Once, my Mom was critically ill and Dad had to stay with her in hospital and we were sent to his elder sister's house to stay for a few days. My aunt has 7 kids. Her husband was a successful cloth merchant.
My brothers and I had to sleep on straw mats in the hall at night. The family went about their business and we were largely ignored. One night, the father came back with 3 durians for his two younger sons. He opened the durians and called out for all to come and eat. My younger brother Chuan, was the first to dash forward and grab one seed. Suddenly my uncle snatched it from his hand, pushed him and shouted," F*** your mother! Who said you could eat? Hungry ghosts! Beggars!"
My younger brother was only 5. He was shocked and started crying. I pulled him towards me and tried to pacify him. I forbid my brothers to eat the food. I refused to touch the fruits and I secretly swore never to accept anything from this family. We were no beggars.
That night, the 3 of us sat leaning against the wall in one corner, watching them eat their fruits with relish. My right hand was holding one brother, Meng's hand while the left hand was clutching the other sobbing Chuan. I believe my eyes were burning with hatred then. I didn't tell my Dad about this incident. I doubt my brothers remember.
Another time, at my second uncle's house. His neighbour gave each of us kids a tube of Twinkles chocolates. My cousin, who was only 7, took away ours. I protested but she retorted that they were meant for her because that was her neighbour, not ours. My brothers started fighting with her for the chocolates. Her shouts brought her mother.
This second aunt just snatched all the chocolates from my brothers hands, opened one tube and poured them onto the sandy ground. "Nah, eat!" She grabbed her daughter's hand and went into the house.
My brothers picked up the chocolates one by one despite my protests, washed them under the tap and proceeded to eat the soggy mess. There was still some sand stuck in it. I cried. I realised then that when you are poor and weak, you have no choice but to eat what others give to you.
I think I was hardened by such incidents and became stubborn. I don't easily bow my head to others. I am a very proud person. This bad trait do put me in lots of trouble when I was older. I would rather lose a deal or friend than kowtow to demanding people.
Subsequently there were many such incidents in school and at work, I shall not bore you with those and skip to the more important parts of my life. You can try borrowing the book from Jaymes for my entire story. hehe......
Today, my Dad can now proudly boast that he has the only graduate and two entreprenuers in the family tree. hahahaha................ we did him proud!