I am writing this editorial on International Women’s Day so appropriately I choose to begin with a story I wrote about female re-memberment a few years ago.
This magical tale had sprung out of an unconscious need to be whole again. After living in Australia for several decades, I woke up one day and asked myself – who am I?
I wrote The Search for Xiao Li’s Head: A Magical Tale of Female Re-memberment to remind myself that as a Chinese woman, born in British Malaya and having lived in Australia for the past several decades, my journey is much like Xiao Li’s. In this short story, Xiao Li the young protagonist, had lost her mother, was tortured by a stepmother who chopped her up into little pieces and flung them to the mercies of the elements. Xiao Li’s search for her body parts in order to be whole again, depicts the search for identity, the search for self. In the history of the world, whether Chinese or non Chinese, this tale is told many times over again and again; in fables, poems, ballads and in so
ngs. It is archetypal.