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My Favorite Things

by Walden, 12/20/16

In Papa's lifetime, there must be a few hundred or perhaps a few thousand things that he touched and liked. Yet there are a only a handful of things that he really loved.

  • The Sound of Music. Do you know that Papa loves the musical Sound of Music, in 2008, we must have played the movie more than 20 times, he watched the movie together with John John (over and over and over) at Palm.

  • Favorite Bible verse. I am not very sure what his favorite chapter or verse would be, however, the night before Papa passed, he raised his left hand pointing at the Framed Verses in the living room. I was with Mama and Megan, and did not really understand what he was saying - his voice all slurry. The day after, I learned from Brother Charles, that Papa was showing us the verse he wrote and framed on the wall - Psalm 23, The Lord is my Shepherd.

  • Dictionary. Do you know that Papa always have a few things with him. A dictionary (Chinese to English to Chinese Dictionary), he have one too many, and later on, with upgrading to the electronic talking dictionary in the late 90s. He will also always have a pen. He once told me to carry one for myself, for you will never know when you have an idea that you needed to jot down. (I did have a pen with me all the time, Rene says, I needed a pen even when I sleep.)

  • Cadillac. The brand that he loved best, I think he must have own more than 5 Cadillacs in his lifetime. For Papa, this easily beats Mercedes, Acura, Honda, or even his very last car, a Lexus 600.

  • Photography. His love of photography started in the early fifties, in Bacolod, where he had a Photo-Studio called "Blue Heaven". Papa was a very good photographer, but his best quality are NOT the pictures or videos, his best was his discipline - every single photo were tucked into Photo Albums, Videos were labeled, backed-up and kept. And starting from 1970's he kept a diary of almost all his travels explaining each journey with words and pictures and video. I estimated about 30,000 photographs, and more than 500+ short and long movies, 

  • Finale (Software). At around 2004, Papa started to loving music again. We bought a program called Finale, and he instantly feel in love with the software. With Finale, he composed and created more than 300 hymns, music, and songs. Papa (and Mama) both have very special musical talents. Both can sing and hum accurate tunes to the number-notes. His most popular composition -- He is like a Tree [他要像一棵樹]. 

  • Favorite Song. When I was 8 years old, in Manila, I remember Papa telling a story of "500 miles", I later realized that it was the song made famous by Peter Paul and Mary, 500 Miles Away from home. I believe this was one of his earlier favorites. In 1970's, his favorite was Dahil Sa iyo, a song he plays with his organ and even sing in the Tagalog dialect. Later on in 2007, he feel worked on Tears-In-Heaven, and in the late 2015, he fell in love with an old Filipino song introduced by Walter, called Anak. We hear Papa singing the song in Tagalog and in Chinese during the month of Dec-2015.

  • Computers. Many hours in a day, for many many years, he sits with his computers (yes, plural). One day in early 2016, he asked me to fixed his computer, he was telling me about the Windows 10 upgrade. I immediately replied, "No, do not update, it will only be trouble". That did not stop him, for by mid-day, he hit the update button, and presto -- error over errors, and by late that afternoon, he was proudly showing me his new Windows 10 - installed and working! (It challenged me, that when I went home that day, I started to upgrade all my own work and play computers to Windows 10!) His last time working on his computer was on Oct-27, 3 weeks before his passing.

  • iPhone. A week before Papa left, he was still trying to "update" his iphone. You know, those "pesky" Apple updates that forever bugs a user. In a way, I guess, those updates are actually good for brain exercises.

  • Johnson's Baby Cologne. This is one item that is never without for Papa. After every shower, every swim. When he moved from Davao to Manila to Hongkong and finally to California, this item is always around. I remember I used to send one big box (288 bottles of Johnson's cologne) to Papa.

  • Automation. Papa has a thing with automation --- alarms and lights in particular.  Those alarm panels, yes, he programmed it by himself, which area to bypass, which window to stay unlocked - and believe it or not, he memorizes each number representing each individual door, window or sensor. For the lights, at certain hours, it must automatically turn on and off. And for the sprinklers, they all come to life at the wee hours during dawn, each station with specific time and minutes. I must admit that I am still lost at how to operate the alarm panel, other than "Stay" and "Away." He does it all. I guess Ton Ton must have inherited Papa's love for these automation gadget. Around September, when Papa started complaining about the heat or the cold of the air-condition, Ton Ton installed a Nest. For many days or weeks, Papa can be seen studying the system with his iPhone, tinkering the buttons and panels everyday, for several weeks! 

  • Blood Pressure Tester. This tester have never been untouch for more than 24 hours in maybe more than 50 years!

  • Konsyl. Papa is a good promoter of healthy dining. His favorite, although not necessary the food he liked best are Konsyl and Prunes. He preach healthy eating, and as his number one fan, I also learned to "like" this (taking this for more than 20 years now). I always see him giving away Konsyl bottles to his friends, new friends, church friends, and even tried to convince Bao (his longtime handyman friend.) Sadly, about 1 month before his passing, Papa completely stopped taking Konsyl as he have much difficulties in swallowing, in a few days later, also stopped taking prunes. When his friend Charles and Maria came to visit on the day of Papa's passing, I learned that Papa also gave him a bottle of Konsyl, and 'preach' to him about healthy dining. That Sunday at church, I took the last unopened Konsyl and gave it to Bro. Charles.

  • Favorite Food. "Po Chai Long Li Fan", baked fish with spinach and cream, at the Arcadia Garden Cafe along Baldwin. He knew almost everyone of the servers and the manager, by name (first name and some even their last name.) Papa loved this place so much, that Matthew and Myself seem to have adopted his likes -- the three of us loved this food, and yet, this place was so "unliked" by most of our family members. :)

  • Cassette / CD Player. Papa's daily companion for more than 25 years has been a cassette player and later a DVD player and then finally a CD player. For 40 minutes everyday, he did the Luk Tong Kuen exercises. His discipline is unmatched. His last exercise was on Sep 6, 2016. That's morning he slipped and fell on the exercise floor. The fall did not do any damage, but it stayed on as a warning sign that he can no longer do the daily exercises he loved to much.

  • Swimming Pool.  Papa's love of enjoying a healthy life does not end with food intakes, since 1998 at 2425 S 8th Avenue, until his final years in the 6th Avenue, about 30 years, he have his daily swimming routine, at best he can swim non-stop 40 lapse of a 75-feet pool, and in his later years, he did 30 minutes of swimming exercise - yes, everyday!  After starting his radiation treatment, the doctor have advised against vigorous exercises. That day at home, Papa said, when I stopped swimming, "my life is gone..." I felt very really sad, how he would have to give up his one thing that he have been doing for the past 30 years.

  • International Call Phone. One of Papa's and Mama's favorite piece of device is a VoIP Phone that I installed back in 2014. On the right-hand sidecar, are Speed Dial to friends "Bin Giok" "Kheng Hua" "Bee Lei" "Sio Hua", and to William and Wilda, Hong Kong Accountant, then finally to Aleh (Meng Lai) Home and Cell Phone.

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