One of the joys of growing up is an increased capacity to see things from your parents’ perspectives.

One of the pains is realizing a heart-shaped piece of Gardenia bread isn’t gonna cut it as an anniversary gift anymore. I terrorize people when I cook – just ask my friends in Adelaide who rudely decline my food offerings – so cooking for my parents is a no-no. Their tastebuds are too refined. My dad’s wish: “Jas, 你以后赚大钱的时候,带我去香港吃 Bo Innovation Restaurant.”

Hmm.

So once again, I shall resort to the tried and tested method of writing a post to wish them a happy anniversary lah.

I learnt so much more about the challenges my dad faces in growing his company and about the cutthroat business of fashion retail this year. When I asked if he needed help at his shops this season, he said no – unless I wanted to learn about the business, observe buying trends and so on. He is observant, insightful, principled, kind, and very far-sighted. His peers don’t take his advice lightly, and neither do I.

You know, I used to wonder why my dad chose fashion. I believed our capitalist economy was screwed up and when my father came home complaining that youngsters nowadays spend too much, I accused him of encouraging the trend by selling Nikes and what not. Greedy consumers (us) always want bigger and better things, and greedy fashion brands have to spend more on research and marketing to create the ‘ultimate consumer experience’. Frustrating – why can’t we just focus on NEEDS instead of WANTS?

But now I’ve learnt to admire and support what he does for a living after developing a more rounded perspective. I’ve also learnt to see his business in a different light.

My dad did not choose fashion. What he chose, was the responsibility to take care of his entire family through the family business. What he chose, was my freedom, so I will not have to go back to fashion retail if I’m not interested. The ripple effect will last for generations.

And now to momo! Sigh momo I’ve failed to realize what a brilliant homemaker you are. Providing the best for three children, two aging parents, and a husband is a complex juggling feat! I used to think momo was just really over-ambitious trying to do too much, but I don’t think so anymore.

I’ve stopped asking questions like “Why can’t we eat out if you’re too busy to cook?”, or “Why do we need to have such a complex dish for lunch?”. When you have a big family, things are not so simple.

Momo is not only an expert in the kitchen, she is the perfect embodiment of self-improvement, reflected in her cooking, teaching, everything. Where would I be today without my mum. It’s funny how I got so irritated when she kept buying me new clothes…and I ended up wearing nothing but the ones she bought me. Hmm. Guess I cannot be more right than mother.

Well. Happy 24th Anniversary, Papa and Momo.

(I was such a math genius I thought it was their 20th anniversary while I’m, erm, 22 years old.)

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