This Sunday is Father’s Day.

Unlike Mother’s Day, there isn’t much of an air of excitement around this day…

…there is not much publicity. There are hardly any write-ups on fathers. Tributes to fathers are also scarce. Few people talk about it. And the day tends to come and go almost unnoticed.

Are fathers so unpopular that their children do not find it to be a day worth celebrating? Perhaps, it is so.

In a survey conducted in 102 non-English speaking countries, the word ‘father’ did not feature in the top 100 most beautiful words in the language. The word “mother” emerged as No 1.

Fathers certainly do not deserve to be sidelined. After all, they love their children as deeply as mothers do. Fathers are usually the pillars of strength in the family.

Renel Chew wrote to me after reading my commentary, “Thank you for being a mother” (May 6).

She said: “The best part is, you mentioned your dad. Without dads, we mothers would not have the courage and motivation to do the impossible.”

Yes, I agree with her. Dads are important, too. I was told that my dad accepted my condition quickly and helped my mother come to terms with it. When they discovered that I was born with brittle bone disease, Dad was a picture of calm while Mum was a bundle of nerves. His cool composure helped to keep things in perspective.

Yet with all that Dad has done for me, I, like many other people, do not have an urge to celebrate Father’s Day.

It is not that I am ungrateful. I am thankful that he has always been there for me and ensured that my needs and comfort are given priority.

But I do not get to enjoy his company as much as I would like to. He is always out at work, in order that he can bring home the bacon.

When he is at home in the evenings, he will remind me of my homework. He will nag me when I watch television. He will blow his top when I argue with him.

Sometimes, I cannot help arguing with him. When I was much younger, I found my father a genius. He had all the answers to my questions.

Now, as I grow older, he does not seem to know that much. Some of his answers are debatable and some are wrong. Of course, with raised voice, he is always right.

To me, he is an authority figure. That is why I cannot wait to become a father myself. It will be fun showing off my power, will it not?

Don’t get me wrong. I love my father. His stern exterior belies his abiding care and concern for the family. What’s more, he has a soft spot for me. I also respect him because he will apologise for his mistakes … after he cools down.

And so, I have decided to organise a Father’s Day celebration for him starting this year. It will give me an opportunity to pay tribute to him.

My friend, however, is not as fortunate as I am. When I asked him if he celebrates Father’s Day, he said: “What? Father’s Day? I don’t even do it for Mother’s Day.”

He told me that both his parents work. He gets to see them for two to three hours a day. Most of the time, he is looked after by the maid.

He asked me: “By the way, do you know when Maid’s Day is?”

If we have more working mothers, will Mother’s Day be threatened? I think it will. However, the impact may not be significant because of the special bond a mother has with her children.

As for Father’s Day, it will continue to be unpopular if fathers are not prepared to “mother” their children. If they meet their children’s needs for love and attention, their efforts will be reciprocated naturally.

Happy Father’s Day!

(This journal entry is published in TODAY on 17 June 2005)