Who is the strongest of them all?

old woman doing makeup in room
Who is the strongest of them all? (Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com)
 Who is the strongest of them all?
 Mirror, mirror on the wall,
 who is the strongest of them all?
 A figure so tiny, so frail,
but she's a matriarch behind a veil. 

Besides a man so strong and tall,
is a woman who takes over when he falls.
When the family is cracking and breaking,
 that maternal glue is in the making.

See the dame running the family millstone?
The comforting bosom that belies a financial backbone?
So, mirror, mirror on the wall
who indeed, is the strongest of them all?


“You’ve got to stay strong to be strong in tough times.” 
– Tilman J. Fertitta

“Sometimes you don’t realize your own strength until you come 
face to face with your greatest weakness.” – Susan Gale


Ironically, In This Vastness Of Land

Ironically, In This Vastness Of Land

This is a poem, titled after a hand-painted bowl which was created by the author, a few years ago. Whereas , the poem is inspired by the many tragic news of perished immigrants on rough seas. They were trying to reach a better-land in this, ironically, vastness of land on mother earth.

In this vastness of land
“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.”
― Leonardo da Vinci
 In this vastness of land
 stretching and circling this bowl
 round and round, but, to no end!
 From the bowl’s interior
 radiates that phosphorescent glow
 a beckoning promise, almost superior!
 Across the wide seas and oceans
 breaking families, risking lives
 to find that elusive ‘greener grass’ notions!
 On rough waters,  human lives
 inhumanly packed in over-crowded sea vessels
 clutching desperately to partners and wives.
 “I see the land, I see the land!”
 But it was, many a times,  an illusion
 to touch beaches, to kiss the sand.
 Can you see the land,
 a better-land? 
 Will freedom be your stand
 in this vastness of land?
                               -Chen Song Ping @ TPTan, 18 Jan 2021- 

“Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.”
― Franklin D. Roosevelt

“What has happened to us in this country? If we study our own history, we find that we have always been ready to receive the unfortunate from other countries, and though this may seem a generous gesture on our part, we have profited a thousand fold by what they have brought us.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt

woman in white long sleeve shirt holding brown wooden stick
Sing a song of freedom (Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com)


The following poem is about music as a plausible and healing therapy. Especially for those incarcerated in mental hospitals, prisons, or immigrant centers. A notable concept is Making music, healing souls including Sing Your Heart Out (SYHO),and Finding sanity through songs.

 Sing a song of freedom
 Sing a song of freedom
 breaking through four walls
 is a light; a beacon
 In immigration detentions 
 prison or hospitals 
 do buoy up musical extensions
 Rehearse a song 
 for sanity sake
 all day long.
 Sing your heart out (SYHO)
 as loud as you want 
 even if you carry no clout.
 Adopting therapy in music 
 as a tool for recovery
 Keeping minds clear; lucid
 So, do sing a song of freedom
 finding sanity through songs
 to free the mind of demons
 for one with no intent of treason.
                        Chen Song Ping, 18 Jan 2021 

God is fair: He gives some, He takes some

God is fair: He gives some, He takes some.


That was Mary’s answer, as to why she runs an orphanage. It was a second Christian home that Anna had stepped into.

Why she ran an orphanage home

“I looked after His lost lambs here. Some lost their parents. And some are here during the day only. Their single parents need to work.”

“When I am not around one day, I know that God will have someone to help my older son looks after his younger and mentally- challenged brother,” Mary explained. “I have one bright and successful son, and a differently-abled son.


So you see? God is fair,” (nodding her head absent-mindedly into the air), “He gives some, and he takes some!”

God is fair
God is fair (Photo by Binti Malu on Pexels.com)

On the contrary;

“Life is not fair; get used to it.” –Bill Gates

“Who says life is fair, where is that written?”
― William GoldmanThe Princess Bride

Tuhan itu adil: Dia memberi sebahagian dan Dia mengambil sebahagian.

