One time in refugee camp… my father built a statue.
Mother was several months pregnant, but no one believed her. She hadn’t gained a pound and there was no obvious “bump.” Father helped build a Buddha statue in the camp, which some people say is taboo for a man whose wife is expecting.
When I was born (quietly, without much fuss, in something resembling a building), I reportedly bore an uncanny resemblance to the statue. That’s the explanation my parents gave when asked why I don’t resemble anyone in the family. I often wonder, Where is that statue now?
Voices in the Fray
(original poem by Noony)
“Different but not special”
is how I would describe myself and
our lives after the Exodus.
As a child I thought: No one wants to hear this voice
telling sad stories that make them pity me
and guilt them into helping me.
It became a mantra:
don’t let them see, don’t let them see.
And so I hid,
swallowing words and trudging through,
imagining a past I only knew
from the very stories I refused to tell.
People without a Home only know one thing;
Those who are lost know it too:
It is better to claim and be claimed –
to have roots running deep and fingers that reach
to the corners of the Universe.
We have within us a voice that is not sad but proud,
poignant and strong;
we are the tongues of our parents and the hands
that will pull their narratives into the light.
We are the First and the Last,
Second Daughter and Eldest Son;
a bridge that became the backbone of our people
the minute we dared to dream.
All the love in me embraces the past and present.
In my heart, I see your faces
and marvel at your courage.
I see you. I see you.
I hear your muted voices.
I will speak loudly for you,
as others have done for me.
Today we remember the struggle;
We are united in the fray.
#WorldRefugeeDay #StayLaod #LaodRefugee #Diaspora