There was no concept of toys in my childhood.
For fun,
I trapped cicadas and fireflies,
caught dragonflies and tadpoles,
grew silkworms and hatched eggs,
made kites and kaleidoscopes,
slid down banana trees and swam in streams.

I had a 14-key toy piano in middle childhood.
I played Auld Lang Syne and
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

The Barbie I had was in adolescence.
My father took a bicycle ride
with me on the back seat.
He saved 12 packs of smoke to
spend on a Barbie for me.
I was thirteen.

I made Barbie a studio apartment
with shoe box, handkerchief,
match boxes and play dough.
Two AAA batteries, an electric wire
and a light bulb in an old pill box
made Barbie her reading lamp.
I took pleasure in hand sewing
all Barbie’s dresses.
The favoirite gown was made from
cellophane lolly wrappers.

Wherever I go, I take these
wonderful memories and
treasures with me.

Childhood memory

my memory of school holidays
are of the farm life

the rooster crowed at daybreak on roof top
careless with the chimney smoke

the forest green tea plantations
dazzled in the spring rain

early summer crickets sang
amidst the bamboo bushes

village children’s twinkling eyes
fixed on pebble stones roast chestnuts

burning charcoals snuggled in the terracotta bowl
covered by a hand knitted bamboo basket

the card games and craft
under the kerosene lamps

firewood smoke and wet soil smells
connected me to my childhood
through the time tunnel
decorated with fireflies

Vision of you

I saw you
I saw the boy in you
full of love for the world and
the people in it

I saw you
I saw the boy in you fell off
over and over again with
no one dusting you off

I saw you
I saw the boy in you sobbing for
the unheard words
and unfelt love

I saw you
I saw the boy in you trapped in
a shattered glass heart
bleeding into glimpse of hope

I saw you
I saw the boy in you
puffy cheeks and a million dollar grin
fading away in a politically correct world

I saw you
I saw the boy in you
a pure and innocent soul could not be unseen
Truly I saw YOU

Love my childish parents


I grew up with childish parents. Trying to parent childish parents is damaging to the child. It teaches the child his or her needs not being met is okay because his or her parents’ needs take priority and that is justifiable and should be accepted as a growing responsibility.

I witnessed violence between my childish parents and my power imbalanced grandparents when I was really young, perhaps 4 or 5 years old. Hence any memory prior to that age was non existing for me till to date. I stopped searching for those memories because I realised they are probably coexisting with the traumatic memories. So I am at peace of letting those memories of 4 or 5 years of my life go.

My parents were my guardians. They provided me with shelter, food, clothing. They sent me to school for education so I would have a better life. Because of that, I was opened to the wonderous world of literature where I took refuge and comfort. They are diligent parents with good wills.

I am the only child to my childish parents. Three person household should have been fairly straightforward and orderly. My childish parents are competitive individuals whom rather die to give in to each other. Every disagreement is serious, every argument is a war and every fight is life or death. One has to question where is the peace in this tiny three person household.

One night when I was about 13 years old, after attempting to tolerate the fighting noise for lengthy period of time, I broke out of my bedroom to the battlefield. I told my childish parents ‘Hey you two, need to make up your minds. You either get a divorce or living in peace. I am fed up with your never ending fighting. You are not children. ‘ I retreated back to my bedroom and put my Walkman back on.

Don’t get me wrong, my parents did not get married to an arranged marriage. They fought for their freedom to marry each other. They love each other but they love themselves more. They are self centred and childish.

I had been their mediator over the years and I counselled them on their relationship which I should have had never got involved. I had always put their emotional needs over my own. I was frightfully independent.

When I was about 17, my father was arrested in the police’s custody. My mother was contacted by the police and given the option of my father’s release on bail. My mother was in complete denial. Instead of focusing on getting the documentation ready for the bail, she went on and on about how the police was corrupted. The irony was, both of us knew my father was far from innocent. I stepped in and organised the bail and my father was released. I comforted my mother. I talked to my father and negotiated some rules to prevent future offence. In hind sight, I should have had let my mother grow up and let my father run his course. I am not their parent disregard how childish they are.

