Cousin-Brothers, Ah Meng and Ah Chew: A Little Tale About the Chinese Diaspora

London - Chinese dancing girlsI am writing this in England, squatting at my cousin’s cozy apartment and I can’t help but think how lucky I am to have found him late in my life.  Virtually fatherless when born in Sungai Patani, Ah Meng (or Alan) is the son of my father’s youngest sister. We call her ku chai, meaning “aunty little” (she was shorter than I and that is short if you happen to be in Australia living amongst giants!). Continue reading “Cousin-Brothers, Ah Meng and Ah Chew: A Little Tale About the Chinese Diaspora”

Tapas, Yum Cha, Siestas and Senoritas…

chinese tapasHola amigos, amicas or ni hao xiao peng yu. Spanish is as far away as I can get from being Chinese, culturally speaking that is. Yet ironical as it may seem, we got off the plane in Barcelona, into a bus and before we knew it, we were in the city centre in the midst of shops sprouting Chinese names such as Du Hua, Tian Tian, Xing Xing and it was a total surprise. Where have all the Chinese gone? I was tempted to sing a la the old Marlene Dietrich. Barcelona, of course, where else? So many Chinese but no yum cha. So off we went for the tapas instead. Continue reading “Tapas, Yum Cha, Siestas and Senoritas…”

What Animal are you in Bed?

Chinese zodiac for sheepSometimes when there is a lull in a conversation and I am bored sitting for hours at a Chinese banquet of endless courses, I like to ask the person sitting next to me: “What animal are you?”. I get a repertoire of stock responses : Huh?? *#* What do you mean? Animals as in Noah’s ark? Animals in the zoo? Two legged kind? I have come to expect these responses even before the person opens his mouth so recently I got a laugh when I asked a man the same question at a Chinese New Year dinner. He replied: “Where? In bed?”. Continue reading “What Animal are you in Bed?”