My Narrative

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New Registrant
It's no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society
[Jiddu Krishnamurti, as quoted in ‘The Eden Express’ (1975) by Mark Vonnegut, p. 208]​

I’ve been pacing up and down in my room. Heart rate up. Sitting up and lying down on the bed, just staring blankly into empty space. Staring blankly at the screen. Type, delete, repeat & rinse… Just wishing that I can get started on the first line… Wondering how a mid-40’s guy like myself will weave his narrative to a bunch of strangers online. Strangers yet comrades for a common cause. How lucky to be alive in this time and age of connectedness yet with so many disparate destinies on this terrestrial ball, with some of us just hanging on to dear life and others who have made it to the end of the tunnel and seen the light… Where shall I start? It’s been so long… yet as if it was a moment ago… fragments everywhere…

Part 1...
I was a mistake. So says dad. Mom saith I was born from love. It was the 70’s. In my part of the world, society and families frowned on such premarital ‘indiscretion’. Abortion, as per mom’s doctor, was an option on the table. She decided. He agreed. So there, I would have a second shot after all. My grandparents gave their blessings. Not everyone in the family was that generous. There I was… an expanding womb bulge under her wedding gown, as evidenced by their matrimonial photos.

‘Not everyone in the family was that generous.’
That is…. as my failing memory would oft play back those vicious words told to me… the earliest form of verbal abuse served to me… before I turned 5…. What do I know about family politics & ‘adult’ mind games at that age?

‘You’re not part of this family. You don’t belong to us. They’re not your parents. They’re not your grandparents. You were an orphan, picked up from somewhere. You are not Liang. You should look for your real parents. Don’t tell anyone we told you this.’
I stared in disbelief at my paternal uncle and his wife. I had my first taste of fear, of losing my identity, of abandonment… I recall how I choked up in childlike manner denying it. I knew who my parents were or did I? Again, they reinforced their lies. The rest were history. Yet, it was only years later. Years later, that I bravely asked my mom that anathema ‘Are you my mother?’ Shocked, she reported it to dad who shrugged it off but somehow mentioned it to grandpa. The matter was again shelved. ‘Just forgive and forget. Don’t rock the boat.’ That was the response.

‘Don’t rock the boat’. Two generations of inaction. Years of my unstable self-identity and self-loathing were just brushed under the carpet. Deconstructed under ‘Don’t rock the boat’. Later, I found out that uncle & his wife were the ones who opposed my grandparents’ approval on my parents’ marriage, my entry into the family & that I should never carry the family surname as I was a ‘shame’.

In latter years, when my grandparents had long passed, I would touch their graves in gratitude for the acceptance and being part of my upbringing since my ‘shameful’ birth. I can still recall how my late grandpa guided my hand to write my own name in Chinese. For this, I bit the bullet of ‘Don’t rock the boat’. I kept telling myself that he’s a simple man who worked hard all his life and did all he could to manage life, survived World War II & the horrible Japanese Occupation. His plate was full. I needed to see a bigger picture…
‘Are you my mother?’ It still rings in me to this day…

Part 2...
I was 5 years old … and four to five years later…
A neighbour family of four & their relatives + 3 female nannies

Parents had busy careers. They had a hard time looking for a live-in nanny. Easiest option?
The next door neighbour, a family of four (with two older children) who obliged with a small fee. When mom went to work, I was placed in their care.

It started.
Sexual fondling, fingering, fellatio, stripping & masturbation were all done on me. I was guided to do the same for them. THE ENTIRE FAMILY. It wasn’t enough. I was made to watch sibling & parental incest, live in action. Mother with the son. Father with the daughter. When their relatives came over, it was rinse and repeat of all that, with me stuck at watching them and occasionally forced to be part of the family orgy. There’s a distinct memory of the father in standing position and me at his waist level. He would guide my hand to unzip his trousers, pull out his erect genital, fondle and fellate it.

