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HIV/AIDS Resource Center for Women
Michelle Lopez Alora Gale Precious Jackson Nina Martinez Gracia Violeta Ross Quiroga Loreen Willenberg  
Michelle Alora Precious Nina Gracia Loreen  

The Girl Who Thought the World Was Round

September 2, 2011

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13 Year Old

My memory for this year pretty hazy ...

I read lots of book for couple a days, wrote some short stories and I learned to draw faces, but every time I draw I can only draw sad faces, crying women or man ... I don't know why?

On my calendar I circled the date of the first day at school and began the countdown.

That morning I woke up 3am in the morning, I was so excited to go to my new school, new classmate, new friends and all. I feel so alive, I jump on my grandfather bed and asked him to wake up, I make him a coffee and wait. I was wearing my last year shoes, beg and school uniform, I wait in front of the door waiting for grandfather ...

My grandfather ask me "Why you go to school so early?" school not yet open Elle?" he look at me with curious face.

"Nothing, The earlier the better because."" I want to make a good example at school". I start walking slowly while my grandfather locks the door quietly without waking my grandmother from sleep.

"Tokwan, I am very excited to start this school, I want to be somebody great? I said. "That is good you have higher dreams but sometimes it might not happen as fast as you expected?' He said while looking at me in the look that I don't really understand.

My grandfather is one of the most people I respect, he speaks good English and we always practice it together. He uses to say "The men without dream, is a man without life, language is only a road block, if you can that road block, and you will go far in life".

The walk seems faster that I thought, even though we take close to 2 hours to reach school but it seems shorter the usual, we pass cemetery which I remember I walk so damn fast because I scared in case the ghost jump on me (I do realize they are dead people but due to my vivid imagination since young I always thought they still stuck in their body and anytime they can chase after me), we pass few drunken man on the side of the back alley, we also pass some youngster that kissing on the stair earlier morning.

I love walking with my grandfather, he will starts talking about wars, about life, about love and sometimes it is hard to make my grandfather stop because his is deaf but I do want to listen, I love listen to his talking and his phrase in life which I applied in my life now.

School was tough the first few month itself, with not much friend to be with, with teacher who sometimes hard to understand what they really teaching because teacher in this country are not really like to think outside the box. So the teaching technique is slightly different than in any other country, I did my very best that year, I was doing well in school. I love school because I will spend days many hours in school until 7pm while waiting my grandfather finish work and then our routine begin again, we start walking back to home. I will share with him my experienced today, most of the time, he will talk about other stuff because he can't really hear what I said but I enjoyed his company.

Since my school is mixed school, there is time when I feel embarrassed, my grandmother don't believe in Bra so when I was 13 my bosom pretty huge for young girl like me and to make it worst my grandmother can't afford bra and my clothes is pretty old, and thin, so boys can actually see my nipples pointing out especially when raining. One day when I pass by this class full of male, they are making fun of me and my body. I remember passing by the class holding book so tight on my chest and all of sudden I trip and my book flew and I have to walk for few meters to collect it and the boys start making so much noise towards me that I am so shy. When I went back home, I did asked my grandmother to buy me bra but she refused, she said it's normally for boys to make fun like that. If I still insist.

She said I can wear her bra to school.

I decided it's not so bad idea, and that morning I did and less that I know that I was a joke for a whole damn year. Everyone call me "Grandmother Bra girl". What a fool I am.

15 years Old -- 20th January 1995

I didn't celebrated my birthday this year because I've just become a mother to a baby girl weight 1.6kg on Saturday at 8.05pm at HBKL, my auntie was there and she was so anxious about it, I have been in the hospital since 3.30am last night. I have this unbearable pain. I suppose to be in school doing my homework at this time concentrating SPM and planning for my future but I guess my life never really follow as what I want or the way I plan it to happen.

After suffering for damn 12 hours Trisha was born into this world, I was actually the most youngest mother in that hospital that day, My grandmother was so happy and my auntie was glad that I was save. I was not so glad with it in the beginning especially when Trisha likes to cried so much. She was in the incubator for close to 6 months and I am kind of "Stuck" with her as well. After 6 months I start taking her back to my grandmother house and the amount of gossip and rumor running wild in the neighbor hood.

I got married to a man I hardly know less than 1 month, I was raped by my own uncle and he is an police office and no one believes me, my grandmother help arrange marriage to a man I never even met my whole life. I was married on the 31st August 1994, few months before my daughter born.

I thought it will change my life to something better somehow it actually lead me to the worst place ever imagined ...

This wedding is the reason why I always avoid attending any weddings in my life. My weddings was pathetic and we only have 2 chairs, and some thick make up on my face like an opera show, and we dress all white and that's about it ...

The most pathetic wedding a girl at my age could ever dream off. All the weddings expenses paid by my grandmother, the next day I move out with him and few months after that Trisha was born in this world.

When Trisha born things change for me, she is the new life in the family, my husband works in factory of CP he earned $1400 a month, however he got addicted to gambling, he hardly come back home and he finish all his money in gambling, we don't have food to eat and he don't know how to solved this problem and as a man he runs away from it.

We did stayed in East Coast before Trisha was born, he sleep in his mom house and I will go out and cook for my sisters in law and brothers in law when there were young, my mother in law stayed in village area where people don't believe in modern world, it's not her fault it just the way she been brought up and she has many children's. She is a nice lady and she loves having many children.

It's a different society there, people so religious but yet so vulnerable and it is easy for them to get a culture shock. They stayed in the world that they only see around them, they see the world that save. They didn't see what behind those worlds.

I used to see that world, the world that no danger I thought, but once my eyes was being open because of circumstances and then I realize it is not that easy to maneuvers in life. It takes experienced and mistake along the way to be better. I guess in certain stages of life mistaken we make in life is fine, as long we learnt from it, it can be triple mistake all over but it's fine.

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