Hassan Borhan, aged 51, has one granddaughter. He used to work in the aviation industry and received a Long Service Award (20 years) from Singapore Airlines. He is a taxi driver who enjoys fishing because it reminds him how exciting life can be, as every catch is new, unique and different.
When I first saw you at the hospital, I looked at myself and said, “What big beautiful eyes you have, just like your mother.” I tried to pinch myself because I cannot believe that God has sent me a wonderful gift at the age of 51. You are a gift from Allah that I will always love and treasure and it brings me great joy and pleasure to write this letter to you.
Respect and discipline are the two qualities on top of my list to share with you. Respect is like planting a fruit tree. You plant the seeds into the ground, water it and ensure it grows well. Even when it’s a mature tree, you will never know when it will give you a fruit back. If you want to be respected, first you must learn to respect others. It does not matter if the person is older or younger than you. Regardless of age, status, race, religion, skin colour, etc., we must always treat others with respect first. In return you will earn the respect of others.
Respect is vital in bonding and family. Acknowledging and shaking hands with the elders is a form of respect. This includes friends too. I’ve always believed that this in turn would build closer ties and relations with family members, relatives and friends.
I learnt about discipline the hard way. Your great grandfather always used to punish me when I was young. For example, when I did not come home after school at the time I promised, I would get punished. When I was lazy and did not do my schoolwork, I would get punished too. But discipline is much broader than the examples I have given you. It comes in many ways and it could mould us into better people.
When one has self-discipline, one will achieve more than one’s peers. One must have the drive to work hard, and be disciplined to follow through with one’s actions. And this is a quality I want you to have because each of us has equal opportunities to be successful in life and self-discipline will help you through life.
With new advances in technology, your life will be full of exciting challenges. My advice for you is that you have to always work towards being the best. However, that does not mean you should compare yourself to your peers. You should work with yourself and be the best that you can be. With this, success in life will always be sweet. One should always believe in oneself. You should not feel discouraged or disheartened and give up whenever things do not go the way you hoped or planned for it to be.
I know you are still too young now to understand what I have shared above. Do not fear because I’m sure Allah has a lot in stored for you. For now, keep smiling because you brighten up everybody’s day, especially mine.
This letter is republished with permission from the National Library Board. Letters From Grandma and Grandpa (2008) is an initiative to create opportunities for youth and seniors to strengthen ties, enhance understanding and appreciate each other. Singapore grandpas and grandmas share their stories from the past, their hopes for the future, their love from their hearts, and their values for the soul. The letters capture their thoughts and feelings on important values, such as family and heritage, respect for the elders, generosity, love, courage and responsibility.
First published on 14-02-2011.
Categories: Letters from Grandpa