Bumps | 颠簸

---Frightened, 2015.5.12 | 《害怕》

—Frightened, 2015.5.12 | 《害怕》

 

“Little shit, useless! Little shit, useless!”

My father would shout this when he beat me with a dustpan – my earliest memory. He hated me being born as a dwarf, particularly a female one. He didn’t stop beating me until one day he almost beat my mother to death.

 

---Patriarchy, 2015.5.20 | 《父权社会》

—Patriarchy, 2015.5.20 | 《父权社会》

 

Influenced by such violence in a patriarchal family, where all parents favored a boy over a girl, my brother also liked bullying me. He learned to beat me till one day he was scared when he cut my forearm deep with a scar.

 

---Scar, 2015.7.9 | 《伤痕》

—Scar, 2015.7.9 | 《伤痕》

---The Scar, 2019.10.19 | 《那道疤痕》

—The Scar, 2019.10.19 | 《那道疤痕》

 

Years of my mother staying unwell in bed gave me more chance to do farm work, housework and take care of two young sisters. And that somehow made me useful in my father’s eye.

 

---Family, 2015.5.13 | 《家庭》

—Family, 2015.5.13 | 《家庭》

 

When mother got better, I started school at ten. Things were fine till Grade Five when my Chinese teacher doubted my writing, “Have you copied this from an Essay Book?” I said no. He then left a striking red mark: Whether or not you have cribbed your article off a book, you know the best! 

 

---Vulnerability, 2015.5.12 | 《脆弱》

—Vulnerability, 2015.5.12 | 《脆弱》

---My private Shenzhen library built from a dormitory window that liked receiving wind and rain uninvited, 2013.9 | 《我的深圳私人藏书屋》

—My private Shenzhen library built from a dormitory window that liked receiving wind and rain uninvited, 2013.9 | 《我的深圳私人藏书屋》

 

The irony was that I didn’t even have a book. To prove myself, I insisted on joining a writing competition, which no one believed I should. In the end I won First Prize in the whole district. I thought that would make people look at me differently, but it didn’t. Their silence was confusing.

 

---Confusion, 2015.4.17 | 《困惑》

—Confusion, 2015.4.17 | 《困惑》

 

Nonetheless, I kept studying hard and being a good student. This didn’t change until a kidney stone that almost needed surgery in high school made me start wondering: What was the point of being good? What had good writing done for me? Why should I meet an expectation that was not mine? Why not just listen to myself?

 

---Be Wild, 2015.3.18 | 《自然野》

—Be Wild, 2015.3.18 | 《自然野》

 

Therefore I half listened to my father about becoming a teacher. But behind his back I chose Hainan Island for my college life. This was strongly against his wishes because it was too far away. For days, he didn’t sleep or eat much. At last, he gave me a thick roll of thirty-eight hundred cash and told me with red wet eyes, “This is all I have. Don’t come home until you can afford it.” 

 

---Father, 2015.4.25 | 《父亲》

—Father, 2015.4.25 | 《父亲》

 

I assured him, “Don’t worry. The school offers a five-thousand loan every year.” 

But I could never tell him that the loan was a lie. How could I?

 

---My grandfather's Medal Awarded From the Korea War, 1954 | 《爷爷的抗美援朝纪念章》

—My grandfather’s Medal Awarded From the Korea War, 1954 | 《爷爷的抗美援朝纪念章》

 

Owing half my tuition fees, I had to constantly take different part-time jobs. Yet my salary was never enough to pay off my debt. When the time came to register for the second year, the administrator refused me unless I paid off everything. Accordingly I showed him these two things: “Look, this is my grandfather’s medal awarded from the Korea War and his Military Certificate authorized by the renowned General Chen Yi. It clearly says, ‘His family get preferential treatment.’”

 

---My grandfather's Military Certificate, 1951 | 《爷爷的革命军人证明书:司令员 陈毅》

—My grandfather’s Military Certificate, 1951 | 《爷爷的革命军人证明书:司令员 陈毅》

 

“Is he still alive?” He sneered.

