Seeing my dad in a new perspective

As a kid I had always said I don’t want to be a doctor when I grow up.  I can confidently say now, that that was because of sheer stubbornness (which I still possess, not sure whether to say sadly, I suppose because I’ve just accepted it, perhaps embraced it…).

Anyway, this morning, my dad shared some of his story with me that he hadn’t before.

I’d always thought my dad was boastful and big-headed, I suppose he still is.  He used to boast about how he became a doctor, at this specific dinner party that I remember.  He spoke about his experiences in third person, which really, probably cemented this idea of him in my mind.  I know that he came from extremely poor backgrounds in China, but I don’t think I appreciated the amount of work he put in to get where he was.  He always emphasised, that he was one in five, or one in three, of third in three-hundred, to gain a highly sought after position, or win a scholarship, or fellowship, and I would think, wow, that’s so great, but not really understand how hard he worked.

So it turns out he didn’t start off his uni life in Medicine, I had never really thought about how he got to Australia, but it’s really hard to.

Anyway, so he told me, that his father was adamant in having his son pursue a career in medicine.  But my dad, really liked technology, was really good, and wanted to study it.  He sat an exam or course at College and when his dad found out, he got really angry.  He started crying when telling me this, because he died last year from a heart attack, I didn’t know what to do.  Don’t judge me.  He decided to study technology anyway, against his fathers wishes I guess.  Somehow he started to talk about science and studying science, so I’m not really sure what he studied, but now I think it must’ve been science.  Anyway, so he moved away from the poor country town to study.

Oh wait, so he sat the exam for college, but he didn’t make it.  So he was devastated.  He had a newfound motivation to study harder, and I suppose he got into science.

Anyway, he moved into the city to go to university.  He was the poorest kid, he wore the same clothes. And he said, the only thing he cared about was his health and his studies.  And this reminded me of how he used to tell me that every morning, he’d get up at around 5am and run laps around the park.  And now I knew why, because he could only care for himself in this aspect, every other aspect was out of his hands without money.

So he worked super hard, having great motivation.  He didn’t speak Mandarin well, so it was hard to learn, so he had to learn a new language as well.  He graduated top of his class.  Something like that.  He goes on to learn English so he can gain opportunities overseas.  One of his friends had gotten the chance to go to America to study and do research, and he’d sent photos back, and he’d changed.  All the students at the uni had good backgrounds, were rich.

I guess I do take things for granted.

So then things happen, he’s chosen to be sponsored to go to Australia for a research grant.  His supervisor is an amazing guy who likes my dad heaps, and even goes on to pay for him to stay and do his Masters and PhD in Adelaide.  I think he died of cancer, I’m not sure, but my dad loves him heaps, there’s a photo of him in the study, it’s black and white, and is always up wherever we move.  Anyway, my dad does his PhD and finishes it, having written eight papers, unlike the usual two.  Proud.

I guess all these things happened, and that’s why I got to be born, and that’s why we live in Australia.  I once asked my dad recently why he didn’t choose to go to Sydney or something when he came to Australia, then we could’ve lived by the beach or something.  And he said, we mightn’t even live in Australia right now, because the supervisor wouldn’t have liked me as much as his own did.  Then I said I can’t imagine living in China, and he said, you wouldn’t even have been born.

Quite a profound thought that was.

I don’t know.  He went onto say, it was because of his motivation that he succeeded.  And made his father proud as well.  He said, he does medicine to help people, not for the money.

People at his clinic said he went through patients the fastest, seeing the most patients each day.  I used to link this thought to money, not that he met them as quickly as possible, but that you’d make quite a bit.  But I realise that it’s because he wants to help as many people as possible each day, and also because he’s good at what he does.

Makes me see my dad in a new light.

Since he did so well in all his studies, he went on to study Medicine at Flinders University, I think, or the University of Adelaide…  Not sure.

Another plus, he said he’s going to get the whole family an iPhone 5 before we go to America for a holiday.  Yay!

Just Another Woo Girl


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