Itu adalah jawapan Mary, mengapa dia menguruskan rumah anak yatim. Itu adalah rumah kristiani kedua yang Anna masuki. “Saya menjaga anak-anak -Nya di sini. Ada yang kehilangan ibu bapa mereka. Dan ada berada di sini hanya pada waktu siang kerana ibu bapa tunggal mereka perlu bekerja. Apabila saya tidak berada pada suatu hari, Saya tahu bahawa Tuhan akan mengaturkan seseorang untuk menolong anak saya yang lebih tua menjaga adiknya yang terencak akal, ”jelas Mary. “Saya mempunyai seorang anak lelaki yang cemerlang dan berjaya, dan anak lelaki yang berbeza keupayaannya. Jadi anda lihat? Tuhan itu adil, (menganggukkan kepalanya). Dia memberikan beberapa, dan dia mengambil beberapa! “


“Hidup ini tidak adil; membiasakan diri.” – Bill Gates

“Siapa bilang hidup itu adil, di mana itu ditulis?” – William Goldman, Pengantin Puteri


这就是玛丽为什么要经营孤儿院的答案。 这是安娜进入的第二个基督教家庭。 “我在这里照顾他失落的羔羊。 一些人失去了父母。 有些只在白天 因为他们的单亲父母需要工作。  我知道上帝会有一个人  帮助我的大儿子照顾  他的弟弟和精神上受到挑战的兄弟。”玛丽解释道。    “我有一个聪明而成功的儿子,和一个异类的儿子。 所以你看?上帝是公平的, (不专心地向空中点头)。 他给了一些,他给了一些!”


“生活不公平;要适应它。” -比尔盖茨

―威廉·高德曼(William Goldman),《公主新娘》


How the differently-abled bake buns.

How the differently-abled bake buns.

(Terjemahan Bahasa Melayu di bawah/中文翻译如下)


Anna watched from a near distance to the kitchen. There were two groups. May, Lionel, Tom and Kenneth were in team one.

How they make and bake buns.

“Alright, now weigh 500 gram of flour!” came the instruction. May stepped forwards and was scooping into the container of flour.

“No, I do first. I am the team leader! intercepted Lionel.

Smack! Lionel was stunned; the right side of his face, whitened with flour.

Tom grasped Lionel’s right hand towards May’s face. Both Tom and May are non-verbal.

Lionel held back his hand and his tears, “no, mummy said, ‘boy cannot hit girl!'”

May threw the scoop angrily on the table. Lionel took over.

“One… two… three…four hundred,” Lionel looked at his team-mates, hesitatingly, “should I take away some?” and was returning the scooped flour to the container. (Lionel’s mum later told Anna about Lionel’s difficulties and mixing-ups with numbers).

Kenneth stopped his hand midway, and guided that flour back into the bowl on the scale, and another spoon, ” … there! 500 gram!”

He clapped away the flour on his hands and stood behind them again; seemingly unfocused.

baked baking chef dough
How these differently-abled bake hot-dog buns. (Photo by Malidate Van on Pexels.com)

His team-mates looked up at him now, with new admiration!

After mixing all the ingredients in the electric mixing-bowl, the dough was divided into four.

“You are going to do your own hot-dog buns. Divide your dough into smaller balls like this…” the chef teacher showed them and shoved the smoothened ball under a big enamel bowl. All of them were attentive, except Kenneth.

“Kenneth, Kenneth, your turn!” Lionel went to call him in, from the garden in front of the kitchen. Lionel showed and guided Kenneth on how to divide and roll the dough.

Later, while waiting for the baked hot-dog buns to cool down, it was washing-up time!

“Kenneth, your trays are not clean! Wash again, see, here?” Lionel put the trays back into the huge sink. He was a good team- leader. His mum told Anna that Lionel wanted to work in a bakery shop one day.

While waiting for their children, Anna met up with the other mothers, admiring their patience and persistence in driving their autistic children for the classes the last three years.


Baking lessons were part of Kenneth’s rehabilitation and socializing activities for one and a half year. But, Anna knew that Kenneth would make a better food connoisseur than a bakery chef!

Chen Song Ping, 12 January 2021

Bahasa Melayu Google translation:

Bagaimana orang berbeza keupayaan membakar roti ‘bun’

Anna menonton dari jarak yang dekat ke dapur. Terdapat dua kumpulan. Mei, Lionel, Tom dan Kenneth berada dalam satu pasukan. “Baiklah, sekarang seberat 500 gram tepung!” datang arahan itu. May melangkah ke hadapan dan mencedok ke dalam bekas tepung. “Tidak, saya buat dulu. Saya ketua pasukan!” dipintas Lionel. May menampar muka Lionel. May melemparkan suaka dengan marah di atas meja. Lionel mengambil alih.

“Satu… Dua… Tiga… empat ratus,” Lionel melihat rakan sepasukannya, teragak-agak, “harus saya mengambil beberapa?” dan mengembalikan tepung yang dicekup ke bekas. (Ibu Lionel kemudian memberitahu Anna tentang kesukaran dan pencampuran Lionel dengan nombor).

