In ‘Along Came Sandy and Farah’ of chapter eight in Family Sorrow, Elena is bullied by two westernized Chinese girls from a nearby international school. She is then rescued by two students from her school, Sandy and Farah.
The chapter was actually inspired by my mother’s experience back in high school. My mother attended a public Chinese girls’ school in Malaysia. One day, when she was walking home from school alone, she decided to take a different route, because she wanted to go to the shops by the main road. The area where she was at was not busy, and there were not many people around. She did not walk for long when she suddenly came across two Chinese girls. My mother immediately recognized their uniforms and knew that they were from the international school nearby. She ignored them and carried on walking. Back then, many students from my mother’s school and students from the international school, particularly some of the Chinese students, did not get along. If students from both schools came across one another, fights would usually break out. As my mother ignored the two girls, she had a feeling that they were looking at her, and that made her uncomfortable. She wasn’t the kind of person who would usually fight back. As the two girls walked past her, they started mocking and teasing her in a mean and nasty tone of voice and manner. They were arrogant. They spoke perfect English with American accents. They mocked and teased my mother for being in a public Chinese school. My mother prayed that the two girls would leave her alone and not hurt her. Luckily, the two girls did not start any troubles as they just walked off laughing. Since then, my mother never took that same route alone ever again. However, she still saw the two girls every now and again getting into fights with students from her school.
Years later, when my mother was in her early twenties, she came across one of the two Chinese girls. The girl ended up working at the same place as my mother. What a coincidence. But according to my mother, the girl did not recognize her. Whether this was true or not, I don’t know. My mother did not mention the bullying incident to her. The funny thing is, the both of them became friends. My mother even said that the girl had changed. And even though the girl still spoke perfect English with an American accent, she was no longer mean or arrogant. Apparently, the girl even visited me and my mother at the hospital shortly after I was born. My mother later lost contact with her when the both of them changed jobs.