By | 1 February 2019

because of the Cultural Revolution because of the Sino-Japanese war because of the marriage of convenience because of the CCP because of the KMT because of the industrial boom because of the Asian financial crisis because he took pills to sleep because he took pills to work because he gave them the education he never had because his mother peddled mee fen and congee on a shoulder yoke because she threw him coins over the school fence because he hid indoors the next recess because he tapped on his sister’s classroom window to borrow money for food because loan sharks were after them because he almost drowned on his way to school because his mother was a gambler because she lifted some woman’s gold bracelet on a bus because he lied to the cops because his mother was no thief because his mother threw a butcher’s knife at him because he dropped the belachan packet on his way home because she missed and hit the neighbour’s leg because eight of them huddled around that tiny marble table because the food was gone before he sat down because his uncle the educated one the one he must follow took him to school because the uncle stopped coming because his father rode around the island selling black silk no one wanted because his father bought him every book he wanted no questions asked because he used different typewriter ribbons to lodge anonymous complaints against the competition because street vendors showed up when he was fourteen seeking revenge because they said his parents were killed because he went to every hospital and morgue asking if they were dead because the gangsters on his block surrounded him every night because he listened to radio tales of swordsmen and kingdoms because he believed in heroes and villains the righteous and the wicked because he beat up their leader because they kicked his family altar because he started a petition because he was blacklisted and passed over because he left the company because he was moving up because he started playing golf and appreciating wine because he was scouted by the Party because he was no turncoat because his parents fought and his mother’s brain succumbed because she frothed at the mouth and convulsed in Chinatown because he sped there only to see the ambulance leaving because he chased them in his car because he pounded against the door because he saw her on a stretcher because his brother’s kidneys gave up because his brother never said anything because nine days ago his mother died because he sensed she was dying because he chose her obituary picture the night before she died because he walked behind her hearse because it was the first time he cried because he cried for her hard life because he hated many of her habits because he condemned and exalted her before and after death because he placed a piece of her skull in the urn because he carried the joss stick and urn to her resting place because he paid his respects again on mother’s day because today is her birthday because he shouts and doesn’t listen except to Sam Hui songs because he played them to his children because he listened to them as a child because he listens to them now and thinks he wouldn’t want a second life once is hard enough because he asks only for affirmation because some nights he sits silent with bloodshot eyes because I see him flailing violently on dry land thrashing against that god damned essential question because


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