Kenneth menghentikan pertengahan tangannya, dan membimbing bahawa tepung kembali ke dalam mangkuk pada skala, dan satu lagi sudu, ” di sana! 500 gram!” Dia menepuk tepung di tangannya dan berdiri di belakang mereka lagi. Rakan sepasukannya memandang ke atasnya sekarang, dengan kekaguman baru!

Selepas mencampurkan semua bahan-bahan dalam mangkuk pencampuran elektrik, adunan dibahagikan kepada empat. “Anda akan melakukan roti ‘bun’ anda sendiri. Bahagikan adunan anda ke dalam bola yang lebih kecil seperti ini …” guru tukang masak menunjukkan mereka dan menembak bola licin di bawah mangkuk enamel besar. Kesemua mereka mendapat perhatian, kecuali Kenneth.

“Kenneth, Kenneth, giliran anda!” Lionel pergi memanggilnya, dari taman di hadapan dapur.

Kemudian, sementara menunggu buns roti yang dibakar untuk menyejukkan, ia adalah masa mencuci! “Kenneth, dulang anda tidak bersih! Basuh lagi, lihat, di sini?” Lionel meletakkan dulang kembali ke dalam sinki besar. Beliau adalah seorang pemimpin pasukan yang baik. Ibunya memberitahu Anna bahawa Lionel mahu bekerja di kedai roti suatu hari nanti. Sementara menunggu anak-anak mereka, Anna bertemu dengan ibu-ibu yang lain, mengagumi kesabaran dan kegigihan mereka dalam memandu anak-anak autistik mereka untuk kelas tiga tahun yang lalu.

Kelas membuat roti adalah sebahagian daripada aktiviti pemulihan dan sosialisasi Kenneth selama satu setengah tahun. Tetapi, Anna tahu bahawa Kenneth akan membuat makanan yang lebih baik connoisseur daripada tukang masak roti!


安娜从近的距离看着厨房。有两组。梅,莱昂内尔,汤姆和肯尼思在第一队。 “好吧,现在重500克面粉!梅走上前去,正铲进面粉的容器里。 “不,我先做。我是队长!她拍打莱昂内尔的脸. 梅愤怒地把勺子扔在桌子上。莱昂内尔接手了.

“一…二。。。 三。。。四百,”莱昂内尔犹豫地看着他的队友,”我应该拿走一些吗?(莱昂内尔的妈妈后来告诉安娜莱昂内尔的困难和混合与数字)。

肯尼思中途停下了手,把面粉引导回碗里,又用勺子,”……那里!500克!他拍了拍手上的面粉, 又站在他们身后. 他的队友们现在抬头看着他,带着新的敬佩!混合电混合碗中的所有成分后,面团被分成四个。



后来,在等待烤面包包子降温的时候,是洗净的时候! “肯尼斯,你的托盘不干净!再次洗,看,在这里?莱昂内尔把托盘放回大水槽里。他是一个很好的团队领导。他妈妈告诉安娜莱昂内尔有一天想在一家面包店工作。




Keeping a promise

Keeping a promise.

I woke up one morning,

to find him

waiting outside my door.

boy sitting on stairs holding book
Keeping a promise. (Photo by Victoria Borodinova on Pexels.com)

“Are you ready?”

“Ready for what?”

“You promised,

to take me out for breakfast today!”

He never forgets!

Never make one with him.

I kept forgetting!

He won’t accept a ‘no’.

So I dragged myself out reluctantly

to a ‘get set’ and ‘go’!

Another day began,

keeping in pace with him!

An aging carer ponders;

‘my mind wants,

as I used to,

but, will my body will it

in years to come?’

I must remember

not to over-promise

to avoid disappointing him.

Differently-abled person(s)

may have different thresholds

to contain disappointment.

“Don’t make promises you don’t intend to keep.” — Anonymous


Killing only two birds with one stone?

Killing only two birds with one stone? It challenges one to think if one can achieve more than the common idiom below.

Killing only two birds with one stone?

