October 22, 2003


The relationship between me and my father was very unique. We spoke to each other like buddies and there was no barrier between us. Although he did not spend much time with me, but time spent being with him was never at all dull. It was always full of laughter and fun.

Some light moments with my dad…

My dad’s a fan of martial art. When he was young, he was an active member of JingWu and also an alleged disciple of Muay-Thai (but I’m pretty sure he didn’t master all of them).

There was once he told me that he could break bricks with his bare hands and also perform a 180 deg split with his legs without problem, but I never believed in him. I had asked him to prove those claims many times but he told me that he only could do it when he was younger, and the only existing photograph showing him doing the ‘split’ was lost. Yeah right.

Besides that, he also gave me a lot of philosophical advices and insights, something about martial arts and its stupid ‘chi’ thing. Amongst the most absurd of the lot, was the ‘chi’ breathing technique. He told me that the breathing technique was the key element in keeping our body at its optimal state. It goes like this – breathe in deeply, hold and release the air from our lungs slowly and steadily. (that was how I was made to understand). It was stupid alright.

One day (I was 8 at that time), my father insisted me to do the breathing technique or he’d ground me – just because he wanted me to try it out so much. I was left with no choice but to do it – I kinda stood outside of my grandma’s house, and did the breathing exercise at the veranda.

Halfway through, my favorite Ultraman show suddenly came on air (I knew that because the neighbor’s kids were blasting the TV so freaking loud). I immediately stopped the exercise and skedaddled over to my neighbor’s place (it was a coffee shop) and watch the show with the kids.

I would watch the show till it was over, and snuck back home and continued the stupid breathing exercise (my father wasn’t aware that I had been to the neighbor’s place). A short while later, there was this Indian road-sweeper bloke strolling past where I was… and saw me doing the breathing exercise. The guy then snickered, and snidely remarked “Wah …. Ultraman aah? Heheheh”. He then flashed me the Ultraman cross-hand sign that was used to zap the daylights out from monster villains.

It embarrassing. I mean, I wasn’t one of those stupid kids that were so crazy about Ultraman. I was just doing the martial arts breathing technique that was suppose to regulate my ‘chi’. I had never felt so insulted as a kid before.

Unable to contain the humiliation, I then fled the scene and dive back inside the house, and swore on my life to never to do that stupid breathing technique ever again. Fuck ‘chi’. After that day, my father never mentioned anything about breathing exercise to me again – as if he knew about the Ultraman incident.

michaelooi  | flashbacks  | 

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