In Cantonese, the slang 老竇 (pronounced ‘low tau’) simply means father … for the Chinese, it is very common when someone becomes a father … friends will congratulate him and say that he has become a 老竇.
But nowadays many write it as 老豆 (meaning old bean) but pronounced the same … not sure when and why the word got changed … but it should be written as 老竇, so I will use 老竇 from here onwards.
What many people don’t know is … why use the slang 老竇 to refer someone as a father. You see, when the Chinese call someone 老竇, meaning ‘Old Dou’ … it actually refers to a wise man in ancient times.
Now, I am a father of two … when I became a father, all my friends congratulated me for becoming a 老竇 but that is not the way I see it. Yes, I am a father but I cannot say that I am a 老竇.
OK, let me explain … in the Chinese Three Character Classic, the 三字经 (Sānzìjīng) … there is a verse that goes like this :
(Dòu yànshān, yǒu yì fāng. Jiào wǔzǐ, míng jù yang)
|Sourced from Internet|
The meaning of this verse is … Dou of Swallow Mountain has the right methods. He raised five sons, each of whom gained widespread reputation for their outstanding achievements.
Dou of Swallow Mountain (竇燕山) is actually Dou YuJun (竇禹鈞) who lived in a place called Swallow Mountain in ancient times … when people refer to someone as a 老竇 or ‘Old Dou’ … it is to pay respect to Dou YuJun (竇禹鈞) for his wisdom in raising five children, each whom attained outstanding achievements of their own.
So, yes I am a father but at this moment I cannot be referred to as a 老竇 because I cannot compare myself with Dou YuJun (竇禹鈞). I have not done what he did … I have yet to raise my kids to be outstanding individuals.
My kids are young and they still have plenty to learn … they still have a long way to go before they are able to face the world and make it on their own. Whether or not they are able to achieve success in the things they do, nobody knows for now.
That’s why I cannot accept the respect to be a 老竇 because I cannot be placed on the same standing with Dou YuJun (竇禹鈞) … at least not yet.