‘Killing two birds with one stone’ means achieving two things at the same time. But it doesn’t have to stop at two! For example:-

During the earlier phase of his mental illness, Anna used to send Kenneth for pottery and clay-works. There were at least five ‘birds’ to kill with that one activity in mind. They are;-

  1. It was therapeutic, functionally, for Kenneth to wedge (or knead) and to create the clay pieces manually. He shaped bowls on the pottery wheel, He glazed the clay products. And of course, he would proudly look at his finished, fired, shiny, and at times, unevenly shaped products!
  2. Kenneth got to socialize and communicate with people, whom he rarely talked to. [And there was a non-verbal autistic girl. Occasional glances and gestures did the ‘talking’!]
  3. The activities kept him focused on the present moments. They were to dissuade him from thinking and talking to himself.
  4. Although it was a messy task supervising Kenneth in the clay works, it was their handy touches that mattered!
  5. Being an artist herself, Anna was also learning a new hobby! The sculpted lady [inset] is one of the results. This hobby brings Anna much joy.


Pantun Kanser Payudara

Pantun Kanser Payudara

A Woman First‘ dengan berbesar hati menyambut penulis undangan. Beliau ialah Dato ’Dr. Ziaudin Ahamed Bin Abdul Kareem, seorang Pengamal Perubatan Paliatif.

Pantun Kanser Payudara

Read by: Zurainawaty A Rahman, PNC, Gp 2/92

A Woman First‘ is pleased to welcome a guest writer. He is Dato’ Dr. Ziaudin Ahamed Bin Abdul Kareem, an advocate for Quality of Life. ‘Pantun Kanser Payudara’ means a poetry about breast cancer.

“女人优先”很高兴欢迎特邀作家。他是拿督的Ziaudin Ahamed Bin Abdul Kareem博士,生活质量的倡导者。 “ Pantun Kanser Payudara”是一首关于乳腺癌的诗。

The above poem can be summarised as /Puisi di atas dapat diringkaskan sebagai:/以上诗可概括为


How high is one’s self-esteem?

Self-esteem comes from being able to define the world in your own terms and refusing to abide by the judgments of others. ― Oprah Winfrey

How high is one’s self-esteem? Here are some examples of young people with high confidence and self-esteem. What others think does not matter!

  1. Kavievanan and his masala tea business [see above] It was sensational news when jobless graduate engineer, Kavievanan Subramaniam, 23, took to the road on bicycle to sell masala tea. He becomes an instant businessman, his own boss! Mr. Kavievanan became a role model for many young people to emulate, especially during this trying COVID-19 period. This is an example of a person with high self-esteem. Never mind what others think. As long as he is making an honest living! Congratulations!
  2. Michael Tee and his bagful of goodies! “Michael lugged a bagful of calculators, pens, and toys. He went from table to table at the restaurants.” “Why can’t you just sit at home and wait for your A-level result?” “I enjoyed doing this. Many aunties bought from me. They must have pitied me!” Michael grinned cheekily. He flopped onto his bed and was soon fast asleep! So high was his self-esteem then. He ignored what others think about him selling items table to table openly. That was quite an experience while waiting his result and entry to tertiary education!
  3. Tommy Lam, his free chemistry book, and a washing machine Tommy approached the stationary shopkeeper. “If I buy thirty books from you, can I get one free?” And he did [RM400 per book]! Next he bought a washing machine and shared the price with other course mates who stayed in the same house they rented. When they graduated from that university, the machine was sold to the next lot of housemates! Good self-esteem, very enterprising, too!


Kenneth in Japan

‘Kenneth in Japan’ is a tri-lingual video about how people reacted towards the odd behaviors of a person with mental disorder in a Shinkansen bullet train. This vignette tells about communication and cultural challenges and handling an oculogyric crisis.


A White Lie- about an ostomy

A White Lie- about an ostomy


Don’t tell lies, ever. No matter what – not even little white lies.Margaret Keane-mom

depicting the scene
Mr Ponusamy and daughter with a patient

(Bahasa Malaysia translation

(中文 Chinese translation)


Mr. Ponusamy was accompanied by his daughter

to see a stomaltherapist.

Although the care of his stoma

and the skin around it was excellent,

he made many complaints about them

It must have been difficult for him to accept

having a bag on his tummy to collect his faeces.


The surgeon would not reconnect his intestines

nor close the stoma as proposed  six months earlier.

“They said that it was a barium sulphate blockage in my colon.

But it has been removed already. They should be able to re-attach

the intestines and close this ‘thing’, this stoma,

so I can defecate naturally from my anus!

But they cannot give me a good reason

on why they won’t operate to revert my condition!”


The daughter called the stomaltherapist aside.

“All his children agreed and told the surgeon

not to tell him that he has cancer of the colon.

