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  • Like a bridge over troubled water
    I will lay me down
    ....................................Simon & Garfunkel

    I saw the flowing water. And I saw it suspended there, a river crossing. Just a minute, I said. I walked straight onto the suspension bridge. It was slung over and not high above the river in an area called Limbanak. It is historic educationally in that the first catholic school was built there in 1910 by Fr August Wachter. I had never been there before.

    The bridge swayed under me but this time I did not hold on to it or make my way fearfully as I tend to when crossing a suspension bridge. I think the heaviness in my heart weighed me down. Divorce. What was that twice-divorced Cocia had said to me? "No one gets married to get divorced."

    The centre of gravity within me must have swayed with the suspension bridge for I made my way to the middle of its length as if I had crossed this bridge innumerable times. There I stopped. I looked at the river for a long moment.

    Satisfied within the core of my being, I walked back.

    a zodiac after

    I go to my Aunt Beatrice's house and find her about to pray. A candle stands lit.

    She is the matriarch of the family now. Everyone older has died. Uncle Raymond used to tease me, "You are pure Chinese." Ask your To-Koo-Ying, he said. Somehow I never did, and Uncle Raymond himself is now gone. I ask Aunt Beatrice. She tells me.

    Great-Grandfather Lee Toh Siong, Aunt Beatrice calls him Ih Toh Hiong ("Ih" means something like "the one named" or as "Brer" in Brer Rabbit, in other words, the person we mean who is not present right here with us as we speak). Who is not the one, as I thought, who came off the boat from China. It is Great-Great-Grandfather Lee. Who married the mother of Great-Grandfather Lee Toh Siong. She was a Kadayan. (Kadayan, that is the dialect my Aunt Beatrice - I have two Aunts Beatrice - speaks. It is commonly spelled and pronounced Kadazan. However Kadazan is actually another dialect. There used to be many dialects. There is another ethnic community called Kedayan. It is different from the Kadayan my Aunt means.)

    The young girl who captivated the young man from the sacred province of Shantung, North-east China, lives in Ramaya.

    Her bamboo house there is now long gone. But the river flows still. Over it are still slung suspended bridges. And I walked over one, just once, in Ramaya. Now Limbanak.

    Here's Bridge Over Troubled Water ......................................Simon & Garfunkel

    Photo, Children On Bridge, by Andrealism
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