Ahmad Alias and his children enjoying a karaoke session at Ri-Yaz Heritage Resort and Spa in Pulau Duyong yesterday.
KUALA TERENGGANU: Life has never been the same for Ahmad Alias after his wife walked out on him almost a year ago.
Left with six school-going children, aged between 6 and 16, the 43-year-old odd job labourer said it had been a constant struggle to juggle time between running the household and earning an income.
He said putting food on the table had not been easy as suitable jobs, especially at construction sites, were few and far between due to the economic slowdown.
“Now that I am a single parent, I can no longer venture out too far from home to work and that has made it harder for me to bring home regular pay.
“But we are learning to adjust to our new life and my eldest child, Siti Nur Shafikah, has been a big help in keeping things together at home,” said the resident of Kampung Tajin in Hulu Terengganu, who was caught by surprise when he received an invitation to celebrate Fathers Day at Ri-Yaz Heritage Resort and Spa in Pulau Duyong.
Ahmad said that was the family’s first Fathers Day celebration, adding that the boutique resort was kind enough to pick up the family on Saturday morning for a two-day, one-night stay at its royal suite.
“We have never set foot in a hotel before, let alone spend the night in a royal suite at the resort, famous for the Monsoon Cup competition.
“It has been a memorable experience for all of us, being treated like royalty even if it is only for a couple of days,” said Ahmad, adding that he accepted the invitation because he knew his children needed a break.
Siti Nur Shafikah, who is in Form Four at Sekolah Menengah Kuala Telemong, said she and her siblings had never seen or eaten so much food on Fathers Day.
“We had so much fun splashing in the pool, singing to a karaoke set in the living room and having a dip in the jacuzzi. But the best treat for us was to see abah (father) smiling again,” she said.
Ri-Yaz Heritage Resort and Spa general manager Malizan Zakaria said the presence of Ahmad’s family had made the Fathers Day celebration at the resort special.