“No… please!” I suddenly knelt down. “My grandfather had fought many wars and sacrificed a lot. He had become crippled and deaf, and almost been killed on the battlefield. His greatest wish was to see me graduate from college.”

“Your grandpa is dead. What’s the use of all this?”

 

---Sob, 2015.7.7 | 《哭诉》

—Sob, 2015.7.7 | 《哭诉》

 

I got up slowly, pulling myself together. I began to make phone calls and borrow money. This made me sick. When I asked for a raise after three years of working for my first company, the boss killed me as a chicken to scare the monkey. And later in the second company, I found my basic salary had been underpaid for six months. What the hell made people do that to me?

 

---Mankind, 2015.5.6 | 《人》

—Mankind, 2015.5.6 | 《人》

 

Unhesitatingly I quit my full-time job to chase my writing dream. Had I not been framed by a world where the colors are drawn by child abuse, sexist bullies, social suspicions and human unkindness, would I struggle even now to tell the bumps of my life stories?

 

---A Framed Life, 2015.7.11 | 《一个被设限的生命》

—A Framed Life, 2015.7.11 | 《一个被设限的生命》

 

I’m not going to ask ‘Why me?’. Because it is not just me. It is a bunch of mes. But what bumps do you have and what impacts do they have on you?

 

---Hope, 2015.7.5 | 《希望》

—Hope, 2015.7.5 | 《希望》

 

Note: This is something that I can never feel comfortable to talk to anyone, but Toastmasters gave me courage and strength to make it a speech. You can read the original post here.

 

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---Shanghai Leadership TMC Still Drives Me Crazy, 2019.10.19 | 《上海头马依旧让我痴狂》

—Shanghai Leadership TMC Still Drives Me Crazy, 2019.10.19 | 《上海头马依旧让我痴狂》

 

Related article:Transformations

Last article 上一篇: LEADERSHIP’S GOT TALENT | LGT

 

About Heather Cai:

Heather Cover

Heather is the daughter of a subsistence rice farmer from Fujian Province, China. She tells stories from her experience as one of the poorest. She writes her dream to share with the world, a very personal place. She has now written two English literary novels and is looking to being published in the UK. Her passion is a splendid cocktail or milkshake of word, image, music and art. She likes collecting books, DVDs, papers, stones, shells and leaves. She desires for all forms of natural beauty. She is currently living in Shanghai and serving as Sergeant-at-arms (SAA) for Shanghai Leadership Toastmasters Club.

Copyright © 2018-2019 Heather Cai. All Rights Reserved. 所有版权归作者所有!


 

Follow HeathersChamber for more original poems, essays, prose, drawings and pictures

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This Happened When Mike Reported a Traffic Accident to the Police

When I told the story of my car accident here, there were different voices. Needless to say, making a report to the police is the most favorable. But sometimes what you know about the legal system or the Chinese society is not the same as you would have believed. And this happened to my friend Mike:

 

捕获

— Xi’an, Shanxi, 2013.7 | 陕西西安

 

Hello. I’m Mike, an educator and a manager of educators in China for the past 6+ years. It’s been a rewarding experience, one that has allowed me to learn much about Chinese culture, particularly the national language Mandarin. Chi kui is a Mandarin phrase that means “to eat a loss.” And Chi ya ba kui, literally means “to eat a mute person’s loss,” or to suffer losses or grievances in silence. I found myself with a new appreciation for this phrase recently, when as a cyclist I was involved in a traffic accident in which the other party ran a red light and collided with me, giving me a concussion and a shoulder injury—and I wound up having to pay him. If this sounds unbelievable or insane to you, then you can imagine how I feel.

