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Two And A Half Men – A Story Of A Father, A New Father And A Son

Two And A Half Men – A Story Of A Father, A New Father And A Son

In 1975 my dad fled war torn Vietnam, he hopped on a boat bound for America where he found work in nursing. English was not his first language, but that didn’t stop him catching the eye of my mother. With his suave wavy hair paired with fashionably flared pants (and a somewhat dirty moe) they began dating. Then in 1976 they tied the knot with plans to start a family.

Like many Asian families, my father was the only male of eight children. All seven of his sisters migrated to Australia and shortly before my brother was made they packed up their life in America and made the move to the bottom of the world in Australia to be closer to his family.

I’m the youngest of four, with a brother and two sisters. My parents fondly love to tell me how I was the ‘great mistake’, the one that just got through.

Growing up in Australia was very different to the childhood my father had growing up in Vietnam. We didn’t have a lot of money growing up, but my parents always did everythingthey could to provide for their children. Education was incredibly important to them, and I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a private school to ensure I got the best education possible. It was difficult being ‘that kid’ in school whose parents weren’t able to afford the latest and greatest things.

But what I lacked financially stoked the embers of my love for all things sport. Growing up I was an active kid and played anything that involved a ball. One of my fondest memories were games we used to play with all the neighbourhood kids. I would often avoid my homework due to my love of sport, and this didn’t sit well with my father. With his Asian culture, education and discipline is very important. But my mum always had my back, letting me go out to play with my friends till it got dark and coming in to finish off my homework.

For long time I struggled to get along with my father, my education, along with the cultural differences, was the cause of arguments between my parents. I couldn’t understand why my dad was so persistent and strict with my education and study. He would always tell me “you’ll understand one day!”

These days we share a common love that has kept our relationship as a father and son in tact; it’s our love for motorcycles. As a strict Asian father, I suddenly saw this new “cool” side to him that I fell in love with. My mother’s American culture was beginning to influence him, with him listening to hippy vinyl records, playing the guitar, Kung-Fu and a kick arse motorcycle lover. I remember that first time I saw him on a motorbike and quietly began to idolise him. Over the years my dad’s motorcycle collection has included:
1.Honda 250
2 Yamaha RZ3503
3. Harley Shovelhead
4. Yamaha XJ750
5. BMW RS100
6. Suzuki GSXF750
7. BMW K75
8. Yamaha XVS1100

I always loved watching him tinker with his bikes, doing oil changes or simply cleaning it, I always insisted he put me on the bike when it was running.

My parents would go on bike trips away with their ‘club’ family. Dad was part of a riders group called BRAT Illawarra (Bike Riders and Tourers). The group was very family orientated and would sometimes have camping trips where us kids could tag along. I have such amazing memories of these trips as a kid. The community vibe was something special and we all felt a part of this great social gathering. The old bearded men huddled together deep in conversation about their new sheep skin covers, the adults laughing with each other over a drink, while the kids played till all hours and dancing to loud music. It was being a part of this community that made me fall in love with motorcycles.

I got my first motorcycle around the age of 12, from a Saturday morning garage sale. It was a second hand 90cc Kawasaki. It needed a bit of work to get it going again and my uncle Joe was more than keen to help me out. Not only did he make it mechanically sound, but he went the extra mile by repainting and relabelling the ‘Kawasaki’ logo. I was in awe.  At every opportunity possible I would ride it with my best friend Mitch, where we’d go exploring the bush. Together we had great adventures that has us excited and smiling for the whole five years we had it.

Along with my Dad, my Mum and sister also had their motorcycle licence, so naturally once I was 18 I bought my first road bike, a Suzuki GSXR-750 K5 and shortly after a K7.  My love for motorcycles only grew the older I got. I saw a bike in the window of a local motorcycle shop on my walk to work one morning. It was a BMW R9T and I fell in love instantly. The most devastating part was the price tag attached, but I convinced myself that one day it will be mine. And after four years of hard work and saving, I made it happen!

My relationship with my dad has improved immensely over the years. I truly believe our mutual love and respect for bikes has made this possible, it’s also made us closer. These days we frequently catch up over a coffee to chew the fat about life and all things bikes. We recently purchased a BMW R80 and started planning on working on the bike together as our next joint project to keep in the family.
Riding is in my blood and my love for it will never stop.As I sit here writing this blog entry, reflecting on my own life story growing up on two wheels, I can hear the sweet sounds of my own new born son, yawning and settling himself to sleep. I wonder what is ahead for us and the rides we will share together, creating new adventures with him just as I did with my own father.


To all father’s out there, new and old, may you all have a wonderful Father’s Day!

 

3 Comments

  • Jatko says:

    Wow! What a wonderful blog & thank you for sharing such a personal true story.
    I’m sure with your passion for bikes will influence your son to fall in love with bikes also & he will be super close with you going on rides together when he is old enough to ride. Hopefully your father is still alive & well enough so all 3 of you could ride together one day, that would be a moment to cherish & remember for life.
    Happy Fathers Day

  • Suly says:

    How proud we are of our Chi. Happy Fathers Day on your 1st of many.

  • Pamela Dziuk says:

    What a beautiful story to tell on Fathers and Sons on Father’s day. I am so happy you found a common passion and bond to enjoy together. Happy 1st Father’s day, here’s to memories waiting to be made with your new son on Motorcycles and whatever else tickles your fancy!

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