Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Lao Pei

Lao Pei

Sometime ago, I spent a long time explaining to Arjun why I had to repay the loan I took from my father's CPF account to pay for four fabulously educational years in CS.

For one, it was being handled by the government and the government tends to be rather difficult to shake off. Maybe they're insecure. Ia dunno. Anyway, the constant stream of computer-generated letters would attest their efficiency.

Also, the point that the money was not really meant for me in the first place - it was for his retirement, it was for him. Sure, there were those who were lucky enough not to have to take loans. For some kids, education was part of the package, part of the deal. But we're not one of those families. He needed the money.

I've defaulted on enough loans, conveniently 'forgetting' to repay friends and colleagues, attributing it to my poor memory. Half the time its true, but the other half was because I was just too goddamn miserly and, well, just not a very nice person I guess. Mostly, I just didn't have the cash one hand.

But this was one payment I didn't intend to default upon.

So I patiently explained all this to Arjun, who didn't really get it in the end anyway, because to him - education was always part of the package. To him, it was akin to me paying back all the money they had spent on diapers.

That's not how I see it though.

I wrote to my father the other day, discussing the repayment and the loan and what to do with the mountain of letters that had accumulated over the past few months. Bonfire, anyone?

I dropped a joke - about him cancelling my loan so CPF would get off my back. I'd pay him in cash instead. I'd seen that option when I logged into the CPF page (which only loads on internet explorer, btw, so much for e-service). Waive your dependents' loan. Click?

I made it clear it was a joke - money's not really funny sometimes. After all, this was a man that I had argued with about $10 loans and about who's-paying-for-the-cat-food-this-time. I wasn't about to get into a long-distance shouting match.

And then this morning I opened my email account and read his reply to that, which very nearly left me in tears.

Let's just say, he hadn't known waiving was an option.


ah-liang said...

dat's love for ya, ms lim. =)