 

1

HELLRAISER-JUDGMENT_1

—Credit: Google | 图片来自:谷歌

 

For the past 3.5 years, I have been living and working in Kunshan, a city just outside of Shanghai, China. Last October, I rode a shared bike to work as usual. When I approached a green light at an intersection, I saw several jaywalkers crossing from the left side of the road to the right side of the road. Just as I was about to pass safely in front of them, one of the jaywalkers broke into a run, charging into my left side. His head slammed into my left shoulder and knocked me over, hard. My right shoulder slammed into the pavement hardest. My right hip also hit hard, and my head (despite not hitting the ground) was jolted badly enough to leave me with a mild concussion. Amidst shock and adrenaline, I didn’t take note of any pain or injury. The person who tackled me, an older fellow, was sitting on the pavement looking bewildered. In frustration, I yelled at him for his carelessness before getting back on my bike.

 

--- Shenzhen, Guangdong, 2016 | 广东深圳

— Shenzhen, Guangdong, 2016 | 广东深圳

 

Upon arriving, I mentioned the situation to coworkers. My bosses advised me that I must report the accident. We went to the police station. The older fellow had already made a report and had gone to the hospital for a thorough examination. It was later determined that he had broken a bone in his thumb, and this broken bone would require surgery to repair.

 

--- Xi'an, Shanxi, 2013.7 | 陕西西安

— Xi’an, Shanxi, 2013.7 | 陕西西安

 

Fortunately, the police were able to obtain video footage of the accident from traffic cameras. This footage confirmed that the accident occurred exactly as I remembered—he was jaywalking, he unexpectedly started running (to catch a bus), and he slammed into me. Unfortunately for me, none of this matters—the legal system favors him. He is older, I am younger. He is a pedestrian, I had a vehicle (even if only a bicycle). His injuries required expensive medical care, mine required time and rest. He is uninsured and has no income, I am apparently rich (or at least that’s the perception of foreigners). His financial damages included the cost of his surgery, his other medical costs, estimated future medical costs, and wages lost from his part-time job. The portion of these damages which I ultimately had to pay amounted to 23,000 RMB, roughly $3300 USD.

 

--- Xi'an, Shanxi, 2013.7 | 陕西西安

— Xi’an, Shanxi, 2013.7 | 陕西西安

 

The whole episode felt like a descent into madness. My side of the story mostly fell on deaf ears. I was eventually advised to stop telling it. What if I just stayed quiet, humble, and contrite (although there was nothing to be contrite about)?

 

--- Shenzhen, Guangdong, 2016 | 广东深圳

— Shenzhen, Guangdong, 2016 | 广东深圳

 

Now that it’s over, I am sharing my story to boost awareness among expats. In any case, if some good comes out of this, one way or another, I’ll feel better about the whole situation. Perhaps I’ll ultimately have to chi kui, to eat the loss. I can live with that. But I don’t want to chi ya ba kui, to suffer the loss in silence. Nor should anyone. If you agree, please share.

 

quote-it-often-requires-more-courage-to-suffer-in-silence-than-to-rebel-more-courage-not-to-booker-t-washington-53-20-96

—Credit: Google | 图片来自:谷歌

--- Xi'an, Shanxi, 2013.7 | 陕西西安

— Xi’an, Shanxi, 2013.7 | 陕西西安

 

Mike’s story made me wonder, why do the innocent suffer?
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— Shenzhen, Guangdong, 2016 | 广东深圳

 

About Heather Cai:

Heather is the daughter of a subsistence rice farmer from Fujian Province, China. She tells stories from her experience as one of the poorest. She writes her dream to share with the world, a very personal place. She has now written two English literary novels and is looking to being published in the UK. Her passion is a splendid cocktail or milkshake of word, image, music and art. She likes collecting books, DVDs, papers, stones, shells and leaves. She desires for all forms of natural beauty. She is currently living in Shanghai and serving as Sergeant-at-arms (SAA) for Shanghai Leadership Toastmasters Club.

 

Copyright © 2018-2019 Heather Cai. All Rights Reserved. 所有版权归作者所有!

 

Follow HeathersChamber for more original poems, essays, prose, drawings and pictures

关注阿太的密室,订阅更多原创诗歌、散文、随笔、画画和图片

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When You Are Hit by a Car, and You Are Fine

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— Datong Yungang Grotto, Shanxi, 2016.8 | 山西大同云冈石窟

 

If you are hit by a car, then normally you would not be fine, but would know what to do, right? However, if you are hit by a car, and you are fine, what would you do?