He is 88 years old and had two heart operations before! 

We are afraid that he may have another attack!”


“I’m retired, but I’m a well-read man. 

My fatigue or feeling tired all the times;

alternating bowel habits of diarrhoea and constipation;

sudden weight loss; blood in my stools;

all point out the signs and symptoms of cancer, aren’t they?”


“…you have just said it, yourself!

This is the report of your biopsy.

Yes, it’s true… “


Mr. Ponusamy kept quiet.

The two ladies glanced at each other, worriedly.

“Do keep an eye on your father at home!

Call me or your surgeon whenever necessary!”


During the following months,

Mr. Ponusamy would drop by the ward

whenever there were patients scheduled for ostomy surgeries.

His daughter would standby dutifully, from a distant,

as her father went on to explain systematically to a new patient

about how to care for a stoma.


We found a prolific speaker in him, too.

Mr. Ponusamy shared his experiences

at seminars for healthcare professionals

and patients with intestinal cancer and stomas.

“I have a successful career, loving children and grandchildren.

But, I would be happier if I was told the truth from the beginning

so that I can make plans and do the best I can, with the time I have left.”


A white lie, no matter how well intended it was meant to be,

should one tell or not tell, a white lie?


– Serena Chen S.P. @ TPTan –

26, October 2020


Fitting mental chips into a societal block

This is a cartoon illustrated video.

Do click Fitting mental chips into a societal block” [English]

Fitting mental chips into a societal block
Happy he got a seat for mum!
Mental illness , an unseen handicap?
Zac Chang, the pianist
‘Locked them up at home:
Human rights violation!
Societal acceptance, vital

‘Fitting mental chips into a societal block’ is about a mother taking her son for an outing, despite his odd behaviours, which are the side -effects of his medications, when he first started on medications. This video hopes to increase awareness of people with mental illness , the side -effects of antipsychotic medications, and the resulting behaviours.

Google translation – Pemasangan cip mental kepada blok masyarakat” 点击“将心理筹码纳入社会障碍”

‘Pemasanagan cip mental ke dalam blok sosialadalah tentang seorang ibu yang membawa anaknya pergi bersiar-siar, walaupun tingkah lakunya yang aneh, yang merupakan kesan sampingan dari ubatnya, ketika dia pertama kali menggunakan ubat. Video ini diharapkan dapat meningkatkan kesedaran orang yang menderita penyakit mental, kesan sampingan ubat antipsikotik, dan tingkah laku yang dihasilkan.

Google translation – “点击“将心理筹码纳入社会障碍”



Stress and Breast Cancer

… and a Pandora box, that doctors may be reluctant to open.

Kenneth in Japan

‘Kenneth in Japan’ is a tri-lingual video about how people reacted towards the odd behaviors of a person with mental disorder in a Shinkansen bullet train. This vignette tells about communication and cultural challenges and handling an oculogyric crisis.

Those absent- please put up your hands!

please put up your hands! ( Fish sculpture on lid cover by author)

See below for Google translation for Malay (lihat di bawah untuk bahasa melayu) and Chinese (看到下面的中文)

Everybody here? Those absent- please put up your hands! So, if you are present, would you agree on behalf for those who have left [past] and those who have yet to arrive [future]? In presentism, present-day rules. Not the past, not the future.

Many names of roads during colonial times have been renamed to VIPs of today. That part of history and story about those locations is therefore, lost.

‘Pa, you always say that during your time, you used to have ten cent daily pocket money! What can ten cents buy, today?’

‘We used to manage these workloads with half the work force! You don’t need extra staff!’ opined a senior nurse manager. Yea, but today, we manage patients, machines, and lots and lots of defensive documentations! However, the future may changed when we start to get more robots instead of nurses!

Don’t compare why things done then, cannot be done now, and vice versa. Each period has its own weaknesses and strengths, and it’s own challenges. Yet the true challenge is when a veteran or baby boomer, used to chalk and black board, now has to meld into current technology and computer age! One can’t help but to compare and contrast differences!

Lihat di bawah untuk bahasa melayu) and Chinese (看到下面的中文)

Semua orang di sini? Mereka yang tidak hadir, tolong angkat tangan! Dalam presentism, peraturan masa kini. Bukan masa lalu, bukan masa depan.

Banyak nama jalan pada zaman penjajahan telah diubah namanya menjadi VIP hari ini. Oleh itu, bahagian sejarah dan kisah mengenai lokasi tersebut hilang. Oleh itu, jika anda hadir, adakah anda akan mengundi?

