in the film, The Transporter, played by Jason Statham. In the movie, Frank’s always on time to pick up his package. His calculations are always precise. He knows his way around, which routes to take, etc. My dad is like that. He’s a great driver, and yes, sometimes he can be very serious like Frank Martin too.

I’m proud to say that I’ve inherited my sense of punctuality from my dad. He may not realise it but he’s taught me the value of appreciating time in every aspect of my life. And for that, I’m forever grateful. Happy Father’s Day, Ayah!” nor.zuliantie@nst.com.my

COOL VILLAIN

Elena Koshy

“FORGET superhero. My dad’s cooler and possesses enough angst to channel a villain. Who better than the iconic Darth Vader? The Sith Lord has it all: heavy breathing, ominous theme music which follows the swish of his cape, brute physical and mental power, not to mention that impenetrable mask. Here are a couple of things dad has in common with Vader.

One, he was scary enough in his heyday to put the fear of God in all potential suitors who dared woo his daughters. And you wonder why Luke Skywalker was still single while Leia didn’t exactly get her happily-ever-after with Solo? Two words — daddy issues! After four decades, I’m still in search of my knight who’d be brave enough to face up to the cantankerous old man.

Two, dad may not have the gift of force-choking anyone but his glare is enough to cause anyone to feel like their throats were, well... a little constricted. Try denting his car and coming home with that news. It’s like walking into Vader’s lair and confessing to wanting to destroy the Death Star.

Three, Vader may not have conventional father skills but he did love his children in his own inimitable way. After all, he did help Luke (after cutting off his arm!) defeat the Emperor. I know my dad loves me in his own unique way but unlike Luke, I’d be more than willing to come over to the dark side and rule the universe with him. Why? Because I’m very much my father’s daughter and I happen to think Vader has got such depth beneath his imposing appearance and is a lot more interesting than namby-pamby superheroes... like my dad!” elena@nst.com.my

HEROES AND VILLAINS

Intan Maizura Ahmad Kamal

“MY dear dad has undergone many incarnations in his time — of both villain and hero. When I was younger, he was public enemy No. 1. He was the one who flitted in the shadows (because I don’t recall seeing him much) and only emerged when mum fired up the ‘Bat signal’, commonly triggered by the sound of her incessant nagging of my brother and I, which in turn would summon the Batman, wherever he was. And just like the caped crusader, dad would suddenly emerge from the darkness and swoop with much stealth into the dim living room of our home in Wembley, England, turn the TV off (oftentimes when my favourite episode of Neighbours was on), and with a single swish of his cape (ok, the folds of his kain pelikat), produce his weapons of destruction, which ranged from the feather rotan, leather belt, or rolled up newspaper.

My brother and I would subsequently find ourselves subjected to a painful whipping across our knuckles or on our legs, or ordered to “execute” the “ketuk ketampi”. This punishment entailed my brother and I to face each other, our arms stretched diagonally (towards each other) until they reached the other’s ears and remain there, and at dad’s command, we’d go up and down in a move similar to a butt squat for however many times he deemed appropriate.

By the time we’re royally bruised and mentally plotting dad’s future demise, mum would suddenly emerge from the kitchen like the saintly humanitarian Mother Teresa and plead with the evil Batman to “...stop hurting the kids!” Yups, she who was the one who fired up the Bat light in the first place!

By the time I got to university, dad cemented his status in my books as the ultimate villain. At a time when I was starting to find the opposite sex rather interesting, they were to him, the villains who needed to be hunted down!

Our relationship dynamics started to change as we got older. Suddenly we both became each other’s biggest fans. Instead of that evil Batman, I started seeing dad as Indiana Jones for his insatiable sense of adventure. He was also Yoda, ever wise, despite the fact that I couldn’t make heads or tail of what he meant sometimes. Dad also reminded me of former UK wartime Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, a man of fiery proclamations and great determination. Today, as a sprightly 70-year-old, dad embodies the adage that nothing is impossible.

There are still times when that infuriating petulance and stubbornness drive me up the wall. But, I don’t mind it so much anymore. Because truth be told, I think I’m just a chip of the ol’ block. Just that my cape isn’t as magnificent as his! Love you Abah!” intanm@nst.com.my

A HUMBLE PATRIOT

ninotaziz

“WHEN I think of my late father, the wise, loyal, widely travelled champion of our people ...Hang Tuah of Melaka, comes to mind. Abdul Aziz Salehuddin, or Encik as we used to call him, was a huge man who often sported a beard, which he treasured almost as much as us!

With his booming voice and regular attire of bush jacket and dark brown boots, he was larger than life. That’s how I remember him — in his bush jacket during the 1970s floods, travelling all over Pahang by helicopter delivering aid.

Dad lived in Australia for many years. However, he had a deep love of everything Malaysian — P. Ramlee movies, kampung life, our beaches such as Teluk Cempedak, Batu Feringghi and Langkawi, and our football. While Mak took charge of our upbringing, there were key things dad imparted to me when I was young. My exam results must be exemplary. He insisted I experience the paddy fields in Kg Luit, Pahang, to understand our roots.

I remember when I returned from overseas, he emphasised that I must make it on my own. Working hard and smart was a must. I must always push my limits.

Then dad got really sick for many years. I learnt the most important lessons from him during this time. He always said thank you to everyone who took care of him. He was humble and yet, his gentlemanly charm and the twinkle in his eyes never left him. Dignity was a virtue in the most difficult of situations.

A good friend of his once said to me: “Your father was a patriot, Zalina. Never forget that.” So today, like how I share Hikayat stories, I share stories of Encik with my daughters. May he be in our thoughts always.”

THE CARE BEAR

Kerry Ann Augustin


“I’M positive my father would’ve ordered extra copies of this weekend’s NST knowing I’d write about him being a superhero. He’s probably expecting me to liken him to The Hulk or Batman but he’s neither green nor does he have a butler named Alfred. To be honest, if Rupert were a superhero, he’d be Tenderheart from the 1980s animation series Care Bears!

Tenderheart was the poster boy for the Care Bears because he embodied everything a Care Bear was: Caring, kind and deeply protective of children. Growing up, I witnessed many wonderful things that made Rupert look a lot like Tenderheart. But the one that stuck most happened one Sunday evening when I was 7.

Raindrops fell heavy on the roof while my family and I watched TV in the snug comfort of our home. As the storm grew fiercer by the minute, we noticed our neighbour standing outside our gate completely soaked. Ben, a boy my age, stayed a few doors down the road with a single father who was just as fond of the bottle as he was of striking him. That Sunday, like many other days, he was roaming the streets alone. The cold of the rain left his frail little body trembling and Rupert, without hesitation, went out with a towel and brought him in. It didn’t matter that he had sores or rashes, my dad gestured him to sit with us and handed him a warm glass of milk. You see, not all superheroes wear capes. Sometimes, they just have huge hearts on their bellies!”

kerry.ann@nst.com.my