 

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— Datong Yungang Grotto, Shanxi, 2016.8 | 山西大同云冈石窟

 

This question might confuse everybody. Let me tell you a fresh story, my story.

 

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— Datong Yungang Grotto, Shanxi, 2016.8 | 山西大同云冈石窟

 

One ordinary morning in April this year, I was hit by a car. It happened at a pedestrian crossing with no traffic lights in Jiangsu Road. I’ve crossed this two-way road for nearly five-hundred days since I moved to Shanghai. It was during the week but after the peak. And the traffic was not busy. As usual, I was enjoying some music with earphones plugged in and following a guy in the front. It was just another morning on my way to work.

 

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Then, all of a sudden, a car just missed the guy and drove straight at me. Scared, I slightly turned away and raised my right hand sending out a signal: “Stop!” But the driver didn’t stop. It first hit my right hip and made me lose balance. I fell towards the car. My right arm was pressing on the hood and my left hand holding my phone tight in the air. The speed was not enough to make me fly, but fast enough to lift me up. My feet were dragged along till the end of the zebra line. Finally, the car stopped. I fell onto the ground and rolled once. It happened too fast. But my subconscious was in slow motion, almost like a dream. There were no sounds, no colors, no pain, nothing. I couldn’t remember how I got up. The moment I started hearing sounds and seeing colors, I found my phone was missing. It took me several minutes to find it behind one of the front wheels. When I found my white earphones were stained black, I began to feel angry. All the while, the driver wearing glasses, remained in his comfortable seat. Thinking about this and realizing that I was supposed to be in a hurry, I couldn’t help shouting at the nerdy driver.

 

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— Datong Yungang Grotto, Shanxi, 2016.8 | 山西大同云冈石窟

 

“I was walking right after the guy. How could you just drive straight at me?”

 

“Sorry, I didn’t see you.” He didn’t even look at me. Or was he ashamed to look at me?

 

“Are you blind?”

 

“Sorry…” He said indifferently. I became more angry.

 

“Bullshit! You hit me!”

 

“Sorry…” He repeated it, throwing me a glance with the same indifference.

 

“Aren’t you going to say something?” My anger almost exploded.

 

“Sorry…” He turned into a stone, and the car horns were blowing behind him.

 

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— Datong Yungang Grotto, Shanxi, 2016.8 | 山西大同云冈石窟

 

I was too shocked to think further and too speechless to stay longer. In the end, I gave him a middle finger and left.

 

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— Datong Yungang Grotto, Shanxi, 2016.8 | 山西大同云冈石窟

 

By the time I entered the metro station, my mind spun. How could I forget to take a picture of his car number? Idiot! I should report him. But what would I do if I did? Would I like to deal with the police? Would it be worth reporting him?

 

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— Datong Yungang Grotto, Shanxi, 2016.8 | 山西大同云冈石窟

 

All day long, I was looped by questions. I didn’t feel any pain until the water ran over my body in a shower. There were bruises on my knees, my palms and my hip. And my left little finger couldn’t move. But this didn’t worry me. I actually laughed. Because my family’s newest superstition says that my luck would turn in 2019.   

 

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— Datong Yungang Grotto, Shanxi, 2016.8 | 山西大同云冈石窟

 

Now, two months have passed. The only thing that still bothers me is my little finger. I often play with it, in a way like one long-bearded philosopher would touch his beard. And meantime I would wonder: If you were me, what would you do? Would you report him right there? Or would you walk away feeling shocked and lucky?

 

About the Author:

 

Heather in Sri Lanka, Mar 2015.

Heather in Sri Lanka, Mar 2015.

