Wednesday, 10 April 2013

11th April 2013

Hello Good People,

I must apologise, I am late with this week's blog. I think I must be getting old, as I've missed two appointments this week. But will try to be regular as of next Monday. Must need oatbran.

Now what's new? You might ask. Well, this coming Wednesday, I shall be trotting along to have a conversation with Lindsey Dawson, editor superiore of many magazines, including NEXT. She, it was, who gave me a 4-page write up complete with gorgeous photos in high gloss in that magazine  when I was a woman in business. I'd never felt so pampered in my life! What with a make-up artist, brought in designer clothes and shoes, etc. And of course, never since.

Anyhow dear Lindsey will be chatting to me about my first book Memories in the Bone on her show on FACE TV on Channel 89 at 7pm. There is a repeat, I believe. We will cover some aspects of the book as well as what it means to be a Chinese in New Zealand. I have some funnies to tell on that one in contrast to the serious issues covered by Memories in the Bone.

Anyway, now I shall go on and let you have the next part of A MAID I KNEW. This short story of 5000 words is based on a maid I had when I was a kid living in Malaysia. So do enjoy it.


         Grandma and Lao Yeh had, twenty years previously, emigrated from China with their only surviving child, ten year-old Linlai and had settled in Batu Fringhi, in the hinterland from the coast in Penang. Now, as she gulped down each mouthful of food, rendered tasteless by her son-in-law, Lau Kiew’s incomprehensible hatred, she would remember the three sons she had lost in the civil war between the Nationalist Government of Chiang Kai Shek and the Communists led by Mao Tze Tung.  How her precious boys had whooped and jumped up and down when fighting broke out! Against hers and Lao Yeh’s wishes, they had gone off to Guangzhou, the capital of their southern province, to enlist in the Communist militia and all had died very soon after. Peasant boys, trained only to use the hoe, were easily killed when faced with guns and swords.
In their bereavement, they had sold their tiny farm and had borrowed enough money from a distant cousin who had emigrated fifteen years earlier, for their passage to British Malaya, a safe haven, and to buy a small plot of land on which they had started a vegetable garden. Oh, how hard they had worked, conserving the pails of faeces from their outhouse to water down as fertiliser for their vegetables each morning.  The only aroma they knew, that they lived with from morning to night to the next morning, was the smell of ordure. They ate with it, slept with it – knowing nothing else – not back in China; and now not in their new land.
Although they sold all that they grew, living only on the cut-offs of the vegetable stems and discarded, insect-ravaged outer leaves, they were never able to save sufficient money to repay the cousin and his name remained on the title deed. Now as she fought back the tears through Lau Kiew’s rants, she would re-live their early times over and over.  That was the only way she had of remembering her gentle husband and to retain her sanity in the most hateful marital environment she had ever encountered in her limited life.
More next week. Hope this story stirred you in your heart.



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