the three same women.

my mother, my grandmother and my great grand mother

3 of them lived in radically different periods but all of them shared the same personality

my great grandmother was illiterate

my great grandfather was once of the very first doctors. dr wong, his name was. during the opium revolution, he invented opium medicine that was to help people overcome their addiction to the narcotic.

his family also owned a brewery which had a really good reputation.

unfortunately, he died very young, and my great grandmother became in charge of the brewery.

not bound by her illiteracy, she continued the business of the brewery

she showed her leadership

when all the wine was sold out, she would stand on top of the table and scream “all the wine has been sold out, please return tmr”

she was also a very tactful woman. since the business sold wine by day and made it by night, the workers often worked a full day without resting.

at night, my great grandmother would cook all of them their favorite midnight snacks. this act of kindness really touched all her employees and increased their loyalty for her

she also showed her resourceful and intelligent side

because she was illiterate, she had a ingenious way of doing the books. instead of writing, she drew them. she drew pictures of wines to her accountants

my grandma is literate but only finished secondary school

my grandfather started his own accounnting firm and trading firm

despite his university degree, he was not a very successful accountant

despite her secondary school background, my grandma was a good accountant and often did the books herself (without drawing of course)

when the japanese were approaching hk, my grandfather ran away with the British government to Chong Qing without a second thought

she was left with two daughters and a maid in hk.

many people in her position would have simply given up. but she didn’t

she chose to follow her husband on foot, with her daughters, to Chong Qing.

in Guangzho, her second daughter got infected by meningitis. without any medicine, she died after 24 hours

without any other option, she buried her daughter’s bones and continued her journey

after pretending to be a thief, after selling toothpaste as shampoo, after sewing cloth into underwear, she arrived in Chong Qing.

of course she didn’t blink before she attempted to “kill” my grandfather

when hong kong was decided to be returned to china, their whole family emigrated to leeds except my grandfather.

she overcame language difficulty and sent ALL of her daughters to university.

in her 70s, she came under a hemorragic stroke. she recovered but with impaired movement of the limbs

at age 90, she is still alive and a living testament of her personality. she wakes up everyday to read the newspaper and writes down her findings

my mother is literate and graduated from UBC accounting

she returned to hk and worked at ernst and young, where she met my dad

after they got married, she decided to pen her own firm

she opened her own firm in 1990 with a secretary and 2 staff.

today, it has 50 staff in 5 cities

she raised me (which is certainly a huge a achievement)

my dad is an accountant but also a investor. the sketchy word “investor” is exactly the image i wanna conjure

he had 4 financial crisis in his life, which unsurprisingly coincided with the market crashses in 1997, 2001, 2003, 2008.

each time, he managed to lose millions of dollars.

and each time, my mother would sit down with him, reworking their assets and pretending it was alright

but i knew that if they had one or two less of these financial crisis, both of them could have semi-retired long time ago.

i am literate, grade 11, hopefully graduating from university or even pursuing a master’s degree

i have had no personal crisis yet, no act of courage that is worthy of being written here.

these 3 women from such different times all showed their inner strength.

all of them are around 5 feet tall, but their confidence is larger than life.

all of them are as hard as steel, coming out stronger after every personal crisis.

all 3 of them are my role models, because i too want to continue their legacy as people who fell down but always stood back up again

i know i have it in me, this inner strength to rise to every challenege, to able to recover from any personal battle

but it’s the same strength in them that makes me respect and fear them

the only vice of their strength is a temper to be reckoned with

my grandmother told me that my great grandmother was a very strict person. she prohibited any kind of disobedience and mishchief.

andi know my grandmother was a fierce woman. from the accounts of my mother, she screaed and yelled quite oftenly.

and from my first hand experience, my mother is definitely a scary
mother who screams at me for anything

sometimes, i feel my mother is not a mother but an army sergent. she screams and yells at me for negligible transgressions.

simiarly, i know this is the same way my mother felt about my grandmother and how my grandmother felt about my great grandmother.

it’s easy to laud them now, but i know i will be secretly swearing at my mother when she screams at me later.

but i also know that these 3 women had the same dream: of hoping sucess for their children.

each of them tried so hard to give their children a better future.

the story of how my grandmother brought my mother to the best high school in leeds, and begged the principal to give them a chance.

the sight of seeing my mother going to every PTA for 11 years, helping out with all my hwk even when she doesn’t do anything

the ambivalence that goes through me every time i realize this truth is hopelessly frustrating

sometimes, i dream how much easier life WOULD be if my mother wasn’t always so angry at me. or how much more i might love her instead of fear her

but at the same time, i know well that my position today is largely all of her effort.

so in the end, what conclusion have i arrived at you may ask?

the only thing i will do is to continue to live with it, to want to kill her every time for her stupidty and stubborness.

but afterwards to realize how important she is to me.


One thought on “the three same women.

  1. o boy o boy boy, I am reli touched by the biographical accounts of your family, it is both sad and inspiring at the same time

    you are very brave and smart Jason, you have understood the challenges that our forebears have gone through and yet learn to accept their wrongs because of those challenges, you have learnt to keep ur calm in face of unjustifiable transgressions

    nothing a mother does can be too wrong to forgive, because as u said, they have brought us up, dedicated more than half their lives to us, participated in our activities, and paid for everything, things they do wrong we as sons have to learn and accept, to forgive, to not repeat the same wrongs

    can you do it? can I do it? let’s work together in this age of development where we face identity vs. role confusion!

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