 

Heather is the daughter of a subsistence rice farmer from Fujian Province, China. She tells stories from her experience as one of the poorest. She writes her dream to share with the world, a very personal place. She has now written two English literary novels and is looking to being published in the UK. Her passion is a splendid cocktail or milkshake of word, image, music and art. She likes collecting books, DVDs, papers, stones, shells and leaves. She desires for all forms of natural beauty. She is currently living in Shanghai and serving as Sergeant-at-arms (SAA) for Shanghai Leadership Toastmasters Club.

 


Follow HeathersChamber for more original poems, essays, prose, drawings and pictures

关注阿太的密室,订阅更多原创诗歌、散文、随笔、画画和图片

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Drawing#70: Cry

 

 

Cry

“I’m worth more dead than alive.

Don’t cry for me after I’m gone;

cry for me now.

–  Marlene Dietrich-

 


From now on, I’ll post my drawings weekly, or maybe twice a week. To share the below auto-biographic stories, I’ll keep being creative, transforming my thoughts into words and images.

I started school when I was ten. In primary school, there was no lessons other than Maths and Chinese. The rest were merely reading on your own and doing homework. So basically, I had to skip the rest of the classes to do housework or farmwork. And the teacher used charcoal to write on the wooden board. Not to mention that I never owned any proper paper. One evening after dinner, I invited my best playmate to visit my room. We sat up on the bed face to face, looking into each other. Then we came up with an idea to draw each other’s face. So we used the back page of my Chinese and Math books, which were blank and white. In the end, we looked again and again at the drawings, laughing with pride. Too bad, soon the pictures faded away naturally. Now the drawn face has become vague, but the memory of my very first drawing with a pencil is still vivid. Continue reading

Drawing#69: Hatred

 

Hatred

“Years of love have been forgot

In the hatred of a minute.

–  Edgar Allan Poe –

“IT IS BETTER TO BE HATED FOR WHAT YOU ARE THAN

TO BE LOVED FOR WHAT YOU ARE NOT.”

 


From now on, I’ll post my drawings weekly, or maybe twice a week. To share the below auto-biographic stories, I’ll keep being creative, transforming my thoughts into words and images.

I started school when I was ten. In primary school, there was no lessons other than Maths and Chinese. The rest were merely reading on your own and doing homework. So basically, I had to skip the rest of the classes to do housework or farmwork. And the teacher used charcoal to write on the wooden board. Not to mention that I never owned any proper paper. One evening after dinner, I invited my best playmate to visit my room. We sat up on the bed face to face, looking into each other. Then we came up with an idea to draw each other’s face. So we used the back page of my Chinese and Math books, which were blank and white. In the end, we looked again and again at the drawings, laughing with pride. Too bad, soon the pictures faded away naturally. Now the drawn face has become vague, but the memory of my very first drawing with a pencil is still vivid. Continue reading

Drawing#68: Singer

 

“The best advice I can give a young aspiring singer is not to become an old aspiring singer.

– – Renata Scotto

“There are a lot of aspiring singers who are not to be paid attention to because they don’t look like a fashion model.

– – Linda Ronstadt

 


From now on, I’ll post my drawings weekly, or maybe twice a week. To share the below auto-biographic stories, I’ll keep being creative, transforming my thoughts into words and images.

I started school when I was ten. In primary school, there was no lessons other than Maths and Chinese. The rest were merely reading on your own and doing homework. So basically, I had to skip the rest of the classes to do housework or farmwork. And the teacher used charcoal to write on the wooden board. Not to mention that I never owned any proper paper. One evening after dinner, I invited my best playmate to visit my room. We sat up on the bed face to face, looking into each other. Then we came up with an idea to draw each other’s face. So we used the back page of my Chinese and Math books, which were blank and white. In the end, we looked again and again at the drawings, laughing with pride. Too bad, soon the pictures faded away naturally. Now the drawn face has become vague, but the memory of my very first drawing with a pencil is still vivid. Continue reading

Drawing#67: Butterfly

 

Butterfly

“The fluttering of a butterfly’s wings can effect climate changes on the other side of the planet.

– – Paul Erlich

“I would like to think that the singer is the butterfly, and the drummer was just the little grub in the ground, working to become a caterpillar.

