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  • I'm pretty sure this is the only family photo that we have, 10 of us being all together. I only knew of the existence of this photo just 3 years ago.

    I was pretty touched when I saw it -- my second sister found this old tattered picture and got it professionally restored.

    Mum and dad have 8 children. To be precise, there were 9. One little boy died when he was about 5 years old.

    I was told he died of leukaemia.

    Mum has no education and she never understands big words. Leukaemia is a big word. Mum sometimes says the boy was healthy and adorable, but out of the blue he became very ill.

    “He had a very big tummy, you know. Very ill, his tummy very big. Swollen. And he died.”

    “Doctors pumped a lot of blood into his body, but the blood disappeared. There was no red blood. Not sure where his red blood had gone. Very strange." Mum told me last summer.

    I think I understood what mum was trying to say.

    In those days, it was very common that parents lost children. Many families seemed to have stories of loss.

    It was more so tragic for a Chinese family to lose a little boy, as boys were more precious.

    Girls are, after all, “like water being poured away” when they get married one day.

    Mum continued to have babies, as dad wanted more boys.

    “There were too many girls in the house.”

    Then I was born, the youngest of 9.
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