Mid-Autumn Moon (Grandmother stories)


Mid-autumn moon is a story based on my late-grandmother. More than just a collection of intimate anecdotes, it is a celebration of heritage and culture... it is a story about a grandparent and child.

This is currently a work in progress.

Please contact me for more information.

Support for the work

I came across ‘Grandmother story: On finishing a novella’ [on which this work is based]. The way you wrote it, made your memories, sense of loss, pain come across very vividly and for my heart to ache for your loss.
— Resham Kaur, Manager (2013)

A Sample for Preview

This is an essay that I wrote on 25 Apr 2012, about another work,  Millie, and the thoughts on the passing of my late-grandmother.

It reflects the style and writing I will use in Mid-Autumn Moon.

Grandmother story: On finishing a novella

Finally, I've clicked sent and passed up the work.

It's a manuscript of a novella, that I've worked on for over a year, the working title is The House of Millie's Dreams, the word count, a little over 35,000, and it is supported by the Arts Creation Fund from the National Arts Council.

It feels a little surreal that I've reached this milestone... but also not so super exciting because it's just a manuscript, and I've finished it too many times in the past few months, and especially in the past week: proofread, edit, edit, proofread but itchy-hand and edit some more... format and spot typo... alamak should I proofread again...? 

But maybe since I've not touched the work for two days now, I've somehow mustered the decisiveness to just send it in to NAC la. Maybe because today is a good day. Maybe because I really can't bring myself to read it again. 

I could try to sense some accomplishment... But then I also don't have the mood.  

I visited my uncle today, and the journey to his place, where my grandma used to live, and its view of the Chinese Garden pagoda at sunset, reminded me of the times when I used to visit her. 

There were two kites being flown in the sky. I couldn't spot the people flying them. I saw a small monkey running across a field chasing something. But I can't remember what it was chasing.

My grandma's bed had since been replaced by my cousins' study desks. 

If she were still around, I'd climb into her single-size bed and squeeze somewhere beside her, and tell her that I finally finished the story I was busy writing. And she'd be happy for me, regardless of whether she can understand the story or my summary of it in broken Hokkien-Mandarin translation. 

"它是个微型小说,故事是讲述 一个女人,她有一些迷离的梦。比如梦中有一种树,树上没有叶子,在叶子应该在的位子,长了鸟儿。梦中也有一个僵尸,而特别的是 在于他的脸是一个时钟。好像你的墙壁上的那个咯。还有其他的怪东西啦。

故事刺激读者  考虑真假的区别,和 逻辑与理智 在生活里的重要性。它拿 现代红毛 (ang moh) 与科学  的想法 和 华人传统 的想法 做比较。 比如 解梦方式 - 红毛 用的心理学理论 和 我们的庄周和周公。


"It's about a woman, who has strange dreams of a house with strange things like birds growing on trees in place of leaves and a zombie with a clock for a face... The story provokes readers to reconsider truth and falsehood, and the role of logic or rational thinking in their lives. It draws parallels between Western and Chinese cultures - like with dreams - between pseudo-psychology with Zhuang Zhou and Zhou Gong.

"Basically, it's quite abstract and I'm not sure how people will respond to it."

When my grandma was still around, I had told her about previous drafts before, and although they were equally, if not more, absurd and abstract, she took them well. Though she was not highly educated, she's pretty cool with such things. She might have thought that they are weird or amusing, or that it was common for people to write nonsense like that nowadays. Anyway, she wouldn't be too bothered. Maybe because it's just a story after all.

She seemed more curious, or even concerned, about why I had to go through all the trouble to write it. Especially since it was unlikely that the story would make me a lot of money. Especially if it seemed like I lost weight over it.


So I offered her some joss sticks at the altar and paid my respects to her (or what's left of her?) and told her, in my heart, that I've finished the story. And I imagined that she was happy for me. Regardless of whether she'd understand the story or why I wrote it, I was sure she'd be happy for me. Then I caught my thoughts, and I remembered that I ought to be wishing that she had already left this world and her worries and concerns, including me, behind, and she had gone to a better place. 

I think of all the time I could have spent with her if I wasn't squandering it on writing a stupid story that I don't know if anyone would even appreciate. But maybe, if not for the writing, I wouldn't have learnt to appreciate time as much, and I wouldn't have matured enough to appreciate her company as much? I could have squandered time on drinking, or learning drawing, or sleeping, or watching TV or movies, or shopping, or working overtime at my cpf-earning work? 

Well, nevertheless, I tell her again, in my heart, that I'm sorry. For not having spent more time with her. And I imagine, her to call me "gong3 gia4" (meaning silly child), and to remind me that everybody has to die eventually, and that ah ma is already very grateful for everything she had, and she had been praying for the time to come for her to go, and I should be happy for her that her wish finally came true. And she will stroke my face with her palm, in the way she used to do, and tell me not to cry anymore.