Dad's long hours working all worth it for the family

Heavy rains fail to deter sons and daughters from taking fathers out for celebratory meal

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 June, 2013, 5:39am

Children across the city braved the wet weather yesterday to spend some quality time with their dads on Father's Day.

With an area of low pressure bringing occasional showers and clouds - and a thunderstorm warning hoisted for a few hours - it was a good day for staying indoors.

The Chan family was one of many who spent the morning enjoying yum cha. But it wasn't just a Father's Day treat for George Chan Lai-hon, the patriarch of this family.

"Dad loves his yum cha," said son Chan Kin-fai, 31, at a restaurant in North Point. "We come with him every week. It's not just a Father's Day thing."

The teacher and his older sister Emily, who is an accountant, recalled how their father worked day and night to provide for them when they were young. "He used to leave home very early in the morning for work when he was a taxi driver," said Chan. "It was so early that it was still dark."

His father said that although he had done exhausting shift work as a driver for over 30 years, he had no complaints as he had two children who loved him.

"They always understood how tiring it could be," said George Chan. "And they knew that I started work too early to buy breakfast, so they would buy me bread for my breakfast every day. They're good kids."

He has spent his working life on the roads, as a taxi driver for 11 years and a bus driver for 17. And he is still working at the age of 66 - as a minibus driver.

"My children always want me to stop driving and retire. I know it's because they care about me, but I think that if I'm still able to work, then why not keep going?"

Restaurants across the city were busy during the day yesterday, but some complained that dinner bookings were down.

"We don't have as many bookings for dinner as we did last year," said the manager of one local restaurant.

He put this down to the fact that some families may have celebrated Father's Day earlier in the week on the public holiday for the Dragon Boat Festival.

A recent poll by the Federation of Trade Unions found that of 953 fathers surveyed, 78 per cent said they spent less than an hour a day with their families.