99 | Unyielding

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If there is one thing I am unequivocally proud of, it would be, without doubt, the women in my heritage.

I come from a family of incredibly strong women – women who both held day jobs and ran the household. 女人一手顶天下; the women held up the sky with just one hand. All of them were fiercely independent – even too independent for their own good. They never caved in, never gave out. They always did what they had to for their family, and career came next. (I might be the first to reverse this trend, we’ll never know) They protected the ones they loved with their lives, no matter if it was a dangerous moment or a lifetime of shielding their children from harm. They love deeply, hurt greatly, and are stronger than anyone else I’ve known.

My great-grandmother managed to tame a household of 13 children, and was a staunch Buddhist because my grandfather was well-known to be a really wild boy. My grandmother went out to buy groceries during the Japanese Occupation, and is also very proud of the fact that she once swept her teacher out of her house with a broom. She first brought her sisters up, then my uncle and mother, working multiple jobs to make ends meet. Despite being very poor, she made sure they had the nutrition, education and character they needed to be valuable members of society. She also took care of countless other children and loved them as her own. My mother, once she gave birth to me, gave up her entire youth – all her dreams and promotions – just to bring me up. She loves old folks and children with the same unrelenting love. And if anyone even thinks of trifling with me, they ought to be ready to withstand my mother’s full wrath first. Tried and tested. My grandaunts, one a teacher and the other a nurse, played an integral part in bringing up all the children despite having none of their own. They now keep the family home, and are both expert gardeners and grandmothers.

All of them are such phenomenal, formidable, indestructible women, and I am so proud to be counted in their midst. I only hope I can be half of the women they are.

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