Reception Speech by daughter, Monique Hui
Thank you all very much for coming. I am Monique Hui, Alphonsus’s daughter. My brother, Creighton, and my mom, Josephine, all very much appreciate your support and love during this difficult time.
A middle child, from a middle class family, Alphonsus, was anything but mediocre.
Instead of dwelling on the tragedy and grief that we all feel, I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about some funny and fond memories that I have of dad.
My dad was a quiet man of few words; so, in the spirit of him, I’ll try to keep this short and sweet. 😊
I remember how patient and tolerant my dad was. For example: I was his part time Medical Office Assistant from the time I was 13-yrs old until my early 20’s. I was an selfish, idiotic 16-yr old obsessed with boys. I remember a patient coming in requiring my service one day, and I pretty much ignored him and continued talking to some silly boy I was gaga over at the time, on the phone for about 20 minutes. A short time later, my dad came up to me and showed me a letter that the patient had sent to my dad complaining of the crappy service I gave him (obviously not realizing that I was his daughter). In dad’s quiet and gentle way – he simply gave me the note and said, “I’ll let you think about that." Then, he walked away and never spoke about it again. Yeah, I never did that again.
But then, another time, he got very upset with me over a seemingly innocuous issue. It was my job every day to go get him lunch from the food court at Oakridge, because he never took a lunch hour. He was so busy; he just had time to gobble down some food between patients. Every day for 5 years, he wanted the same thing… he was a man of routine… An Arby’s sandwich with cheese. He ate Arby’s sandwiches with cheese every Saturday for 5 years. Never complained, never wanted to try something new.
One day, Arby’s closed.
So I asked him what to do. He said, “Hmmmm…. Well… Ahhhh… Okay… Hmmm… Maybe a hot dog then." I was tight on time that day, grabbed a hot dog and raced back to the office. Later that afternoon, he pulled me into the coffee room and said very firmly, “I have never eaten such an awful lunch! You got me a hot dog with no ketchup, no mustard, no relish. Just the wiener and a bun! In the future, if you’re getting me lunch, do better."
I know someone else in this crowd, who shall remain nameless, who likes the “do better” expression just as much.
Then there was the time we went windsurfing at Whistler when I was very young. He let me sit on the back of his windsurf board and just ride on it quietly as he paddled out and stood up and did his thing. One day as I was on the back of his board, I said, “Dad, look at that lady windsurfing right beside us! What’s wrong with her clothes?" And he awkwardly said, “Oh well, she’d windsurfing topless." So I said, “You mean those are her boobies?” and he didn’t answer and quickly windsurfed back to shore.
My dad was a humble man as you all know. He could have driven any car he wanted, but for him it was a butt-ugly RV, then a Honda Accord, then a Suzuki Swift. Nope, no Beamers or Benz’s for him. Then, there was the coupon cutting. Well, when it was time to eat out or find our family weekend adventure, he’d open the Entertainment Coupon Guide and say, “We can have 2-for-1 at Arby’s, or maybe go to the waterslides for 50% off if we can go between 11am-2pm tomorrow.”
And my best memory, which speaks more to the special relationship I had with dad: we all went to go see Annie the Broadway musical. When we came back, I said, “Dad, Annie is the same age as me, but she’s such a good singer!” Dad said, “Yes, she’s pretty good, but Monique – you’re better. You are such a good singer, you could be a professional! You are more pretty, more talented and more charming.”
I could go on for hours, but I need to stop before I break into the “ugly cry”. I miss him more than words can say. Everyday.
I must admit: I was so angry with the headlines of him in the news being a 68-yr old “senior”. I mean, Grandpa is 101-yrs old! He had a long active life ahead of him and, in my opinion, was gone too soon; but, I take peace in knowing that he had a good life… and he’s probably playing ping-pong somewhere up there… and now he’s not always losing to his brother, Uncle Hilary, like he often did when he was here. 😉
He was the kindest, most gentle, caring and generous person I’ve ever known in my entire life. We will miss him and celebrate the legacy he left behind. Thank you all for supporting us and for those of you who donated to the Legacy Bench and to his endowment fund at S.U.C.C.E.S.S.
Let’s raise a glass and say, “To Alphonsus!"