I was forced to grow up to be independent, responsible and peaceable. I am an excellent listener and conflict handler. These qualities all sounded positive traits. So it is very easy to consider I am a well adjusted child and a healthy grownup.

A child parents his or her childish parents has never learnt their precious place to be a child. We learnt that our unmet needs are secondary at best. We have poor boundaries and reap destruction in our own personal relationships.

I became a rescuer who attracted to victims and took accusation from the persecutors on the chin. In this power balanced and stubborn triangle, as long as I stand firm as the rescuer, the victim remains victim. In another word, I enable them not to grow up and take responsibility for their behaviours. I was merely repeating the pattern of raising my childish parents in my personal relationships.

I came to a point where I was completed worn out and cocooned myself shutting off any warm or fuzzy human contact in any kind. I had been numb and oblivious to emotional pain. I survived by dissociating myself to my life and surroundings. I have always been able to hear my own thoughts clearly, I hear the battle between spirits and the power struggle among them. I had watched my own life playing out like a long television series for over a decade. When I bled out emotionally, there was nothing left of me to be squeezed, not compassion, not sympathy, not care nor love. I was dead to myself before I was dead to others. Even in death I was secondary.

I knew the root cause of my sour fruits came from taking up the inappropriate responsibility for parenting my childish parents from a young age. Yet they were not the solution to my heartache, I am. My life will not bear sweet fruits if I continue failing to take responsibility for my default rescuer setting. When I was so dead that I was unable to disassociate. I was in my own flesh within a shell and faced the cusp of life and eternal death. I was lucid and saw my life as how it really was, the part I played and the effects on people around me in particular my love ones.

Transformation came after realisation. I have learnt self care, validation of my own needs and boundaries of trust and respect. I have come to know myself again. I know who I am. I am able to dream again and follow my dreams. I know who I will trust my life to.

My childish parents taught me an invaluable life lesson and I love them for it.

The bitter root

I love this city in dark silence

The vibrant and intellectual day fades into alluring artistic night scene

The hills lay off a man’s duty by day

The boy in me leaped out walking the streets

The songs came again from the car radio afar

My lips were chanting the familiar melodies my father once loved

I tilted my head up towards the moonlight

Holding the rolling tears in the well of my eyes

Big boys don’t cry!

Perhaps it’s the invitation of the blood moon night,

the open arms of the January assertive silence

I let out the forbidden wailing

Anguish to the lies, to the betrayal, to the abandonment

The boy in me were fueled by rawness of hurt

My howling to the moonlight returned needles on my skull

I grew in rage

Forcefully a man rose to stand tall

Declared vows and judgements

only God will break

The girl in the wardrobe

The sound of the wardrobe door closes is the best sound in the whole wide world. The wardrobe is like a hedger keeps the outside noise away. Mum’s endless sighing, sometimes sobbing…Dad’s jokes which only his drunk friends would laugh and his limited praising phases: that’s my girl… you are smarter than me and your mum tally up, or just shouting:” what the fuck is wrong with the internet now….fuck the copper WiFi shit…..”

Before we moved into this house, I had to screen out these noises by playing music in hip hop, house, trap genres with my earphones on. I felt my hearing was declining. My school friends told me I couldn’t hear them most of the time. I had headaches sometimes because so much noise.

This house is great, it is only a rental, but it is heaps better than the house we had before, solely for this full length wardrobe. It smells timber and feels grainy. When I close the door, it muffles a bit, but it is so quiet. I finally remove the earphones and stop playing the music. I read, write, draw and play on my tablet.

Winter vocation is coming. I am so excited because I can spend more time tuck away in the wardrobe. I have prepared a blanket and a cushion so I can even take my nap in this world of mine. Oh I also pulled out the reading lamp from the storage. It’s one of those rechargeable lamps with a clipping end. I envision myself reading under the warm light after diner in a cold winter evening.

The trashy TV sound, the storm created by human beings, the agony caused by unhappy marriage and unemployment, are all shut out by this squeaky timber wardrobe door. That is how my childhood will be preserved. I am determined that as long as I have my sanctuary in this wardrobe, I will grow up to be happy.