I love my dad the most. His name is Gerry Irfan Abdullah @ Lachica Gerard Ricardo. He was in the band, The Flybaits. He is Filipino, and born in Singapore. He passed away on 17 February 2016, after battling liver cancer for 2 years.
The first time he met my mum (born in Indonesia), she was beautiful and slim. When dad was in the band, she was listening to him and fell in love with him. He came forward to her, talked sweet nothings and had a great time together. When she went back to live in Indonesia, he missed her a lot. When she decided to escape out of Indonesia to Singapore, she wanted to marry dad as soon as possible. Then a baby was born. I have siblings – 2 sisters and 2 brothers. All are able to hear; only I am deaf.
I became deaf at 3 years old after a high fever. I was watching TV, and I set the volume really high. My auntie called me, “Ricky, Ricky, Ricky, stop the volume!” But I couldn’t hear anything, and then I got a high fever. So they brought me to see the doctor, and the doctor said that I was deaf. My dad was shocked, worried and hurt. He said, “Why, God, my Son is mute.” He really didn’t know what to do… but he never gave up, no matter what, he still loved me and fought to help me have a comfortable life.
He kept thinking about how to communicate me. When he worked in the music industry and met his Friend from the USA, dad said, “My Son is deaf,” and his friend was shocked. He knew about deaf people, and so he helped my dad. He taught dad about sign language, and suggested that I go to Canossian School for the Hearing Impaired (CSHI).
I started school at 4 years old, and when I saw that the class couldn’t use sign language, I started having to speak in class. The lady teacher was strict and she told me not to use hand sign language. I was really uncomfortable. My dad saw how I felt, and he decided to move me to another school. Then he found the Singapore School for the Deaf (SSD).
I started school at 5 years old. I saw that many people were deaf and able to use sign language. I felt that there were activities, and they were interesting. It made me happy! But I was never good at studying – after 15years I failed PSLE, and I went to another school. Originally “Vocational School for the Handicapped” (VSH), but now renamed as Mountbatten Vocational School (MVS), this was a place for me to gather work skills and gain job experience. After 2 years, I got a new job working in “Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf” and I got a Gold Award from the Singapore Kindness Movement Council.
My dad has always been proud of me, because he thinks I’m a nice guy who takes care of him when I am around at home. But sometimes we argue. However, I know that no matter what, I’ll still love him. He got to know who I am. We got closer and were better able to communicate with each other, and share about members of the family. My brother and sister are grown up already, and I hope they can find a new life and love each other. I know that we all want that.
When I was 11 years old, I started to hate my brother because he showed a bad attitude and hot temper. We often fought and got angry at each other. My dad tried to tell me to be nice to him. But I couldn’t stand him, and I did not want to talk to him anymore, because I felt that he would never change. When dad needed him to help, he didn’t listen to dad, but just left from home. So I had to help dad patiently. He always needed me, because there was nobody else to help him.
Dad was sad, lonely and not happy with my last brother. Dad really seemed to love him so much, when he was gone. That hurt the most – my brother never realised and never had the sense to think about our family. But we just let him take his time, thinking and hoping that one day he would change for the better. But I do love him, always thinking about what dad said to me. I have to be nice to him. I know that dad loves his son and daughter.
I remember when dad said, “Ricky, you are the most worthy of all my children.” I said, “Why?” He said he felt comfortable with me, and I was always around him. Attached in my mind is a sticker labelled “worthy”. It made me feel inspired.
There was once that dad forgot sign language. That day, I reached home and saw him lying on his bed, his hand holding his smart phone with the app “Learn Sign Language”. I ask him, “Why are you learning this?” He said, “I want to learn again because of you.” That was touching and sad, I said that he didn’t have to learn this, because he was very sick.
The last thing that he wanted to tell me before he passed, he said, “Please take care of Mum, and please massage dad’s arm, legs when he get coma.” Until suddenly I saw he is in a coma then I realised, I did massage him for 30mins with my friends at my side to accompany me. His eyes teared up, I hugged him, then few hours later his final breath came out and his heart stopped.
My personal dad is the best in the world, he would tell joke and is the funniest person ever. He is really the sweetest person, and I cherish everything that he has done for me. Thank you dad, I love you so much.
My family’s heart always there for you, dad allah.
My goal is to travel to other countries, meet deaf friends and learn different sign language cultures. I hope that I will get to make true, lifelong friends. Thanks :)