Friends, don’t take for granted the time we have with our loved ones. Forgive and reconcile. Love in the present.
I wrote the words below a few days after my father passed away. I share them with you and hope it will encourage you to give a big hug to your own Appa and Amma.
“Yesterday was the 14th of February 2019. Writing this post is bitter sweet for me. The father I have loved fiercely and deeply, passed away 3 days ago. It was also Valentine’s day AND the 6th anniversary of Earth Heir’s conception.
6 years ago, I rushed to the registrar of companies to set Earth Heir up. I thought why not, Valentine’s day is a great day for me to do this, because Earth Heir is truly a labour of love. It was born out of love. My father, was the greatest human example of compassion and generosity in my life. I was always surprised by how Appa would empty his pockets to give away to someone who needed it more.
My first memory of this was in a village in India, when I was 8 years old. We went to the village where my grandparents were born in Tamil Nadu. The whole village surrounded us, and an old lady who was hardly wearing any clothes come to my father and put her hand out. He had already given out nearly everything he had in his pockets. But he reached deeply and found some remnants and gave it to her. It was then that my 8 year old self realised, the life I had in Malaysia, is a blessed one. So many around the world don’t have the basic things we take for granted in our lives.
That day, my father showed me with his actions, and taught me compassion and generosity. It is this core desire of wanting to make a difference that caused me to take the risk and start Earth Heir. Even while my dad often said, why are you doing this? You went to Wharton and Cambridge and you want to sell scarves? Why have you given up your career to earn so little? How can you help others if you can’t help yourself?.....I know he was also happy that I was pursuing something with passion and I wanted to impact poverty. In the early days of Earth Heir, I worked out of my bedroom, and my dad would sometimes come home and ask, “is this a warehouse or a home?”, because our whole house had Earth Heir stock everywhere! And yet, he lovingly supported my dreams and let me be.
It is only by starting my own business that I understood how hard it must have been for my dad to start his business. He graduated with a degree in Zoology, but at his first job in Perak Motors, his boss asked him to clean toilets, and these were those old, blackened squat toilets. He said he got down on his knees and scrubbed those toilets so clean, his boss was so impressed with his character and attitude that he promoted him to be a manager.
I can still hear his voice, “keep fighting, don’t give up, challenges are to make you grow, keep persevering”.
So Appa, here’s to you. The king of my heart. Thank you for making me who I am and for all the immeasurable sacrifices you have made for me. Earth Heir wouldn’t exist without your incredible love and support. I am blessed to have been born as your daughter.”