I was at flea market and saw many fake Rolexes and old vinyls. I haven’t got my turntable fixed and could not carry off a fake Rolex so all I could afford was a spiffy glass with little chipmunk illustrations.

I’m going to Cambodia at the end of this month. Ecstatic.

+ + +

My dad and I don’t get along that much. When I was young, he left me outside a movie theater while the family went inside because I wouldn’t stop crying because he wouldn’t buy me some snacks that I don’t remember because I’m probably repressing the memory. When I was slightly older, he kicked me out of the house because we argued over something I don’t remember as well.

He’s never the kind of dad who is verbally expressive or affectionate and I’m the kind of daughter who finds the term “daddy’s girl” foreign. He’d say stuff, that my mom will later tell me, he doesn’t mean. My mom knows him better than he knows himself.

We argue less these days because we talk less. Movies with father-daughter scenes still make me cry because 1) I can’t relate and 2) I want to relate. Having said all that, he’s not a bad father. I was just a difficult kid.

On Friday morning we visited his father at the cemetery. My grandpa died young in a barber’s chair. He drank too much, partied too hard and worked too little—that’s what my grandma said. My dad doesn’t speak much about his father, but he did mention that as a kid, his father would make him eat vitamins that tasted bad. My dad would pop them into his mouth and pretend to be a good kid. When his father wasn’t looking, he’d run to the balcony to spit them out. But one day someone discovered all the tiny tablets of goodness on the ground below. It didn’t make anyone happy.

So we were at the cemetery and the Buddhist temple. My dad brought the hell-notes, paper clothes and shoes and made a bonfire of it. Nothing really Buddhist about it actually, but it’s a belief that has found its way into tradition. My dad doesn’t see it that way though. We see things differently.

But we are so alike.

That morning he asked me to get some flowers for grandpa. He called it my contribution. It was like an invitation to join him in remembering his father. I was glad. It wasn’t a “grand gesture” but I enjoyed picking the flowers. I liked how my dad asked me with a smile. I liked that he asked me. And that he liked me.

And that I saw glimpses of another Father in him.

Here are some black and white photographs I took that morning.
And here are some happy colored photographs.
These are from the Buddhist temple. I thought pagodas and ornate doors are too familiar so I took a bunch of “rubbish”—my dad’s description of my kind of photography. Above: some thorny plant and below: a cup of burnt joss sticks. So my dad is right (sometimes), I know. But I like the way the colors turned out anyhow. For more rubbish photography, head to Flickr and Virb. My photographs are here and there. You can find some holga shots there too.

Unfriendly nuns are scary.



  1. agung

    old nuns with long rulers are scary.

  2. BenLuffy

    i thought the burning of hell-notes are taoist traditions hmm….

  3. thundered cat

    dave: heh. true. on tv/movies though.ben: thus, nothing buddhist about it.

  4. pat

    i think i know how you feel. and i know what it feels like to be kicked out of the house (only it was my mum). movies on feel good father-daughter relationships make me feel a)cynical b)depressed.i escaped cemetery-visiting this year.(hands a paper bag of hugs)

  5. thundered cat

    (receives paper bag of hugs. holds it close to heart)thank you :)

  6. HL

    I like your “rubbish” photos.

  7. thundered cat

    hl: thank you. i checked out your blog and left a comment somewhere :)

  8. johne nomad

    Sometimes it’s so hard to choose to not see people thru the lens of their worst moments – esp. when those moments are horrendous & the person means a lot to us. That’s why I so deeply appreciated you noticing even these fleeting glimpses of Father in your dad. The texture in the b&w’s & color pics at the end is amazing.

  9. thundered cat

    thank you, john… for your kind words. i appreciate that :)those moments are precious.

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