Take life as it comes

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 October, 2007, 12:00am

Francis Mak Yun-sau, whose radio programme on RTHK has won him legions of young fans,

says happiness is the key to a healthy family. He has earned the reputation of an on-air counsellor.

Mak's father passed away when he was a child, and he was brought up by his late mother who raised the family single-handedly.

'I didn't suffer much. It was my mother who had to put up with the hardships,'

says Mak, 54. 'She always gave me the best. Even when she had to eat leftovers, she would find fresh food for me.'

Mak has no idea what his father was like and had little idea of what a father should be. That changed when he started caring for his mother when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2004. Before the diagnosis, his mother would accuse her daughter-in-law of stealing from her, but Mak soon found out this was a symptom of the illness.

'Trying to reason with her didn't help because physically and mentally she had changed, just like children change during different stages of their growth,' says Mak.

'To ask my mother not to think such peculiar thoughts was like asking babies not to wet themselves. My mother was sick and could not help herself.'

Mak then realised the importance of looking at relationships from a broader perspective.

'My daughter isn't even two years old, but you could call her rebellious, depending on how you define it. Is she rebellious because she doesn't meet your expectations or adult standards? To think so is wrong,' he says.

'It's important to develop a healthy way of thinking and not to dictate how others behave.

If you accept that some things are part of life, you are less prone to disappointment or anger and will be more patient when dealing with people.'

He adds that parents should set a good example because children are like photocopiers and copy what adults do.

'I learned persistence from my mother, who raised us without feeling she had to remarry. Following her example, I always do my best at work and I'm a responsible person.'

Mak says his deepest regret is that his mother, who longed for grandchildren, passed away two weeks before his wife learned she was pregnant.

'I try my best to make my children happy I had a happy childhood but there were unhappy moments because I didn't feel like we were a complete family.

'I used to think family meant a home made up of parents, wife and children.

But today I think a happy home makes a family whole.'