Growing up, my dad’s cousin, his wife and their daughter were the only family we had in Canberra. We only caught up with them once or twice a year, typically at a restaurant for Chinese New Year. I cherished those occasions﹣and not only because they were bookended by two of my favourite pancakes, commencing with Peking duck pancakes and concluding with red bean paste pancakes. … Continue reading Miscellaneous shades of grief
With international travel once again opening up, I thought I’d share with you some wisdom from my dear Papa who, prior to the pandemic, was living the grey nomad dream. 1. How many countries have you been to? I have visited 97 independent countries in total and that’s not counting places like Gibraltar or Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands. My ambition is to make … Continue reading Dad’s travel tips: visiting (almost) 100 countries
The grandmother: revered There is something about grandmothers that verges on the folkloric. I recently read this article titled “The Sacred Wisdom of our Abuelas“ and it’s not the first time I’ve heard how a person’s grandma inspires them. My husband and my most recent housemate both speak with deep love and admiration for their grandmothers, particularly the paternal ones. It occurred to me that … Continue reading Memories of my grandmother
You cried the day I left. Well, I like to think grey skies and rain spattered across the windshield means I meant something to you. Part of me wants to say you were a detour. But that would be unfair on you and, frankly, inaccurate. My life the novel, and you’re a chapter – no less vital to the story than the ones that preceded you, or the ones that will be … Continue reading Seeya, Sydney
October 3 She is lovely. Creamy vintage lace, delicate buttons all down her back, descending into a sweeping fishtail. I fumble through the chapel, out of time with the music, but whatever. She floats down the aisle after me. Dad is smart in his officer’s white dress suit although he only reluctantly links arms with her. The day is lovely. Agreeable sun, genuine smiles. People we haven’t seen in years. A photo here, … Continue reading Reconfiguring Home: Weddings and Earthquakes
External link to Strong Sentencing for Bolivian Uncle Indicates Crackdown on Family Abuse
It was perfect in a bittersweet way
The overcast day
The fresh flowers
The shades of black and grey
The Padre Nuestro
The father’s chanting
They ushered him through a maze
of flagstones well-polished by the varnish of water
and the heavy footsteps of generations of mourners.
For fifty pesos a stranger sang
as we showered him with rose petals and rain.
Amidst her wailing and her brothers’ silent despair
and the cement mixed and laid thick to immortalise him,
the sky stops crying and its blue eyes blink
and I, for a moment, stare into eternity,
into sorrow, into loss, into hope.
Avenues upon avenues of memories
in this city of the departed;
yards and yards of carnations
doing their best to defy time –
but who can resist?
Grief made her embrace linger, made us angels
without wings, and stranded on earth,
but angels nonetheless.
Another Padre Nuestro
Another moment without him
The first of too many. Continue reading Victor
Strong Sentencing for Bolivian Uncle Indicates Crackdown on Family Abuse (my piece from the IJM Newsroom) LA PAZ, BOLIVIA, May 31, 2015 After two years of relentless effort by the IJM team, a Bolivian man has been sentenced to 22.5 years for abusing his 7-year-old niece. Throughout the legal process, the family faced multiple roadblocks, including threats to their safety and an uphill battle in the Bolivian justice system. However, … Continue reading Strong Sentencing for Bolivian Uncle Indicates Crackdown on Family Abuse
Let me introduce you to Bluey Snowflake. She’s one of the best birthday presents I’ve ever received, a gift from my aunt when I turned 7. And because my family is all egalitarian and stuff, my sister got her birthday present at the same time even though her birthday is more than a month after mine – her name is Pinky Snowflake. We built a … Continue reading The “prophetic” song I wrote as a 7-year-old
In certain cultures, names are pretty important. In ancient Hebrew culture, names carried a lot of weight – they defined your life and identity. Many Bible names have been absorbed into English without their original significance counting for much – we just tend to pick names that sound nice. But for Hannah, who had been barren, the fact that she pleaded with God for a … Continue reading What’s in a name?