Was It Just Me?

You’ve read this blog.  And no I’m not high when I write my posts (yes, been asked this – you know who you are).  I’m just unconventional perhaps.  I must be because all that’s ‘conventional’ is plain dead uncomfortable around me (yes, been shown this – you know who you are). 

As a child I assumed my experiences growing up were ‘normal’.  But judging by the outside world’s reaction to the adult finished product, I’m starting to suspect not.  

Help me out people.  Was it just me?  I need to know:        

Was it just me … who was forced to wear a traditional bright gold embroidered imperial style padded Chinese jacket for her grade 4 primary school photo, looking like some kind of under-aged warlord midget pimp amongst a bunch of Aussie kids in shorts and t-shirts?  

Was it just me … who had a scheduled ear cleaning session with my father every month where he shone the blinding light from a lamp into my ear like the ear was being interrogated?  And then with an actual ear cleaning stick (they exist – purchased from the Asian grocers, thin with a mini scoop at the end), attempt to dislodge and remove stubborn bits of ear wax which usually turned out to be actual parts of my inner ear?

Was it just me … who was told by her mother that I shot out of her one day while she was on the toilet and looked down to see something random floating in the bowl with a pair of eyes?  Clearly the stalk in the sky explanation couldn’t convey my value as an addition to the family as much as this particular version of events.  

Was it just me … who was forced to fast for 24 hours before we went to an all you can eat buffet restaurant in order to ‘build up the hunger’ and therefore get our money’s worth?

Was it just me … who was then restricted from picking non-protein items and potatoes from the all you can eat buffet because they wasted stomach space reserved for the ‘expensiveful’ offerings – ‘Why eat 3 bowl chips, eat 18kg prawn, we pay saaame pliiicce’.         

Was it just me … who asked my mother for a perm to revamp my generic poker straight oriental hair?  Only to be taken to the ‘local hairdresser’ of my aunty’s garage to be given a perm on purely just my fringe? (my ‘bangs’ for the North American crew). I wanted to go from chinky to kinky.  I stayed chinky except now I had a new mini afro sprouting from my forehead.  Where’s that can of Soul Glo when you really need it?   

Was it just me who … was told by her father that 3 fried eggs piled on top of one another was called ‘quiche’, toast spread with ketchup was called ‘pizza’, and boiled lettuce with soya sauce was called ‘salad’.   Assimilation is his middle name.   Asian ‘fusion’ cuisine is his game.

But chill – perhaps it’s possible that despite it all (and oh there’s so much more … so so much more), it can be argued that I have ended up stable, demure and respectable.  Always composed.  Always refined.  Never out of control.  Never caught off guard.  ‘Only god can judge me’ – Tupac Shakur.


Disturbing Memory #2

If you missed Disturbing Memory #1, be checking it:


It’s a jungle out there man – heaps of sneaky traps making you look like a fucking idiot, giving the world many opportunities to mock you, ridicule you, point at you.  What more, there are cunning clowns who exist playing innocent to your face always waiting in the wings to sell your arse out, making you the joke.  I know a group of people like this – they’re called My Fucking Family.  No, My Fucking Family isn’t the name of some nut-case quirky comedy act or performing circus group (well at least not intentionally), they are literally My Fucking Family.  People I am related to (well at least not intentionally).     

It was a stinking hot summer and I was 5 (picture me now but with smaller hands & feet but same height).  We had these public pools near our house and EVERYONE from the area went there – families that lived on our street, kids who went to my school, teenagers from the local high school, drug dealers who dropped out of the local high school, business owners in the suburb, crims who robbed the business owners in the suburb etc.  Mum was still at work and so it was up to dad to take me.  But he faced a Bic Pob-Blum (Big Problem) – he didn’t know where mum kept my swim suit.  So he patiently went through the drawers in my room to look for them knowing wisely he would eventually come across what I needed.  BullShit– this never happened, instead he just grabbed a tea towel from the kitchen (presumably he also didn’t know where mum kept the bath towels) & we jumped into the car & headed to the pools – yes, the PUBLIC pools where I was forced to walk around in front of the entire population of our hood in my Cabbage Patch Kid undies and nothing on top – carrying a frayed & stained kitchen tea towel looking like some kind of child slave forced to work back-burning bamboo crops in peasant China.  I learnt the meaning of humiliation that day people.  And the crowd was not kind.   

But let’s break it down more: this was the 80’s in Australia, fewer Asian migrant families in the area than now.  So I already copped a big daily serving of ‘you ching-chong’ (fingers used to pull up eyes at the corners) shit at school & on the streets (Yo, if you’re reading this now & you were one of those redneck fucks, be watching your back son – my memory is deep & Facebook is one fucker of a big database).  Add to this my lego people style bowl/helmet haircut and the fact that my dad thought the best way for me to learn to swim was to just throw me into the deep end of the pool while yelling and clapping alongside the edge (you get put in jail for shit like that these days) and you get one fucking big Disturbing Situation turned Disturbing Memory.   

