Mix-up or being lost due to too many choices, known/unknown external factors or possibly one’s ignorance and lack of knowledge. Mix-up or confusion is akin to a sudden regain of consciousness on a midday nap; a state where mind and body still stuck between reality and delusion.
CHNG CHIN KANG is the name on my birth certificate but there is no Chinese name. It was my primary one teacher who determined the Chinese name 庄青刚; a name attained from my mother’s Fujian pronunciation. However, on a trip to the cemetery, we found out that the name engraved on our grandmother’s tomb is 庄清江. Trusting that both last names in Fujian sound alike; it is the only rational explanation to my teacher conferring me the name I’m still using.
Another mix-up is associated to our surname; my 3 other siblings and I share a surname which is different from our father’s. We are from Fujian Jinmen; our surname should be CHNG. However, my 6 other brothers and sisters as well as our father have the surname CHENG, which is a Chaozhou pinyin or pronunciation for 庄. Nevertheless, up till now, none of us intend to correct the mistake on our identity cards; in any case accuracy of father and son blood relation is undeniable.
阿公是福建金门岛南来的福建人，故以闽南语发音的CHNG 才算正确，而其他兄弟姐妹及父亲的CHENG 应该是潮州人的拼音法。不过，直到如今我们都没有更改身份证上的错误，反正父子关系的正确性是肯定的。
I grew up happily in a below average educated community. Like most Chinese families do, we enshrine and worship the traditional Taoist deities or divinities such as the Great Uncle of Heaven (大伯公), the Goddess of Mercy (观音), and so on. The many festivities for the gods as well as weddings and heart-rending funerals that were conducted in the open space outside our house have accompanied me through my growing stages. However, these amusing, weird and wonderful events during my childhood days seemed idiotic, tiresome and bizarre when I’m much older.
Soon, one after another, two of my older brothers and a younger sister converted to Christianity. One brother had once served as a medium to the deities. I believe that all these had been a great blow to our mother who had only acknowledged her traditional deities in her whole life. Things got even more knotty when my brothers rejected all the food that had been consecrated to the deities. I can only say that people will change with each passing day, as well as with the changes in the environment around them. Soon after,I too became a vegetarian and do not eat the meat dish prepared by our mother. Mother must have been saddened as I happened to be the one among her ten children who would gobble up all the remnants of her cooking.
I opted to work abroad not long after I begin working; it’s inevitable to have cause much worries to my family members, but I have never regretted. It was the most rewarding voyage; it has facilitated the growth of knowledge and vision and the opportunities to experience the differences in scenery and condition compared to my hometown. Many a times, Many a I felt as if I was in a dreamland amidst the snow gleam white world of winter. In Europe and America, the differences in time zones are simply marvelous and intriguing. What's more, though my wife and I were separated by twelve hours in time differences, we were joined via the same moon during our jog; one at 5pm in the hard winter of Vermont, the other at 5am in the rainy Singapore; this was indeed an amazing and heart-warming occurrences.
出来工作后不久，我便义无反顾地选择到国外工作。家人担心及思念在所难免，但我从未后悔过，因为收获是知识及视野的增长，见识了许多异地有，家乡无的景致及事物。就说白雪皑皑的世界，那里简直是梦境啊！后来到欧美感受时差的奇妙，东西半球的日夜颠倒。还有我和妻子在时差十二小时的两地见到同一个月亮而惊讶却也温馨;在 5pm正处于严冬的美国东岸, 及5am正处于雨季的新加坡，我们跑步时抬头望着同一个月亮？
At about 30 years old, I was diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo two surgical operations and a course of radiotherapy treatment; the innumerable subsequent visits to doctors honestly have me ponder a lot on the rigorous test in life. However, I believed that my anguish would pale into insignificance if compared to what our mother had gone through. Our mother had given birth to 10 children; had several surgical operations in her middle age; a sufferer of dementia and wheelchair bound in her old age. All this along with other minor illnesses, mother had been in and out of the hospital rather often. I believe no one likes being sick, being admitted to hospital or being placed on the operating table. Nevertheless, it’s not easy for bystanders to figure out the confused, blurry feelings and the state soon after one had been injected with anesthetics. The ironies are these experiences aid one to enrich his/her life; it also helps one to be more tolerant and open-minded.
The demise of our parent also made me realize that life is variable. However, it’s still difficult to acknowledge the sudden death of any lifetime acquaintances and to accept that she would soon be cremated. This made me ill and uncomfortable at heart, and also ponder on where had the dead gone? I’m also constantly thinking about the meaning in life and its significance; perhaps many may advocate religious conviction during his/her life; perhaps life has no significance. We started from scratch, gradually become more complex and then back to zero again in the end.
父母亲的相继过世让我体会到人生无常，而往生者也不知去了哪里？然而叫我难以接受的是看着一个与我生活了半辈子的人突然间冷冰冰地躺在床上，不久后便得推进火炉里火化，感知中的大部分是空空的甚是难受。 我无时无刻不在思考着生命的意义，也许人们已在宗教里找到自己生存的意义？或许生命本来就没什么意义可言; 我们由零开始，逐渐增加并复杂化，但到头来又回到零等值。