N a p a l m H e a l t h S p a : R e p o r t 2 0 1 0
KYI MAY KAUNG
Every night, going to bed, often
fall asleep without brushing teeth
wake up 6 AM, lights still on mouth bitter
thank God, condo has a flat fee, utilities included.
Every morning dream nightmares, hard to shake
always, trying to save people who know
want to be saved. Would rather drown in tsunami.
Imagine. Won’t know I’m dead till I start
to smell. Imagine – condo doesn’t let anyone in
without a will. Tired
of the incredible commercial side of the family, from
riverside coastal towns and stinking mud
flats. People who on the whole care only
about food and money or money and food. Trying to be like father, poetry lover if not
poet, marrying for money. No help either.
Mother always hating me saying
“I know my children. My middle daughter, you care
about nothing, but yourself and your children.” Immediate family
now maybe thinks, I don’t care enough. Distant second cousin who
married, my brother-in-law, richer than his brother. His monthly income was higher,
but he was much shorter and less attractive, as if I cared.
The tall common great grandfather, who needed a special
custom-made coffin, the one who found a pot of gold coins, under
a flame of the forest tree which fell over in a storm. Why didn’t he
save the coins. Minted when? Don’t know. Paternal grandfather killed by
folk medicine, burn lotion containing glass, after
he kicked away an ember and burned his foot. House burned by opium smugglers.
U Ba Thaw British colonial excise agent.
Grandmother telling stories but never said she was the second wife and before her he had
a wife in
looked so like, Chinese premier Chou En-lai, similarly calculating and “diplomatic” too.
Mother hated him, said, “He comes every month to present, the bill for the water.”
Other grandmother saying, “Your forehead is so broad, an aeroplane
could land on it. Your lipstick is so red it looks
like a Shan’s arse gashed by a dah.” Racist as well as sexist remark
by a savvy and successful businesswoman, who read the newspapers every day. Well
aware of December 1941, now both HMS Prince of Wales battleship and HMS Repulse, sunk
Everything lost Japanese invasion
house looted. Chinese grandfather died of a stroke while fleeing on train. Grandmother
Snow Maiden had furnished
her house, with furniture and mirrors from
Had hundreds of Singapore batik sarongs – now only one, an orange one, remains. I have it.
For a long time I truly thought, given all this loss and hate and
what I know only now is called verbal abuse, I must have been
a Japanese soldier raped my mother.
And yet I was just a regular, bright little fat little
sweet little girl.
Fond of flowers, food and bright colors.