Saturday, September 27, 2014

I've got a girlfriend! / 我有女朋友!

楷維繪 / drawn by Kai


Kai finally went to school! He was homesick during the first week. Though Von's classroom is right above his and Von visits Kai as often as he can, Kai still cried for several days. He also envied Von for having two half days off a week. 

楷維繪 / drawn by Kai 


   Though he gradually got used to school life, to our surprise, he missed those home-schooling days with my mom. We asked about his school days. Basically, it's reading, eating, listening to stories and taking walks, which sounds quite relaxing to me. 

楷維繪 / drawn by Kai 


   One morning on my way out, I gave them an after-school challenge to enhance their desire to go to school. The task that day is: How happy am I when school is over? 


   At the end of the day they couldn't wait to share their answers with me. Von said, "I'm as happy as a flying fighter jet." Kai's answer is: It's like traveling to outer space. 

楷維繪 / drawn by Kai


   Last weekend Von revealed that a girl has a crush on Kai. I asked, "How did you know? Did she tell you that?" He thought for a while, finally replying, "Yes, just like what you said." 


   A few days later, Kai said, "But I like another girl." "Does she like you too?" "Yeah!" 

汪達繪 / drawn by Wanda

        又過了幾天,我下班回家,兄弟倆便衝出來宣布:楷維有女朋友了!而且他們還牽手!楷維一向是自在灑脫的人,他展現無比的開心,阿嬤問他女朋友漂不漂亮,他很愉悅地說:um hum!而且他又脫口說出至少五個女孩的名字,我說:什麼,他們也都喜歡你喔?他一點都不遲疑地點頭。

   A few days later again, the two boys rushed out to announce to me when I came in, "Kai has a girlfriend! They even held hands!" Kai is always very open with his feelings. He doesn't feel shy or embarrassed at all. His granny asked him if his girlfriend is beautiful. He answered in a Casanova style, "Um hum!" He also blurted out five girls' names, and I couldn't stop being surprised, "They all fall for you?" He just nodded without hesitation. 

汪達繪 / drawn by Wanda


   Then I was told by their mom that even Von, who hardly talks to girls, envies Kai so much for having a girl he likes and holds hands with. It's always Von that gives orders to and leads Kai, and now it's the other way round. What is Kai's charm? 


   He must have forgot all the complaints about school's being boring. I tease Kai, "Oh, I want a boyfriend with whom I can hold hands too!" In fact, I envy more his honesty. Will he still be so in another ten or twenty years? 

Accumulation / 多了什麼?


I hadn't seen my younger brother Jei for six years. He and his wife Claire flew away cooly after a short visit home for two weeks. Last time the night before he left, I had insomnia. Well, I always get quite sentimental at moments of saying goodbye. This time we headed for Zhu-wei Fisherman's Wharf right after seeing them off at the airport. I sketched the harbor at sunset until I couldn't see anything in front of me. I slept soundly the same night, which means I have learned to bid farewell as I age. 


   We are learning the word "accumulation" this week. I ask the girls the question, "What accumulates as we get older?" They offer various answers like children, wrinkles, gray hair, experience and wisdom. My answer is, "The things and people we leave behind." 


   However, my heart doesn't agree with me. I have been dreaming of people I no longer see, even those whom I've seen only once in my entire life. 


   Sometimes I really dislike myself for being repressed. I stuff everything into a corner of my heart,  meanwhile believing that I have left them go.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

My Little Sleeping Beauty / 我的小睡美人


Granny is hospitalized again. When many of us visit her together, we can't wake her up. There seems to be a fascinating dream world out there. Well, to put it realistically, it's because Granny's health condition is worsening day after day. Mom shouts into her one ear that can still hear and gives her a quiz on who's who. Though she looks so sleepy, she still manages to get our names right. Meanwhile, Granny's maid Meili lists the abilities that Granny has lost over the past few days. The atmosphere in the ward is so gloomy that tears roll down my cousins' face like a downpour of rain. 


   No, shouldn't we rejoice? As my tears are about to be kidnapped by a burst of sad feeling, a voice protests. Granny is already ninety years old. It is sad but normal that her organs are not functioning. However, compared with other families, we are blessed because Granny never knows that she has cancer. God bestows one of the best gifts on her--ignorance. So every time when she is hospitalized, Granny thinks about nothing except wanting to go home as soon as possible so that she can play mahjong with her children. We are spared the torture of having to cope with the emotional ups and downs of the patient. 


   Granny has aged at a gradual pace in the past year, so we have the chance to be more or less prepared. In the ward, my cousin fondles Granny's gray hair, trying to put her to sleep. She is surrounded by us as we watch her fall asleep quietly. Then I suddenly have a different idea about death than before. Death can be light and calm. It's actually putting people we love to sleep while they embark on a wonderful trip in a brand-new world. 


   Granny opens her eyes when my cousin feels her pulse. She thanks him gently: Thank you doctor. Thank you for not dismissing me because of my old age. That is Granny's charm. Perhaps she really believes the doctor is visiting her, or perhaps she is just joking. Her sense of humor dispels the heaviness of illness and death, making the ward a warm place. She laughs too, and when she does that, I see glows in her beautiful eyes. My cousin can't help replying: You don't despise me because I am young either! My dad goes on to tease Granny: Would you like to play mahjong? Unlike the past, she answers: No, health is more important than anything now. 


   Granny wanders between the reality and the dream world on and off. She whisks her hand telling us to go home for some sleep though it's actually the middle of the day. We still remain immobile, looking at her wake up, fall asleep, wake up again, and fall asleep again. It occurs to me that she is my Little Sleeping Beauty. Whether she is awake or asleep, both are fine. 


   Every day Granny is still with us, it's our luck. If she really has to go, I will feel more than sadness. I will feel more happiness than sadness for she has taught me death can be quite joyful and beautiful. 

Monday, September 08, 2014



In the family gathering yesterday, my uncle said I do not tend to spend so much time as before on my blog. Well, to put it beautifully, I'd say that I've learned to be quiet. But in fact, it's because I want to devote as much time as I can to making picture books. 


   This year my birthday on the solar and lunar calendars fall on the same day. I've got a fantastic gift of not having to go to work on my birthday, which is the mid-autumn festival. Besides, I've received a lot of wonderful best wishes and gifts. I'd be really greedy to ask for more. I want nothing more than spending the whole day writing and drawing. The evening will be reserved for a romantic walk under the moonlight. 


   As long as I can draw, I can make sense of anything. That is the best gift I can ever get in the world. 

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Someone who sees / 看見


Now come to think of it, what a luxury it is to sit in a place for as long as I like for a sketch. Well, even if I can't afford that in my everyday life now, ten minutes of the MRT ride suffices. I no longer mind collecting unfinished drawings in my sketchbook. 


Usually other passengers are too sleepy or too busy to pay attention to my drawing activity. Today as soon as I close my book, I am greeted by a knowing smile by one MRT staff member when I am about to stand up. Isn't it a warm morning, I think to myself.