– – Robert Wyatt

 


From now on, I’ll post my drawings weekly, or maybe twice a week. To share the below auto-biographic stories, I’ll keep being creative, transforming my thoughts into words and images.

I started school when I was ten. In primary school, there was no lessons other than Maths and Chinese. The rest were merely reading on your own and doing homework. So basically, I had to skip the rest of the classes to do housework or farmwork. And the teacher used charcoal to write on the wooden board. Not to mention that I never owned any proper paper. One evening after dinner, I invited my best playmate to visit my room. We sat up on the bed face to face, looking into each other. Then we came up with an idea to draw each other’s face. So we used the back page of my Chinese and Math books, which were blank and white. In the end, we looked again and again at the drawings, laughing with pride. Too bad, soon the pictures faded away naturally. Now the drawn face has become vague, but the memory of my very first drawing with a pencil is still vivid. Continue reading

Drawing#66: Stranger

 

Stranger

“From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents – Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr Collins, and I will never see you again if you do.

– – Jane Austen

 


From now on, I’ll post my drawings weekly, or maybe twice a week. To share the below auto-biographic stories, I’ll keep being creative, transforming my thoughts into words and images.

I started school when I was ten. In primary school, there was no lessons other than Maths and Chinese. The rest were merely reading on your own and doing homework. So basically, I had to skip the rest of the classes to do housework or farmwork. And the teacher used charcoal to write on the wooden board. Not to mention that I never owned any proper paper. One evening after dinner, I invited my best playmate to visit my room. We sat up on the bed face to face, looking into each other. Then we came up with an idea to draw each other’s face. So we used the back page of my Chinese and Math books, which were blank and white. In the end, we looked again and again at the drawings, laughing with pride. Too bad, soon the pictures faded away naturally. Now the drawn face has become vague, but the memory of my very first drawing with a pencil is still vivid. Continue reading

Drawing#65: Freedom

 

Freedom

Freedom

“FREEDOM IS

WHAT YOU DO

WITH WHAT’S

BEEN DONE TO

YOU.

– – Jean-Paul Sarte (French Philosopher,1905-1980)

 


From now on, I’ll post my drawings weekly, or maybe twice a week. To share the below auto-biographic stories, I’ll keep being creative, transforming my thoughts into words and images.

I started school when I was ten. In primary school, there was no lessons other than Maths and Chinese. The rest were merely reading on your own and doing homework. So basically, I had to skip the rest of the classes to do housework or farmwork. And the teacher used charcoal to write on the wooden board. Not to mention that I never owned any proper paper. One evening after dinner, I invited my best playmate to visit my room. We sat up on the bed face to face, looking into each other. Then we came up with an idea to draw each other’s face. So we used the back page of my Chinese and Math books, which were blank and white. In the end, we looked again and again at the drawings, laughing with pride. Too bad, soon the pictures faded away naturally. Now the drawn face has become vague, but the memory of my very first drawing with a pencil is still vivid. Continue reading

Drawing#64: Incarnation

 

Incarnation

“When writers die they become books,

which is, after all,

not too bad an incarnation.

– – Jorge Luis Borges

 


From now on, I’ll post my drawings weekly, or maybe twice a week. To share the below auto-biographic stories, I’ll keep being creative, transforming my thoughts into words and images.

I started school when I was ten. In primary school, there was no lessons other than Maths and Chinese. The rest were merely reading on your own and doing homework. So basically, I had to skip the rest of the classes to do housework or farmwork. And the teacher used charcoal to write on the wooden board. Not to mention that I never owned any proper paper. One evening after dinner, I invited my best playmate to visit my room. We sat up on the bed face to face, looking into each other. Then we came up with an idea to draw each other’s face. So we used the back page of my Chinese and Math books, which were blank and white. In the end, we looked again and again at the drawings, laughing with pride. Too bad, soon the pictures faded away naturally. Now the drawn face has become vague, but the memory of my very first drawing with a pencil is still vivid. Continue reading