A Murder, a Paedophile, a Cougar and the Deported Chinese

My neighbourhood showed its seamy face under Communism in 1979.

My neighbourhood showed its seamy face under Communism in 1979.

Comments about this post on ABC Open 500 Words – What happens in Vegas…

Mrs Chowmein was murdered!

It was the curious vagabonds who slept in front of the widower’s abode that discovered the rivulet of blood from inside the house, dripping down to where they were sleeping.

The vagrants formed part of the late-70s communist era’s phenomenon. They had previously belonged to the bourgeoisie groups, but forfeited their money and jewellery, anyways found themselves banished from their own homes to the barren land of the New Economic Zones before later finding their way back to the city.

I learned of Mrs Chowmein’s fate after waking up early to queue for the monthly family meat ration. I was struck with disbelief, fear and overwhelming sadness, I couldn’t accept the fact that there was a murder in my neighbourhood even though I read and heard about it everyday. My mind was numb for the whole day and I couldn’t help chatting to the crowd gathered in front of Mrs Chowmein’s house. But wait there’s more!

My Unseen Neighbour

When Nhất Linh died, I was only a one-year-old girl, but I had just met him in my dream! Just the thought that he knew me gave me goosebumps.

When Nhất Linh died, I was only a one-year-old girl, but I had just met him in my dream! Just the thought that he knew me gave me goosebumps.

Comments about this post on ABC Open 500 Words – Experiences of the unexplained.

Recently, I came across a Vietnamese article about An Đông market where my family used to live, and it mentioned the fate of the owner of the famous Siu Siu restaurant there. For years, Saigon residents and celebrities as well as important politicians and military officers, enjoyed the fragrant and tasty Hainanese chicken rice of Siu Siu.

In 1978, during the eradication of bourgeoisie by the Communist, Siu Siu’s owner lost his three-house restaurant. He then was the sole survivor after a boat of hundred people – his family included – trying to escape Vietnam tragically sank. He lost his mind, and became a beggar who slept in front of his big restaurant night after night. But wait there’s more!

A Silver Bar Tears Up the Paper

Call it an ancient wisdom that yields serious consequences when applied in Australia.

Call it an ancient wisdom that yields serious consequences when applied in Australia.

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<<Facts, pictures and video clips related to this story – Corruption in health, education, commerce, transport, immigration,… in communist Vietnam>>

I can’t remember exactly when I first heard the Vietnamese proverb: “A silver bar tears up the paper” but it was repeated so often in dramas, comedies, newspapers and Vietnamese literature lessons, … The proverb means that money can break protocols, prohibit justice, bend the laws, …

The powerful lesson transmitted by the proverb was entrenched deeply in my mind as I witnessed what went on around me, especially under the tyranny of Communism.

My Chinese neighbours told me that bribery had helped their sons avoid conscription during the Vietnam War, as well as during the war between Vietnam and China in 1979. But wait there’s more!

A Silver Bar Tears Up the Paper poem

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(Letrilla-style poem)

<<Story related to the poem>>

Dirty money, happy money,
Corrupt officials live with glee!
Australia sure has justice,
To bring fairness to the people,
To make the criminals dwindle,
And the nation profitable.
Corruption can’t be norm basis!
Yet the Communists are comfy;
Dirty money, happy money,
Corrupt officials live with glee!

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Harder than Acting

They're the sand embedded in my shoes that wear me out, and yet all I can do is grit my teeth and smile.

They’re the sand embedded in my shoes that wear me out, and yet all I can do is grit my teeth and smile.

Comments about this post on ABC Open 500 words – Faking it.

It is easier to act in a play than fake liking ‘them’! To me acting is genuinely living as the character, thinking and reacting as if I was them. When my facial muscles want to contract, my hands shake and my heart beats faster and louder, I find it is actually harder to betray my body, my feelings and put on a happy face in front of ‘them’.

I often wonder, “Why did you have to marry into my circle, so for the group’s sake, I have to keep the relationships in harmony?” Then I remember the time my father was incarcerated in the torturous communist jail, the maltreatment the Communist gave my family and my deadly escape from Vietnam.

Passing through the threshold of the door, I felt relieved that I had held my façade, successfully giving a strong handshake and a warm smile to ‘him’. He migrated here under the sponsorship of his sister. But wait there’s more!

My noble, widowed grandmother

Amongst the people in Grandpa's funeral procession were two pregnant women - Grandma with her tenth child and my mum with her first child.

Amongst the people in Grandpa’s funeral procession were two pregnant women – Grandma with her tenth child and my mum with her first child.

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I certainly wasn’t my maternal grandmother’s favourite grandchild, however my grandmother received my deepest admiration and greatest affection for her.

My fondest memory of her was her smile. That smile made a child like me felt that I was bathed in love, appreciated and accepted for being myself. Her smile satisfied my longing for tenderness and approval that my parents rarely expressed towards their children. But wait there’s more!

The deserted neighbourhood

My neighbourhood was made up of blocks of four-storey houses around An Dong market, in the Chinese quarter called “Cho Lon”, Saigon. (In picture, 13-year-old hiMe with her Mum and siblings on Chinese New Year Day 1975 in front of her house, next to the radio shop).

My neighbourhood was made up of blocks of four-storey houses around An Dong market, in the Chinese quarter called “Cho Lon”, Saigon. (In picture, 13-year-old hiMe with her Mum and siblings on Chinese New Year Day 1975 in front of her house, next to the radio shop).

<<Facts, pictures and video clips related to this story – the exodus of ethnic Chinese during 1978 and 1979>>

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My neighbourhood was made up of blocks of four-storey houses around An Dong market, in the Chinese quarter called “Cho Lon”, Saigon. But wait there’s more!