“… a combination of descent, dissent, assent, accent …
Amy Paulussen amypaulessen.com quoting a professor in thewritepractice.com

So who’s spinning all these words?

I’m a Singaporean woman descended from a fierce Hakka Catholic woman, a mother of five daughters who was kicked out of her in-laws’ plantation home in up-state Malaya at the age of thirty five because she’d buried a husband and her only son.  Capable creature, she took to running a small town provision shop, shepherded the daughters through the Japanese invasion and managed to save enough to send two of them to university in Australia.

On the other side, my grandfather was a Chinese immigrant who came to Colonial Singapore penniless from Guangdong as a young boy and became the  ‘almost’ English gentleman owner of the Cockpit Hotel before he died in the early years of independent Singapore. His wife, from whom I get most of my cultural baggage, was the spoilt oldest daughter of a Malacca Peranakan family.

The things I hold on to are God and the belief that, although shit happens, there’s growth in that manure. I’m committed to my unexpected marriage to a Vietnamese boat-person whose face I first saw on a BBC documentary in an Oxford women’s college, and to my three children. Waking up to my daytime vocation as a financial steward and investor and running to my night time avocation as a wordsmith give meaning to my life. My biggest learning experience was teaching my youngest son, born deaf and adopted at four, how to speak.  He taught me patience and showed me how much we’d all taken for granted. Now I appreciate the completeness of my parts and every hearing minute of my day, .

I try to eschew guilt and not be unproductively angry, to lead a considered life and to do no harm.

Accents are what we put on.  In my wandering life I’ve spoken English with an American accent in the US, a somewhat British accent when I need to,  Vietnamese like a Chinese from Cholon, Mandarin like a Southerner, Spanish like a Mexican. It is good to be home, and to be able to speak English with my own voice and Singlish without need for translators.

As for the other things I put on… Ah! If we knew our pretensions we wouldn’t have them would we?

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17 Responses to “WHO AM I?”
  1. qiquan says:

    Dear Audrey,
    Glad to know that you are Singaporean, though I am not, I am a Malaysian living for many years in Singapore. May be you would like to check Sydney’s blog http://addgrainonearth.com He is always looking for Singaporean bloggers. So you are older than my late mom, perhaps more than 80 years old since you have been through the 2nd World War with your children. You are absolutely a very energetic person =)!


    • Audrey Chin says:

      Hi Qi Quan, Thanks for following. Will be glad to go look at Sydney’s blog. I’m not 80 years old, only 55 …. So probably about your mom’s age. I wonder what I wrote that gave you the impression I was so old. I must go look up what I said about myself. Anyway, glad to have you in the community.

      • qiquan says:

        May be I did not read carefully instead. My oldest sister is about 51 years old, and she is Singaporean since she has been living here for more than 20 years.

        Glad to know you too.

  2. I was intrigued by a comment you left on one of the weekly photo challenges, an interesting mix of spiritualties with your ‘beads’ 🙂 So I’ve come on over to quietly read your blog, and hopefully not disturb your peace during the weekly prompt of ‘escape’!

    • Audrey Chin says:

      You’re welcome wordswithnannaprawn …. You might like the ones on meditation… I can’t remember the links… there’s one called “what happens if you don’t talk for 7 days”

  3. You redesigned your blog, I love it!

    • Audrey Chin says:

      Hi Kathleen.
      Yup. Either on TribeWriters or Joe Bunting’s TheStoryCartel/course… I read that I had to have a landing page with a BIG signup sheet. And then, I know that having the 3 column format was too complicated. The only thing with this one is I’m having a few problems with the photographs. We’ll sort that out I hope.

  4. Hi Audrey, I stumbled upon your blog through your comments on Vibe101. Such an interesting introductory. Loved it so I am now following your blog and will return to read more of your stories. 🙂

  5. Khuyen says:

    Hey, thank you for commenting on my blog. Your introduction is really interesting. We both have lived in Singapore and had a connection with Vietnam, so I’m sure we will have things to share 🙂

    • Audrey Chin says:

      I lived in the US too! Being your mom’s vintage and you being the age between my middle and youngest son, it’s interesting for me to follow your thoughts and understand the younger generation;)

  6. Maretta says:

    Lovely to read your latest posts. Sorry to hear of your Mom’s passing. Always difficult to lose a parent. But hoping all is well with you and your family. Stay safe. Hugs!

    • Audrey Chin says:

      Hi Maretta, I’m finally coming to grips with it. I think I’ll come out the other end. How are you in this strange time of distancing, when an email seems closer than a chat over coffee?

      • Maretta says:

        We are well. In colder weather for the first winter in many years. US border is closed so we cannot drive to our home in Arizona. But feeling fairly safe in our small city of Kelowna….only 140 cases in all of the interior of British Columbia. I miss hugs!!
        Take care.

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