Part two of two
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published August 20, 2001
written by Jia-Rui Chong / New York
illustrated by Melissa Scram / New York

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Dear T--,

Yes, it is very clean here: no marks on the white lions

(one English and one Chinese) squatting side-by-side outside

the Raffles Hotel. Our relatives take us out every night--

we're the excuse to sup on shark's fin soup and dishes named

Five-Star Dragon Fantasy. Their digital gadgets do everything

short of serving martinis. I don't complain when they sneak me

red envelopes fat with cash. With nights so warm, I want to splurge

on a rickshaw ride, though my cousins insist it's only

the white foreigners who do that. I've been trying to practice

my mandarin here. The Tamil, Malay, and Hindi throw me off

before I can begin. What I remember most from the Christmases

I used to spend here is the tray of stacked mangoes, starfruits,

and lychees on my aunt's table as iconically offhand

as a New England table with a bushel of apples.





New York

San Francisco

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