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Chapter 28 Gē

posted Jun 8, 2017, 8:10 AM by Ratinan Lee   [ updated Sep 20, 2017, 10:08 AM ]


Lǐ Chūn—

The concert this evening was very nice. My brother was on the stage for about a minute, too! It was perfect, simply perfect. Although the environment here was very strange to me, it was just another part of life.

"Chūn, dinner's ready."

Uncle Tàwan called me, in English, from downstairs. The dinner was a simple cooked Thai food bought from the market. Not a very good meal, but good enough for surviving a day. And because the food was not frozen, they had to be consumed within a few hours.

"I think I better cook myself later," Kev was disappointed, as usual.

"You can cook?" I was surprised. "Kev, you have to do it next time!"

"Yes, Chūn, he can cook... mostly instant noodle."

"Bà! I always have fresh meat and veggie in the fridge and those fresh things are much better than your pre-cooked Thai market food."

"Huh... children these days... can't have Thai food anymore." Uncle sighed. "Thai culture is now on the cliff, ready to fall and extinct on any day."

"That's good, let's start the new world with no Thai culture."

"But, Kev, I don't think Thai culture is that bad," said I.

Kev turned to me, "Chūn, you have not yet got diarrhea... once you have, you'll surely deny having Thai market food." I slowly learned how he ate, all chilis are separated.

"Well, I just realized that you call Gāo Wén 'Kev' already," asked Uncle Tàwan.

It started a few days ago when I asked Min for Gāo Wén and he did not recognize. "Because everyone calls him Kev at the school."

"I see..."

Our conversation continued in English since Tàwan's Chinese communication skills had been worsened since he came back from Taiwan after the divorce due to the lack of use. After the dinner, Kev locked himself in the bedroom right away, so I had to follow him inside or sleep in the living room. He was working on his Mathematics assignments.

"I saw you had an argument with some of the teachers, especially that Thai language teacher. And I also heard Chānchai said that you would be much better off if you were American." I started the conversation. "You really hate this place, right?"

"Chūn, you have to observe a little bit longer and see how the adults actually think we are. They violate human rights every single day because most of them never think that we are human."

I was silent.

"How can I stay in the place where they think I'm their 'object'?"

"I see." This was the only thing that I could say.

"Done! I'm going to take a shower." He threw his textbook back into the school bag on the floor before leaving for the bathroom.

Ten minutes later, he came back with nothing on his body. I saw that the corridor outside was dark, maybe Uncle Tàwan already went to bed. Kev picked his boxer shorts from a wardrobe to wear for the night.

"Your turn," said Kev.

Only one bedside table lamp was turned on when I came back from a shower. Kev was reading a book on his bed. I lay down beside him.

"我真的喜歡你歌。(wǒ zhēn de xǐhuān nǐ gē.)"

"WHAT!?!?" Kev was shocked and jumped out of the bed.

"我說- 你的歌。" It was my bad. When I was saying that I really like his song, I omitted the word 的 and he thought that I meant: I really like you, brother. "Your songs... you're talented."[1]

"你說- 你真的喜歡我的歌?(you said: nǐ zhēn de xǐhuān wǒ 'de' gē?)"


"It's time to sleep, dì[2]!"

He turned off the bedside lamp. Now, only the ambient light from the window was the only source of light, I could not do anything.

Kevin Chen was a young and smart guy who, if grew up in the developed country, must be able to show many more talents, such like his lyric composing skills, linguistic skills (clearly Thailand never supported students to speak foreign languages, although they taught English, Chinese, French, and Japanese in many high schools, but students who use these languages in their daily life could be rejected from the society and become the so-called mā̌-hū̌a-nâo[3]), and maybe computer skills.

Only a few days here, I could see so many things. The school did not want students to think. No one asked questions in classes. It was an old-fashioned one-way education that had been thrown away in my international high-school back in Taiwan for a very long time already.

"我在這裡你難過嗎?(Are you ok that I'm here?)" I asked him after a while.

"你什麼都不知道嗎?因為你是我弟了我高興。(Do you really know nothing? Because you are now my brother, I'm more than happy.)"


[1] The words "song" and "older brother" in Chinese are the same , but written differently: 歌 and 哥 respectively. That was the reason why Kev thought 我真的喜歡你(的)歌。 was 我真的喜歡你,哥. The word 的 (de) indicates the ownership and can be omitted.

[2] In Chinese, the older and younger brothers are called differently. Gē (哥) means the older, and dì (弟) means the younger.

[3] Mā̌-hū̌a-nâo (หมาหัวเน่า) is used to call the person who is rejected from the society.

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