When National Taipei University of Technology students spelled out the word “Love” in English using lights in their dorms last month, the effort was not to send a romantic message, but to express one student’s love and respect for his father.
Liu Wei-yi (劉維益), a student in the industrial engineering and management department, said it took more than a month to plan the mission — along with the help of 800 fellow students — to switch the lights on or off in 200 dorm rooms.
“This is the first time I have expressed my love for my father. I want to wish him a happy birthday,” he said.
Liu said his father is a strict disciplinarian and has high expectations for his children.
“As a child, I was sometimes punished for doing something wrong. So I became fearful of my father, and there has always been a distance between us. When I need to discuss things, I talk to my mother first, then she speaks to my father,” he said.
Originally from Greater Tai-chung, Liu said that after coming to Taipei to study, he began to understand the hard work and sacrifices his father had to make for his family.
“When I was in high school, my father would not get home from work until after midnight. Often, I would already be in bed sleeping, but he still had not come home from work,” he said.
Liu said his father’s birthday is on Jan. 1, and in the past, he bought gifts such as an electric razor or a new jacket.
“However, for his 50th birthday, I wanted to do something special. So I decided to arrange a gift he will never forget,” he said.
“It took a lot of effort to coordinate the whole thing. I had to draw up the plan on a computer. Then I visited 200 dorm rooms, belonging to male and female students, and convened two meetings to coordinate the effort,” he said.
On Monday last week at about 11pm, the school’s two main dorms were lit up as usual.
Then certain lights were turned off, and the lit-up rooms spelled out the word “Love.”
On the school’s athletics field outside the dormitories, more than 200 students gathered, who applauded and cheered.
Liu said many students recorded the scene on their smartphones.
He also recorded a message for his father.
“In the past, I used to cry myself to sleep. I did not understand you and did not forgive you. Now I understand how much you put into our family. So I just want to say, ‘I love you,’ and ‘Thank you, father.’ Here is my ‘happy birthday’ and ‘happy new year’ gift for you,” Liu said in the message.
Liu’s father said he appreciated his son’s effort.
“When I saw the video and listened to the message, I had tears in my eyes. I replied right away by texting my son to say I love him too,” he said.