Pa, anda selalu mengatakan bahawa selama ini, anda mempunyai wang saku sepuluh sen setiap hari! Apa yang boleh dibeli sepuluh sen hari ini? ‘

“Kami biasa menguruskan beban kerja ini dengan separuh tenaga kerja! Anda tidak memerlukan kakitangan tambahan! ‘ berpendapat seorang pengurus jururawat kanan. Ya, tapi hari ini, kita menguruskan pesakit, mesin, dan banyak dan banyak dokumentasi pertahanan! Namun, masa depan mungkin berubah apabila kita mula mendapatkan lebih banyak robot dan bukannya jururawat!

Jangan bandingkan mengapa perkara yang dilakukan ketika itu, tidak dapat dilakukan sekarang, dan sebaliknya. Setiap tempoh mempunyai kelemahan dan kekuatan tersendiri, dan cabarannya sendiri. Namun, cabaran sebenarnya adalah ketika seorang veteran atau ‘ baby boomer’ yang biasa menggunakan kapur dan papan hitam, kini harus menyatu dengan zaman teknologi dan komputer semasa! Seseorang tidak dapat mengawal dan sentiasa ingin membandingkan dan membezakan perbezaan kehidupan antara generasi!

大家在这里吗?那些缺席的请举起手来! 在表现主义中,当今的规则。不是过去,不是未来。

殖民时期的许多道路名称已重命名为今天的VIP。因此,关于那些位置的那部分历史和故事就丢失了。 此,如果您在场,您会代表投票吗?

爸爸,你总是说,在你的时间里,你每天只有十美分的零用钱! 今天十美分能买到什么?


不要比较为什么现在要做的事情现在不能​​完成,反之亦然。 每个时期都有自己的弱点和优势,也都有自己的挑战。 然而,真正的挑战是当曾经用粉笔和黑板擦洗的老兵或“baby boomer’ 现在必须融入当前的技术和计算机时代时! 忍不住比较和对比生活差异!

Postscript: She is up there now…

Post script : She is up there now, twinkling from above!

This is a postscript to;

Postscript: She is up there now…

Wen Li was such a perceptive little being!

If one thinks talking to children about the birds and bees would be difficult, this one about ‘living and dying’ is another challenging one!

“My mother never taught me about this, nor did my school!” Li Na thought to herself.

Perhaps, that’s why stories always had it this way, “… she has gone to heaven, and angels are looking after her now. Look at the stars! She is up there now, twinkling from above!”

“She is now an angel. Put your hands together, and say hello!”

Wen Li closed her eyes and her hands together, “May you be happy up there!”

A penny for your thought?

adorable little girl in beret looking out window
A Penny for Your Thought. (Photo by Ksenia Chernaya on Pexels.com)

A penny for your thought?

The kids were playing on the road, in front of their terraced houses and stepping aside each time for oncoming cars returning home from work.

A girl, Wen Li, noticed an old lady neighbor lying on the floor of her car porch. “Popo*, why are you lying on the floor?” as popo’s hands weakly beckoned her.

“Mom, mom, popo is lying on the floor and unable to move!” Her mother, Li Na tried to open the gate while some kids had already climbed over to see her. Just then, the old lady’s children arrived home from work. She was sent to hospital that evening… but never returned.

A month later, was Wen Li’s birthday. After singing and blowing her birthday cake, she sat pensively, looking out of the window. Li Na noticed and went to her, “a penny for your thought?”

Her lower lip jutted out, “I don’t want any more birthdays.”


“Because, when I grow older by one year, mom and dad will grow older one year, too. When we grow older every year, my own granny will grow older, too. And she will die!”

Caught unaware on how to answer, Li Na pulled her close and hugged her.

*Popo  means old lady or granny in Chinese.

Chen S.P. @T.P. Tan, 2 Jan 2021

The face that was

white rose on womans face ceramic figurine
The face that was . (Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com)

The face that was,

is one’s identity.

It’s about one’s privacy.

‘Cos linked to one’s face,

are other faces and identities

by relation, by kinship,

especially in mental illnesses, breast cancer, Covid-19, HIV.

“Can it spread ?” “Don’t play with them, their mum works in a hospital!”

Contagion by genes, by marriage, by touch, as society defines.

Health education is an ongoing necessity; a continual challenge.

Chen Song Ping,

31 Dec 2020

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