do what I couldn't, daddy says, words i wait
fifteen years to hear already, finally scribbled
in a corner of a birthday card they send
all the way to England, the year i graduate.
mummy says, take care son, must eat, will pray
for you. i long time never go church already
but she still says, i will pray for you. i can
see her smile rising from the ink.
in school, teachers always say, study hard and
do well in exam so next time can be rich and fat
or else must sweep floor. but at home i also must
help sweep floor even though i did well what.
but i know what they mean. do wrong thing
policeman will catch. say bad thing lightning
will strike. for my own good i must listen
to my elders and not answer back even
if i think i am right. rude boys get tongue
cut out in hell. sit quiet read book is best.
last time i used to draw pictures of people
fighting and exploding until the paper all black
with pencil lead. the guys with pretty machines
always win one, otherwise draw so nice then explode
very wasted. those going to die one anyhow draw
can already. dont even need to colour or give name.
when i was born ah kong nearly died because he
was practising qi gong, cannot be disturbed halfway.
he hear the news already so excited nearly kena
internal injury and vomit blood. lucky he
know how to control his breathing in time. he
gave me a name which i later then find out means
enlightenment. (good name for poet right?) but i
think, teochew lorry driver how come know
such a big word?? (maybe because he last time study
hard. at least dont have to sweep floor). ah kong
last time always very good at making useful things,
like desk and shelf and cupboard, so mebbe he also
know how to make useful names. mebbe he is just
wise or mebbe old. one time after he passed away
i dream he come to me and smile and say khee meng,
always remember your name; always remember
not who you are but what you need.
28 September 2002 22:54 hours