When did you last go back to your hometown? How much has it changed?
As a 4 year old, back in 1937, my mum was leaving China with her mother from the south of China, a poor area in the Fujian province. The little girl was tagging along with her mum to a tropical new world in South East Asia.
My mum couldn’t remember if she ever said goodbye to her dad. When she turned around for the last time, however, she waved goodbye to her second older brother. This small brother was standing behind the door, in tears, looking pitiful.
That was the last time mum ever saw her little brother, who died a few years after that.
Mum never saw her father again.
It took a few weeks for the rocky boat from south China to dock in Singapore. Soon the war broke out, the Japanese were throwing babies in the air. China turned into a sea of red.
40 years later, in 1979, mum was on her voyage back to China. She was to meet the young lad she last waved goodbye to, her only elder brother, and his family.
Mum got on a ship from Singapore on her own. That was the first time she travelled abroad — and home, to China.
She took with her a bicycle, clothes, medicines, some money, and in particular, a pot of lard.
Mum met her elder brother in a small hotel near the harbour. They were clutching a photograph of each other. “Is it you, my little sister?” Elder brother could not stop howling.
“Did you cry, mum？” I asked.
“Of course I did. I sobbed. My poor brother, he howled like an animal.”
My Related Posts:
- Letters from China: Part 10
- Letters from China: Part 9
- Letters from China: Part 8
- Letters from China: Part 7
- Letters from China: Part 6
- Letters from China: Part 5
- Letters from China: Part 4
- Letters from China: Part 3
- Letters from China: Part 2
- Letters from China: Part 1
- An age with relative freedom
- Visiting a Columbarium in Singapore
- A poignant visit to a Singapore columbarium
- Why are we all called Jade?
- Weekly Photo Challenge – Urban life in Singapore
- Postcard from Singapore: East vs West
- Postcard from Singapore: Satay
- Weekly Writing Challenge: My Mum’s Net