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284 pages, Paperback
First published June 21, 2014
“But you, Ah Lee, you have all the opportunities. We have lived so long, we have saved enough money. Maybe if you study hard, if you get a scholarship, you could even go to England like my uncle the doctor, your Tua Tiao Kong. Your English is so good. You have a good chance.”And she even has the quiet confidence to unapologetically use Manglish (i.e., Malaysian English) vocabulary:
"Maybe they didn’t shout, “Oi, macha!” when they saw him, or request that he “relaklah, brother,"…This may not seem like much to readers whose literature's acceptance of the vernacular dates back to Chaucer, but let me tell you, but its authenticity is very grounding to someone like me. So, please Ms Cho, if you ever read this, please please please don't ever sell out to commercial interests by tailoring your representation of Malaysia to suit a Western market.
This was the secret the family had been hiding from Vivian. Nai Nai had become a kuang shi.
She had never thanked an aunt for anything before. It was understood that they would do things for her, that that was the way the world worked.
The air outside the airport had been cold beyond belief, but the bus had been warm — not an honest sticky heat, but a stultifying man-made warmth that smelled of dusty upholstery.