Friday, June 23, 2017

Statue of Liberty.


My friends Charlie Charoenwong and Chanika Charoenwong went to USA with their children.
Part of their journey reminded me of the time I went with my flatmates to Niagara Falls, New York, back the Detroit way. At one section of the road near to Buffalo, there was no vacancy all along the road.
We came to a motel to be told there were no vacancy, and there was a couple, A fifty something Asian woman and an American man. She offered to me to sleep in their room. May it it was instinct, I declined.
Forty years later, and a writer of few books, I thought back what a smart decision it was. Recently, I read an au pair taking a celeb to court. She sued the celeb for making her do a Three some with her husband. When I read this, I am glad I didn't put myself in that predicament.

Thanks Charlie for yr photos. I like this photo because my friends and I climbed all the way up the Statue of Liberty.
 
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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Lourdes

My sister Grace went to Lourdes and she said a prayer for me. This happened just when I released my latest book, Two Asian Stories. The book has content of Roman Catholicism, which my upbringing is influenced by.

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Two Asian Stories




The world has always been pro males. The Asian women fare it worst. Women were sold as slaves, women were made to marry men they don’t know, some of these matches were made even when the girls were babies. Girls were molested, raped, impregnated and had their babies aborted or given away, beaten. The modern day insecure women subject themselves to get their breasts bigger or smaller.

In story one, two girls born in the 1920s. One “upstairs” as the rich pampered missy. The other “downstairs”, born to be the slave aka mui zai of the rich girl. Fate and victims of tradition brought them to Borneo, World War II aka Japanese War and finally to New Zealand.

In story two, a girl born in the 1960s, ran into trouble with the Communists, and teenage pregnancy. She ran to the big city of Singapore. Crisis after crisis plague her. Her whole world shattered and she committed suicide. She ended up in a mental institution.

cover:  出入平安 chūrù  Pingann Peace to all who enter and to those who leave

My latest book, published 2017.

My latest book, published 2017. When I was young, words like sex, rape, abuse would be considered X-rated.  Today, it is occurring every where. Perhaps I have gone where other writers will not touch on especially in Asia.





Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Temple



In the early 60s, we lived in the Government Quarters along with Malays, other Chinese dialect groups, Ibans, Eurasian and so on.
Near to the houses were a small Hindu temple . There were no windows but had louvers to admit light and air. We climbed up on the wall, my brother supporting me, and we saw some statues in gold. It was full of mystique. It looked deserted because there was nobody there.

In the garden was a deep walled in well. Some one rumored that some one had drowned in the well. The water was murky. We climbed to steal the sour lime like calamansi which we ate there and then. Then there were the gardenia flowers and buds. We stole them. The plants were high up and so we had to climb. Someone screams ghost and we went screaming home.

You see. Mum had warned us not to wander there.
For nostalgia sake, I went three years ago. The temple was gone, and the modern building replaced it.
My friend said it was the smallest temple in Malaysia.

Friday, May 19, 2017

two loaves of bread,

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  Two elderly women didn't have enough money to pay for two loaves of bread. I paid for them and rush to give the loaves of the bread to them. It didn't cost me a lot, but gave an anecdote to write about.

My Ah Kung and Ah Ma would be happy.
People ask me where I get ideas for my writing, this is one example.

Grandma's slave


There is on internet a story on "My family's slave" by an Filipino American.

Here's an abstract of my grandma's slave from my book, From China to Borneo to Beyond.

The pronunciation of my Quang Ning dialect MUI ZUI, for a slave sounds like the sour plum, and MUI ZAI as a girl is different. I don't know what it is in other dialects.

It must have been 1900s when my grandmother brought her over to be her slave. The girl was very young. It is not sure if her parents gave her the slave while she was a young child, or whether she was given when Grandma married Grandpa.

My father, John remembered fondly of Grandmother’s mui zai (slave) whom he called Ah Jia, (big sister.) In fact he saw her more than he saw Grandmother. Grandmother worked in the rubber garden, the mui zai took care of him and his siblings. She did all the housework. His fondest memory was her  kindly separated the rough green husk of the sweet mung bean soup, so he would have it as a smooth watery thick soup. We used to tease him to be a super spiolt brat because we ate the green bean husk.

There was talk that the British government in Malaya and Singapore was going to pass an emancipation of slaves, and those not releasing the slaves would be punished.

To preempt this, when this mui zai was 16, a marriageable age, Grandfather Kee Seng arranged for a suitable mate and married her off. This was much to the aghast of Grandmother. Grandmother whinged that this mui zai was paid for by her parents; therefore she was her property. This mui zai was her slave for life. Grandfather Chan had no right to sell her property. But Grandfather would not have any part of this old feudal slavery system. They married her off to someone up the Rejang River.

The emancipation law was never passed and Grandfather never heard the end of Grandmother harping on and on about it.

Some of those mui zais maintained a good relationship, coming back to the family as though they were part of the family. In many cases where they had suffered abuse from their owner and hated them; they never came back to visit.  Some, their new family forbidden them to. Grandmother’s mui zai never came back. Father said Grandma was a difficult person  to handle. The Mui Zai was probably so glad to have her freedom.

Father did meet the mui zai many years later. Father was on official duty in a school near where she was married off to. She came and was hesitant and afraid to talk to Father, now an official of the government. She called him "Young Master" and she wanted Father to help her grand children to get into teachers’ college. She said quietly that it wasn’t that she didn’t want to visit the Chans, it was because she was not allowed to. She had been emancipated from one family into the slavery of another. She mentioned what a good family she had grown up in, and she would rather be old and single and be a mui zai in the Chan’s home. She had always loved Father very much.

I wrote about my grandma's Mui Zai in my book. I also remembered my mum almost got a Mui Zai too. It was after the World War Two. My great Grand Mother aka Ah Tai didn't want my mother to work too hard. So she bought a girl slightly older than my oldest sister. My father declined and packed the girl away. My father's rationale was in this day and age, him being a Christian should not have a Mui Zai aka slave. How could he have the conscience of having a Mui Zai who slaves away while his own daughters went to school. Ah Tai aka Great Grand Mother argued we we just pay for her in the beginning which she had already done, and don't have to pay her anymore. Mother said we just had to feed her. Ah Tai probably argued that we were doing a humanitarian favour. 

We knew about this returned Mui Zai when we had to do house work. We complained and wished we still had the Mui Zai.


My parents had 6 girls, MOI ZAI SEE (bloody useless girls) as my Bodai (maternal grandma) would call us. She said, if we were in China, I would be sold off as a slave. I was the third girl. So would all subsequent girls.

When Father paid for my University education first to Canada and then to New Zealand, Bodai said my fate was very good. Instead of being a slave, I got to fly half way round the world.  Bodai said there was something wrong with Dad's head. He studied too much in England. He educated all his MOI ZAI ZEE. She also said my Dad had a Father-in-law look.


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