Jeanny and Lirong

I learned short commands in Taiwanese as a child: Ze a ho, my kikung, cui huphup…


What did you learn from your mother about being Taiwanese? (妳從妳母親那兒學到甚麼是一個台灣人?)

That we are not Chinese
That Taiwan was never part of China
Made in Taiwan is better than made in China
I learned short commands in Taiwanese as a child: ze a ho, my kikung, cui huphup, ki se tsui, ki kun
And foods/fruits: tsetkiah, jinglebells, bala, gamjia
Then I forgot my Taiwanese until after college when I learned Mandarin and went to live in Taipei for a year.

Tell us about one of your earliest memories of your mother. (妳對母親最早的記憶是甚麼?)

Hollowing out eggs to paint on, or tomatillos to make whistles
Cooking (I still love bihun, bigo, and pigs feet)

She told me not to move when a bee came around, and it wouldn’t sting me. So when I was 5 and learning to ride a bike, I stayed still and watched a bee sting me on my finger. I went crying home and she put baking soda on my finger to feel better.

When I was 7 we went to Taiwan for the first time, and met my grandmother only once. She was nice. We spoke no Taiwanese or Chinese. This was the first time the family had returned home after emigrating I think 11 years prior. Shortly after we returned home I remember her getting a telegram that Ama had passed (very young, only in her 50s). Mom was crying and I tried to comfort her, standing close and touching her hand. I felt like I should cry but I did not feel anything, since I did not really know my Ama.

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