Millions of Asians worldwide and I just happen to look like every one of them. People see my eyes, my hair, my skin color and instantly I’m the Asian they’ve seen on TV, the Asian they work with or the Asian they went to school with. I never knew I had the universal Asian face. This must be the reason why I’m the subject of so many cases of mistaken eye-dentity.
I have an admission.
It’s not something I am proud of but, as the old adage goes, the first step in solving a problem is to admit you have one.
So here it is. I laugh when people fall.
While the topography tests his physical endurance, it is the natives who test his spirit and resolve. Pham encounters distant relatives, devious tour guides, street urchins and ominous ruffians. Each encounter takes an emotional toll. In this journey of self-discovery and renewal, Pham comes to terms with his past, his identity and most importantly, his place in this world.
Powerless to stop it, my mother and the rest of the family stood on the perimeter clutching each other for comfort. She watched in anger and disbelief at his defilement. He didn’t cry out or lash back. He knelt in complete silence accepting the fate delivered to him.
He’s going to die. They are going to kill him. He lamented. He began trembling again. Fear is a cold no blanket or fire can ever warm. He surrendered to his bedroom and requested solace. My mother emerged from his room to the hungry stares of the crowd. Taking on the role of an understudy, she tried to address the crowd but not having fully digested the news herself, she found herself stammering underneath the spotlight.