The Story of My Mother

I am a mommy’s girl. I don’t usually like to admit this because it makes me seem weak. I don’t really know how to explain this. Whatever my mom says, even the most unreasonable or ridiculous statement, my mind almost automatically tends to agree and says yes. Maybe that is the magic parents have over their children, especially Asian kids. It’s especially true for me.

My mom is an extraordinary woman and also the most important woman in my life. She is the most fascinating woman I have ever known. Writing about her is new territory for me. For the longest time, I did not want to admit her power over me. In actuality, she does have a big impact on my life. In many ways, writing about her makes me understand myself even better.

My mom’s name is Yeung Ching Nei. ‘Ching’ stands for green & lime color. ‘Nei’ stands for a beautiful girl. Yeung, is my mom’s last name which is also my last name if you haven’t noticed already. My mom was born in 1946 in a small village called ‘May Chien’ in southern China. She is the second oldest child in the family. She has one older sister, two younger brothers and a younger sister. Her older sister, Annie, is about nine years older. When my mom had just turned 10, Annie left home and started working in the city. My mom immediately became the big sister in the house. She took care of business, all of her younger siblings, as well as the house work and the cooking. I remember seeing pictures of my mom in family portraits.  One had her crying with a frown on her face. Some showed her facial expressions full of anger and dissatisfaction. It was priceless. My mom said she was fighting for her younger brother because he just got beaten up. She could become a bully for a cause. J

My grandfather moved the entire family to Beijing when my mom was 14. My grandfather was an army general during World War II. I guess my grandfather thought it would be better for the family to live in the capital city. My mom spent her teenage years in Beijing. She had a beautiful voice and became quite famous during her high school years because of her talent for singing. I think she really enjoyed those times because her eyes shine whenever she talks about her past performances.

When my mom turned 18, she was accepted to the Central Music Academy in Beijing, which was the best music institute in China. This was the same time that the Cultural Revolution broke out. For those of you who don’t know, the Cultural Revolution was a 10 year movement in China when Mao did *not* want any intelligent people (professors, doctors and business people) to have any opportunities to learn or to prosper. The impact on my mom was that instead of becoming the next big star singer in China, she ended up moving by herself to a small Chinese village in the north to do farm work and to teach math to children. Her dreams of becoming a professional singer were shattered.

My mom stayed in that cold part of country until her late twenties when her application for moving to Hong Kong was approved. She told me she still remembers her first impression of Hong Kong. There were so many chickens available to eat and it was fascinating to her. There was no meat where she had been in northern China. In my mom’s eyes, Hong Kong was land not only full of opportunities, but also full of many chickens.

After 35 years living in the city of many chickens and opportunities, my mom no longer starves for meat. She has adapted and become part of the 7 million people, hustle and bustle, that makes up Hong Kong.  Underlying it all, are values of financial security. Getting money. Getting good grades. Getting a good job. Having security. Having a stable life style.

The more I think about this, there is no way my mom wanted to settle for just a life of security and a boring life style. I know deep down, she remembers the Ching Nei on stage singing in front of a large audience in China. People clapping for her, and giving her a standing ovation full of enthusiasm and appreciation. She longed for that public recognition. That was and is her dream.

It is absolutely funny that now her daughter is making her own dreams come true. Even though I am not going to tell my mom about or my speaking career right at this moment. I know that deep down she will be proud. I am not telling her only because I don’t want her fear of failure get into my way.

Mom I wish you could know. I am not doing this only for me or only for those who will listen to what I have to say. I am doing it for the both of us, you and me.

Just wait Mom. You will see.

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11 Responses to “The Story of My Mother”

  1. Stew on 28 Apr 2007 at 12:19 pm

    Very touching. I wish you extra-extraordinary success!

  2. on 20 May 2007 at 5:42 am

    Good luck with your dreams. I’m sure you’ll make her proud whatever you choose to do with your life.

  3. ThePodcastSisters on 25 May 2007 at 1:38 am

    Showcase of Female Talent…

    Each month we will hold a carnival of blogs written by women as a way of promoting their work. Here is the first edition and if you want to join in next month then follow the link at the bottom…

  4. on 06 Sep 2007 at 10:21 am

    This is fascinating! Kudos to you for following your dreams! Thanks for joining the Mothers and Daughters Blog Carniaval!

  5. on 09 Sep 2007 at 6:43 pm

    An incredible story - I am so glad you shared it. I have a hunch your mom would be proud of you, if she could know what you have accomplished. She sounds like an amazing woman… who incidentally raised an amazing daughter.

  6. on 10 Sep 2007 at 4:28 pm

    There is a lot of talent in your family. You share a great story in your mom’s backgrounds and your dreams. You will be a great success and I know your mom is and will be very proud!

  7. on 11 Sep 2007 at 3:28 pm

    Your talent is, I am sure, a credit to your mother. This was a wonderful look into her life and you did a great job honoring her.

  8. on 11 Sep 2007 at 8:21 pm

    What a fascinating story! I wish you the best, and I know your mom must be so proud of you, even if she doesn’t know about your career yet!

  9. on 29 Mar 2008 at 10:38 pm

    Thanks for contributing this post to this week’s , hosted at Intensive Care for the Nurturer’s Soul! The Carnival will be live on March 31, 2008, so make sure you stop by and check out all of the other wonderful posts included in this week’s edition!


  10. on 01 Apr 2008 at 12:33 am

    [...] presents The Story of My Mother posted at Edith Yeung.Com: Dream. Think. [...]

  11. on 23 Jan 2009 at 5:34 pm

    Edith - I did not know this. A touching story and very well-written.


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