They say the best way to overcome your demons is to face them.  And that’s what I’ve done.  As I’ve grown into my adult years I’ve risen above and embraced this disturbing experience: I now walk around topless in my underwear every opportunity I get (visitors who ever came to the Elwood apartment know it’s true).  Can’t wait for ‘Casual Friday’ to be brought back to work.  And My Fucking Family have nobody to blame but themselves.  

Disturbing Memory #1

I say #1 because there’s more to come.  These disturbing memories may also serve to explain why I seem so … disturbed.  I was a little girl and it was school holidays so rather than have to chain me to a pole outside on the street while my parents worked (watch the news – shit like this happens in real life), my dad took me to the video store to get some tapes so I would be distracted enough for a few hours to not set furniture on fire, roam the streets looking for gangs to join etc.  I really wanted to get ‘Edward Scissorhands’ so I skipped into the shop with excitement, bounced straight over to the New Release section, saw it, ran up to dad who took it to the counter to borrow and pay.  This whole time I’m jumping up and down going ‘I can’t wait to see this mooooviiiie’! 

But as the Chinese would say, there was Sum Ting Wong.  Translation: Something was wrong.  Because upon closer inspection the movie that my father was holding and about to borrow for his child was not in fact ‘Edward Scissorhands’. It was instead a slightly similar yet notably different movie called: ‘Edward Penishands’.  After the video shop guy told my dad that this may not be the right movie (and was probably about to call the cops) I held the cover close to my little face.  I saw a lady who was NOT Winona Ryder.  I saw hands that were NOT made up of scissors. I really didn’t understand it at the time – why the lady had no pants on, why she looked like the women that stand by the road waving at cars late at night, why she was squatting over Edward’s hand like she was about to sit on a chair, why Edward didn’t really look like the Johnny Depp version of Edward but more like a drunk clown from the circus….My dad told me to quickly put the video back onto the self and I had to borrow ‘The Neverending Story’ instead – which probably had a different plot to the original choice of bootleg Edward with dick covered hands.

Short and Sweet (and sour)

When I was 10 I was tall-ish compared to other kids in my class.  But the joy was short-lived.  What I didn’t know was that I’d actually reached my full height and pretty much peaked right then. I was destined to remain the size of a pygmy nomad and wear what should be shorts in my adult life as full-length pants.  I’m exaggerating, I’m a bit over 5 foot and small build – true it’s partly a genetic thing with being Chinese, after all I tower over many of my older relatives (even more now as they’re  shrinking with age).  I should be pleased over the economic advantages of being able to make a second pair of pants, a cape and some curtains with the leftover material after I have the excess cut off a new pair of pants.  But I live in Australia and not Asia so most of the time I’m speaking to people’s armpits and crotches (those guys over 6 foot ), or I’m pushed and squashed against these body parts on the peak hour train.  Nobody wants to lean against a crotch they hardly know…unless they’ve had a drink first…I’m joking…no I’m not.

Anyway this whole short thing came up because some girls from work were talking about weight and calories (yes – a rare topic amongst women I know) and I made the point that if it’s not weight they’re stressing over, it’ll be something else – crooked teeth, big nostrils, hairy back etc.  I have none of these things (I got the back waxed) but I am known to bitch about being a short-ass and have a tendency to wear high heels most days – not for the fashion but for the height.  Everybody’s got that one thing (at least) that gives them the shits.  For all those that have ‘fat days’ etc just keep in mind that at least people don’t feel so readily free to remark on your ‘sore spot’ like they do with the shorties.  Many people who I know or have even just met don’t think twice about dropping a line like, ‘Hey, you’re really short compared to me’ or ‘I feel really tall next to you’ and then they do this laugh to themselves that becomes awkward once they see I aint laughing with them.  Imagine if I said back to them, ‘Hey, you’re a real fat and ugly fuck compared to me’ or ‘I feel really not like a hippo that’s 56 months preggers next to you’.  I would never say that or even think that about another person as I like to find personality defects to insult instead, but while it’s not a big deal – the same comments are still a negative remark about someone’s looks, it’s just not considered insulting enough to avoid saying I suppose.  Anyway gotta go now to find some yellow pages to sit on while driving…

Wallpaper Worry

I’m staying over at my mum and dad’s tonight and I’m looking at the wallpaper I had in my old bedroom…

Animal print mural-like wallpaper on all 4 walls where rabbits are living in big mushroom houses, fluffy bunnies are riding tricycles, a frog is swinging from a tree trunk, a pig (wearing a blue formal suit jacket but no pants) is playing the tambourine, what looks like a beaver is playing the flute (or the recorder), and what looks like a skunk without a tale is fishing in a pond– I swear this wallpaper exists, I’ll try to get a photo of it up on this site.  This wallpaper in my bedroom was great when I was 12, freaky when I was drunk and 18, but by the time I hit my 20s this wallpaper started to speak to me, it was saying: You are an adult with a full licence to drive, look at your 4 walls, to continue with this wallpaper as a full blown adult is bordering on perverted…. so the wallpaper was driving force number one that led me to move out…damn it’s creepy the more I look at it now.