Saturday, February 07, 2004

'Tis a no-brainer that I'm Chinese. I've gone through the racist spectacles, overwrought with emotion. I'm also an immigrant whose roots belong miles from here, embedded in high-end stores and low-end ramshackle dens fused in hubbub. But most importantly, I have a father who can't quite wrap his finger around the idea that my first language is English. It is one thing to prove a potential employer at just how adept I am for the job, it is another thing entirely when my own father questions my competence amongst deified members of society, known as my classmates.

"Do you understand what you are reading in the newspaper?" he asks rather nonchalantly the other day. I react in rage. "Why wouldn't I?" Spitting out each syllable like Mount Etna in the early phases of eruption.

"I am just asking whether or not you understand everything you are reading. It is all in English, you know? Do you understand all that is being written?"

Such condescension. Such over-compensation for his own shortcomings.

I go get a cup of water and calm down.

"There are definitely some words that elude me. But for those, I go and look up their definitions on the Internet," came my response.

"Internet? Are you sure you can handle it? Everything is in English," he smirked.

My God he needs to shut up around me!

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