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The Last Photo With My Dad
This photo is the last one I ever took with my father. We were at breakfast surrounded by Muay Thai World Champions.
Many years ago, my father abandoned our family at the lowest point of our lives. I held onto so much anger for decades. At the end of 2015, I reached out to relatives in Thailand to search for my father; I found him broke and alone in Pattaya. I was shocked at how old and frail he had become. For some reason, I had expected him to look like he did when I was a kid. The only thing I remember from our first dinner together that night was the long, awkward silence. He was always a man of few words. It was far from perfect, but it was a small step towards healing. Ultimately, I wanted to find peace for both of our hearts. He later came to visit me in Singapore (where this photo was taken). I don’t want to sugarcoat things and pretend that everything went back to normal. The saddest part though is that I thought we could take our time to heal the relationship. I had incorrectly assumed that we had time, but we did not.
Despite everything, I want to remember the good that he did. He was the one who gave me my name (which means warrior in the Thai language). He was the one who introduced me to Muay Thai as a kid by bringing me to Lumpinee Stadium. He was the one who ignited my love for the ocean by first taking me to a deserted island with crystal clear waters in Pattaya. He was the one who gave me a blessed childhood in Thailand. He was the one who brought me to Sityodtong Gym for my first day of Muay Thai when I was a child. He was the one who inspired me to be a dreamer in life. In many ways, it is a fitting end that our last photo together would be with so many Muay Thai World Champions. This is how I would like to remember my father – always.
Life is precious. Don’t wait to say I love you. Don’t wait to say I am sorry. Don’t wait to say I forgive you. Don’t wait to say thank you. You see, I have learned (again) that love is everything in life. Treasure your loved ones. Make them feel loved and special every day. Don’t hold back out of pride, anger, fear, or anything else. And always remember that forgiveness is the elixir of the soul. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. Forgive others. Forgive yourself. Let us always remember the good in each other.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad. Thank you for everything you did for me. I will always be full of gratitude for our time together. #gratitude
Chatri Sityodtong is a self-made entrepreneur and lifelong martial artist from Thailand. His rags-to-riches life story has inspired millions around the world on BBC News, CNN, Financial Times, Bloomberg TV, CNBC, Channel NewsAsia, and other major media. He is the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of ONE, Asia’s largest global sports media platform in history with a broadcast to over 150+ countries around the world. He is also the star of the first-ever global edition of The Apprentice, the award-winning reality TV series on Netflix. Sityodtong was named “Asia’s King of Martial Arts” by the Financial Times and was ranked the “2nd Most Powerful Person in Sports in Asia” by FOX Sports. Sityodtong was also selected as one of “Asia’s Top 100 Business Leaders” by Business Insider. He is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at INSEAD, Europe’s top business school. Inducted recently into the Black Belt Hall of Fame, Sityodtong is a Kru in Muay Thai under Yodtong Senanan and a Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Renzo Gracie. Sityodtong holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from Tufts University.