Firstborn

There she laid asleep with a smile full of joy unknowing of her future. Born to a father who was raised on a boat anchored to the edge of the village, and a mother from an unloving family.

He was 26. She was 16. Her parents and seven brothers objected the reunion. Not because she was too young, but because he was poor. But they got married anyway. For it was what people do.

Her mother was the seventh child of an opium addicted father and an abusive mother. Since the age of five, her day to day ranged from waking up before sunrise to work in the fisheries, her mother beatings, and walking for miles to fetch her father’s opium in the middle of the night. All she was wishing for was to get away from them.

Her father lost his mother when he was 3 years old. They were on a refugee boat to Malaysia, running away from the Japanese. She got sick half way through the journey and they had to dump her body. He wouldn’t have understood it. After the war, all is left to his father was a boat and each other. Without any education, he scrapped knowledge from anywhere he could find and learned to read and write in Chinese. And thanks to his dedication and a kind friend, he gathered enough knowledge to start his practice in Chinese Traditional Medicine.

However, that was never enough. The village was full of sick people who couldn’t pay. His skill and knowledge were effective and the villagers loved him for that. But it was never enough to feed the family. It was all for his wife’s hard work that lead them to this point of life. Without any education and being a women, it would have been impossible for her to earn much money. But with their firstborn in her arm, they saw hope. She understood the sacrifice she would have to make. All the hard life ahead of her. For her firstborn.

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