This was a talk I first gave at PechaKucha Petaling Jaya. Video transcript below.
When I was 18, mum and dad packed my bags and sent me off to the US for a working holiday programme. I was hesitant to go, but my parents were so excited for me to see the world. It was an opportunity they never had.
I was dreading this Chinese New Year. I didn’t want it to arrive.
Chinese New Year was my favourite time of the year. I loved the family gatherings, dramatic Blackjack games with my cousins, and feeling nauseous from overeating Kong Kong’s secret bak kwa stash. But my most cherished part of CNY was the second day, when I visit mum’s side of the family.
Sometimes I say stupid things without realizing the consequences. Things like “Mum! Dad! Let’s go on a holiday together!”
That sentence popped out before I realized what I had suggested.
Knocks on the door at 3:00AM are always bad news.
I love my dad, but I don’t trust him.
I don’t know what my second brother was thinking when he decided that it would be a good idea to put mum, dad, and the both of us in a confined space together for six days.
Every morning while I get ready for work, I would see my Ah Ma sitting in the rattan chair at our front porch, enjoying the early morning wind. Her eyes stare blankly at the moving traffic; her mind replaying the days of her youth.
“You were born in China, right?” “No. My passport says China, but I was born in Panipahan, Indonesia,” Chu replied nonchalantly. The revelation was dumbfounding.