Monday, October 6, 2008


My sister has changed. Her once shoulder length hair is now cut into a stylish bob. Her lashes are thick with mascara and her large eyes are widened even more by shimmery eye shadow and expertly drawn eyeliner. When dealing with others, she has an almost American-like gregariousness. My sister can be cold-blooded. She doesn't know it, or if she does she can't help it. My sister's dream is to live in a castle with a prince. She tells me this half seriously. She is desperate to find the love of her life. The positive side of vanity is hope. She wants to be a tai tai like my mother. Like my mother whose eyes gleam when she sees diamonds. "Looks like I've earned another one", she says, everytime my father hands her another jewel. She measures her worth in gold and diamonds. My sister is gradually assuming the form of my mother, just like how my mother became like grandmother, who was equally bewitched by wealth.

As younger girls, my sister and I suffered from a debilitating shyness. We were afraid of emitting even a single sound in front of strangers. Our paranoia took on rather absurd dimensions. Instead of singing the national anthem each day at school, we mouthed it. We communicated with other people by nodding or shaking our heads, or not responding at all. We wouldn't even communicate with each other in public except by eye contact. It was almost as if our silence was part of the pact of sisterhood.

I don't know what defines our sisterhood now. Togetherness has been sacrificed for the sake of individuality. It is the past that links us in the present.

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