And then came the icing on the orgy cake… one that keeps flashing back to me…
Their daughter. A bedroom. Locked door. The bed. I was stripped. Fondled. My privates were tugged at. I was guided to strip her. Dragged up the high bed. Suddenly, my body resisted. Great fear came into mind. I pulled back my hand from hers and refused to mount the bed. Just frozen. Saw the locked door. I felt great fear. Instinct told me to RUN. I unlocked the door and bolted from the house. Ran out as fast as the legs of a child would manage; out of the house. Ran back into my own empty home next door. I still get the horror flashback of that day. I needed mom to be there at that moment. She was at work. I was alone at home for hours. Couldn’t cry as I was just frozen. Slept on the cold marble floor near the main door until dad came back first in the evening. That’s when the memory fades away…

I was told by the family to keep quiet.
I was told that they would fete me with my favourite food and toys…

Later on, that family moved away. Mom had no choice but to hire individual nannies.
2 out of 3 nannies… Two young women. Their modus operandi were consistent: almost every morning, after parents were gone, the deed was done on the sofa. Sometimes, I was placed on top of them. Sometimes, I was beneath them. I was guided on how to strip them, suckle their breasts and finger their vaginas. And they would strip my pants, fondle my privates, masturbation, fingering my arse, and playing with my nipples.
Shhhh!!!… I was told. In return, my favourite food and toys…

Third nanny… an older woman. Same drill of sexual touching and stripping. Difference? She used threats for Shhhhh!! I was shown a religious icon and threatened into silence. That her god would strike me down. Then, she went a step further: a man would come by and harm me if I ever snitched on her. One day, when my parents were out, a man came by. I asked her on who was it. She told me that he was the one who would harm me if I ever blew her cover. He gave me a threatening look… My life depended on Shhhhh!!

Part 3...
In my final year as a pre-University student..
My parents found a family friend to rent me a room near the college as their home was nearby. The man of the house was an ex Armed Forces personnel and later transferred to become part of the Royal Police Force. As part of his job, he owns a licensed gun. He was known to be short tempered too. His wife was friendly to me. I thought nothing of it when she cooked my meals and chatted like friends. Then, came that fateful day.
Both of us were alone in the house. I was studying for the upcoming exams in my room. She called on me to help her bring in the dry laundry that was hanging in the front yard to the master bed room upstairs where she was. I complied. Thought nothing of it other than helping her with a mundane chore. With my hands full of the laundry pieces, I went up the stairs to her room and laid it on her bed as per her instructions. She closed the door behind me as I was placing the laundry and came near me. Suddenly, I was shoved on the bed as she grabbed my body and a struggle ensued with that plus size woman. I contorted myself to escape her. She grabbed my forearm and I managed to twist it free, swung the door open and ran out of the room into my own. I was shaking with fear. Quickly, I dragged my small cupboard against the door and locked it. Grabbed a fruit knife and sat on my bed, trembling and in tears. I was ready in kill mode if she ever broke into my room as she has the master keys. Time was frozen in my mind. She vacillated between threatening to report me to her husband to begging me to forgive and open the door. Telling me that she was lonely and made the mistake of marrying at 16 years old. Banging on my door to open up. I silently waited in the midst of shivering and great fear. Then, after some time had passed, it was silent. I heard a familiar male voice. Her husband was back. I slowly dragged back the cupboard away from the door. Composed myself, packed up a small bag and planned to rent a room at a nearby cheap motel for the night. Left the house safely.
That night….Crazy thoughts were racing in my mind. I wasn’t even thinking of how I was sexually assaulted. I was more worried that she would concoct a tale and tell him, a gun owner. Maddening ideas flooded my mind on what an enraged man with a gun would be capable of. I couldn’t even bring myself to think on reporting it to my parents as that would have grave consequences as family friends. I cried myself until to sleep….
Next morning, I went back and saw the entire family having breakfast. I walked as quickly as I could back up to my room. I couldn’t attend classes for the day. Just too shaken…She, on the other hand seemed to behave as if nothing had happened. I never ate her cooking again from that day. Neither did she cook for me.
Again, it was another Shhhh!!....

Part 4...
Few years ago…. At a café….
I & my life partner were with a gang of his female friends having drinks. Suddenly, one of the women from the gang next to me placed her hands on my upper thighs and moved them up and down, nearly touching my crotch. I was shocked and frozen. We had known her for a long time but this was a first. In my mind, I saw myself punching and slapping her. But I knew that if it were to happen, it would be a police case. Instead I glared at her and told her off. She retorted in a playful manner, ‘What’s the big deal! Just horsing around’ My partner attempted to diffuse the situation by coaxing me that it was all a joke. I love my man more than anything in the world. I swallowed my anger and pride for him. I was enraged within and realised it was another Shhhhh!! moment again….

I will stop here. Thank you Male Survivor for this space.
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