Dear Joel

Dear Joel,

As you take your first step on the plane today. Say a prayer. Today, your taking a big step.. A big step to your future and a big step away from your family. Never forget what our grandparents have always taught us. No matter how far you are, no matter what the circumstances are.. Family comes first. Always keep your faith with you, pray and let God guide you. Each situation or dead road you meet, take a step back and retrace your steps so that it guides you to the right path. Or better yet, pray.

Count your blessings my dear cousin, for you are the first among our generation to further on your studies. Be thankful to your parents for they love you so. You are blessed in many ways, and although you may not realize it.. I think you know that no matter what.. We are all a phone call away and you always hold a place in our hearts.

Words cannot express how proud I am of you. Neither can it express how sad I am that you are leaving abroad to study. I keep thinking of the times when you were 4 or 5 and you used to cry when I'd head back to Ipoh. Tonight, you might leave me for the longest time.. Come back with a wife (who knows).. But, I might cry. And know that the tears that flow down my cheek are tears of joy.

Always remember what Ah Kong and Ah Ma has always taught us. Be humble. Be thankful. Be strong and always strive to be the best. Always remember your parents, because without them you could have not been able to study abroad and be the best that you are today. Always remember that you are a role model to Joey. Always remember that at the end of the day, you have your family here in Malaysia and never ever forget your roots. And mostly, always remember turn to God when you need him most.

Things will get harder for you in the future. But be strong Joel. So today, no matter how excited you are to leave Malaysia to start a new future in Australia.. Always remember the ones back here in Malaysia. Never ever forget your roots and especially both your parents who have brought you to the world.

Be a good boy.. No, wait your no longer a boy. Be a good man Joel, your first step into manhood. Come back an adult. And always remember your roots and what your parents and grandparents have taught you.

I love you loads. And remember. "Wear rubber, don't be a father!"
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