Fridays With My Father

For most of my growing up years, my dad worked for the government away from home, only coming back on Thursday evenings by express bus and going back away on Friday nights. His weekend was on Friday, my school weekends were Friday/Saturday.

Friday mornings were always spent with him in town. I’d follow him to Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank, the biggest bank in town (now known as HSBC). Banking was different in those days, customer service was non existent (well maybe somethings haven’t changed that much) so to get all your banking done, you’d have to line up in multiple long queues. I’d pass the time by counting the number of people in front of my dad in the queue.

After banking my dad would treat me to a cup of white coffee at the kopitiam next to the bank on chettiar row, where all the lawyers and chettiars (moneylenders) had their offices, facing the river. a cup of coffee cost 55sen, and dad taught me how to stir and lift the spoon so that it cooled down faster.

We’d then come home for lunch, and after reading the newspapers, checking the oil in the car, some gardening, almost too soon after that, it was time for him to catch his bus back.

Those were my Fridays with my father. I’ll always remember the good times.


  • Ann

    And so your coffee ‘addiction’ began….

    I think I started drinking coffee only when I started working. And it started with half a packet of Nescafe a day.

  • simon

    mott – eh hallo, not that long ago, k?! 🙂

    ann – yes i blame it on my father!

    anjali – very simple. metal spoon, k? stir very hard round and round, lift of the spoon to let the heat emanate from the spoon, let the coffee settle. repeat. well to a kid it was kinda fun…

  • Angie Tan

    Nice memories.

    I remember spending afternoon with my granddad while holidaying in Ipoh. Those old kopitiam with that special kopi smell and yummy black kopi.

    Yes, those days, adults had no problems feeding caffeine to kids under the age of 5. LOL! These days, it would be scandalous!

  • simon

    giddy tigress – it wasnt so long ago! I’m still very young 🙂

    angie – haha ipoh coffee is by far the best!

  • christinejalleh

    When I was growing up, my father was working outstation too. I remember the mornings we’d arrive on the bus in Penang from KL (or vice versa) and the lovely breakfast of roti canai and teh tarik we’d have at the mamak stall.

    Instead of the spoon, my father would pour some out on to the saucer to let it cool. And I’d get all the sugar I wanted on my roti canai 🙂

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