November 25, 2009

My Parents Call Me Ah Fan / Yeung Yim-fan

My parents call me Ah Fan. I liked eating ice-cream and playing in the park as I could enjoy such luxuries that friends of mine could not. The person who could make my dream come true at the time was my father. Therefore, I really cherish the time when my father came back home from a far place. Whenever he came back, he always took my elder brother and I to the park and bought us a cone of ice cream. He was working in a place called Hong Kong when I was small. But such dreams and happiness ended when one day my mum said to me, "We have to move to Hong Kong so that we can reunite with father."

I still could not forget the scent of the air on the day when I came to Hong Kong. It was fresh and new for me. Yet, I did not like the feeling breathing something familiar but strange to me. It was a kind of feeling mixed with fear and unknown. It was just like what I experienced in Hong Kong. It was the first day school in the new place. In the morning assembly, teachers asked us to pray. Almost all of my classmates were looking at me and wondering whether I knew their daily habits before they had their mediation. Their daily habits were new and strange to me as their mediation told me that my father was in a heaven, but the most uncomfortable thing was that my classmates' behaviour had acknowledged that I was different from them. On that day, I realized I had gone to an alien planet. But I still believed that this alien planet was not so far away from my homeland. I started studying Chinese words which were more complicated than I usually wrote. Although they were very familiar to me, again, I did not like writing something familiar, but in a style that was different from my usual writing. I did not understand why my teacher here marked my Chinese words as wrong but I was sure I wrote it correctly in my homeland. Maybe I was wrong--I had really gone to an alien planet which was far away from homeland. I had to learn a new language which I am writing now called English. I was helpless and disorientated at that time, neither my parents knew the alien language so they could not help me with my assignment. There was a vocabulary called "chocolate" in the textbook which I did not know what it meant, so my parents asked a teacher Miss Chan who was our neighbour to teach me. I asked her what "chocolate" was, and she explained to me and taught me some other words, too. Yet, very soon, I pointed at the word "chocolate" and asked her again what it meant. She explained to me a second time, and then I realized that I had already asked her before. Starting from that day, "chocolate" has become an unforgettable vocabulary in my memory till now, as it was fearful for me that piles of worksheets and stacks of textbooks printed full with "chocolate" were waiting for me to understand. I felt a sense of homelessness at an alien planet. I was only 10 years old at that time.

My parents, elder brother and I were living in a compact room, where its size was similar with the size of the restroom of my home. As why my mum said, we reunited with father. We were supposed to be very satisfied after all. Father no longer needed to be a border-crosser between Hong Kong homeland. Yet, due to work, parents seldom took my brother and I to the park and bought us a cone of ice-cream. The childhood dreams have been buried in the memories. After a long time of separation, I went back homeland with family to visit our relatives. They all admired us for living in the planet of opportunities and having the possibilities of making much more money than the counterparts at homeland do. We felt a sense of superiority at home, yet at the same time we were inferior to the counterparts in the "alien planet".

After several years later, Ah Fan has become a university student. She recalled the remembrance of childhood from a movie called Durian Durian, having similar experiences with the protagonist Ah Fan in the film. Both Ah Fan's were once looking forward to living in the land of opportunities with a beautiful aspiration, and also discovering disappointment and marginalization on the same alien planet.  Yet Ah Fan in the big screen expressed her strong emotional attachment to homeland, whereas Ah Fan in the reality has already rooted in the alien planet.

Yeung Yim-fan a student from CLIT2065 Hong Kong Culture 2008-2009 second semester.

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