Archive for November, 2011

Ayomah’s Story (Sequel 8)

   The Terrible Reality

    “What were you just saying?” He asked—with a face now twisted with guilt.

 “I wanted to know what movie is there to go and watch.”

 “Xiao-he, tell me, what’s wrong, you don’t look happy.”

 “How can I look happy when I’ve been insulted?”


 “Yes, insulted.” I said with my fists clenched.

 “How did that happen?”

 “I answered an advert in the newspaper concerning the teaching of English, but the question that I was asked made me feel insulted.”

  “What was it?”

  “I was asked by a lady who picked up the phone whether I was black or white. When I told her I was black, she said they were only looking for white guys…its unfair…”

  “Xiao-he, since when did you know we lived in an unfair and an unkind world?”

  “Since the time I was a child.”

  “Do you say since when you were a child?”  

“You heard me alright.”

He’d been lying on the brown leather sofa watching TV all this time. He then got up, stretched his right hand and picked up the remote control on the glass center  table, and put off the TV. He then asked me to sit down as I had been standing up all this while.

“It’s sad to hear that.” He said.

“I feel I’ve taken quite a buffeting in the terrible storm of discrimination and racism.”

“Keep on telling yourself that.” Xiao-he said angrily.

“Xiao-he, so you don’t even feel sorry for me.”

“Sorry for what?”

“Sorry for my plight.”

“Sorry for my plight.”

“What plight, for being black and your lack of self-confidence?”

“No. Not all.” I replied with a shame-faced expression.

“Do not blame that lady who told you they welcomed only whites and not blacks…it could be that, she’d been instructed by the school authorities to say so…it couldn’t be of her own making…”

“Are you supporting her cruelty?”

“Okay, please redial the number and let me talk to her.”

To be continued…


Ayomah’s Story (Sequel 7)

                            Filing for Divorce 

“What are you doing now Lao-hey.” He asked as he enters.

Realizing how visibly agitated I was, he quickly switched to another question. He was a man with savoir-faire—he knew how to behave in any company and in any situation. With a face twisted with pain, he said—with a low voice.

“Come, come, let’s go watch a movie.” 

“I’m not interested.” I retorted bitterly.

“Today is a Sunday, and it’s also my birthday and I’m …”

“Just leave me alone okay?” I shouted.

He wouldn’t listen to me. I knew I was being unusually hostile—not what Xiao-he knew me to be. We’ve been friends for almost five years and he’d never seen me in such a pugnacious mood. Suddenly changing my mood, I asked:

“What type of movie is it?”

He wouldn’t answer. I realized his attention had been diverted to the TV advertisements being aired. They were feminine underwear advertisements. Xiao-he was always titillated by such adverts. He was such prurient that, he always looked for a sex angle in any given situation. His wife, Mrs. Lee wasn’t that kind of woman who would forgive her husband his sexual peccadilloes simply because he cherished and provided amply for the family. I had succeeded on two occasions in talking her out of filing for a divorce, but a week before Xiao-he came to my house, she’d called me on my mobile phone to inform me she’d started filing for a divorce, and that I wouldn’t be able to talk her out of it this time any more.

To be continued…

Author’s Note: Ayomah’s Story will continue for the next 37 to 40 Sequels…make sure you don’t miss any Sequel.

Ayomah’s Story (Sequel 6)

 Whites,Chinese and Blacks

What was more irritating to me was that smug expression on the face of Xiao-he, any time he reminded me of how better blacks would be, if they read more books and worked harder. He had gone on business trips to almost every African country and had dined and wined with many black political figures—including some African ambassadors to Taiwan. He had also visited many black neighborhoods outside Africa. His conclusion was that achieving excellence has everything to do with the pursuit of a goal—meaning hard work and committing tons of time to whatever knowledge one might have acquired overtime to practice—and not as much a consequence of  possessing innate gifts of  specific genes.

 Whites and Chinese, as he always consoled me, were not better than blacks. According to him, to desire nothing less in one’s life than the best takes a huge commitment and great amount of time devoted to what one wants to achieve. To him, what people believe to be extraordinary talents were mere skills honed by successful people better than others. He believed that all of us—whatever our circumstances—have the ability to succeed—as long as we could get a handle on our fears and other negative emotions that sets us back. He seemed to imply that so many blacks—including some of their leaders—were disoriented. These, according to him, were either due to ignorance, greed or simply selfishness.

To be continued…

Ayomah’s Story (Sequel 5)

   Xiao-he and Xiao-maafan

“This could be Xiao-he.” I murmured as I walked toward the door.  

I guessed rightly. It was actually him—that droll of a man. He was oddly amusing. Xiao-he, (pronounced Shiao-ho) and literally translated as “small river”. His real name was Lee Chiang-I, but nicknamed Xiao-he by all his friends. He could make you laugh by whimsical, eccentric conduct. He was a short and plump person in his mid-fifties. He was bald-headed and had unusually large ears—for a Chinese. As he entered with is dog, I realized he wasn’t that character I knew. I could tell from his doleful face that he had experienced a great loss or was in serious trouble. He had been drinking with friends all day at a bar not far from my home. Xiaohe’s foibles included a tendency to spend more time with his dog at the expense of his family.

His dog was of a mongrel breed. It was huge, dark, had powerful limbs and long paws. Despite its size and darkness of color, it was a very friendly dog. He carried it in his car where ever he went. Xiao-he called his dog, Xiao-maafan (small trouble). His dog accompanied him to special occasions rather than his wife. He even boasted of bequeathing all of his property to his dog before his death. As far as Xiao-maafan was concerned, his wife and two children were second class.

   He called me Lao-hey, translated as black foreigner. He wasn’t racist. He would narrate to me how hard-working the Chinese people are. He pointed proudly to what made Taiwan what it is today. Fifty years ago, according to him, he couldn’t afford three square meals, and now, he has become a proud land owner and an owner of a Mercedes saloon car. He predicted that there will be a time in the not-too-distant future when the Chinese language will become a compulsory subject in many schools around the world—especially in Africa. One of his wildest predictions was that, in time the Chinese language will become the lingua franca of those people wanting to get ahead in trade and commerce.

To be continued…

Ayomah’s Story (Sequel 4)

My Two Half-Sisters 

It was already 3pm, and I had been standing there watching these automobiles for an hour, I could see my two other half-sisters whose fathers were both foreigners in my mind. I remembered how, one day, Patricia’s European father came down to Ghana and took his daughter back to his country. Six months later, my other half-sister, Cecilia was also snatched away by her Chinese father back to Taiwan. I could see the face of Mama that was distorted by grief during the time my two half-sisters bid farewell to her.

   The departure of Patricia, my eldest half-sister was particularly cruel to Mama. Tears flowed freely down her cheeks as she held Patricia’s wrists firmly, saying adieu. Back then, I had toiled for several days to ease Mama’s pain and bind the wounds to her aging heart. Being the youngest and darkest of my two half-sisters, I was left to clean up the emotional mess left behind by my departing half-sisters.

   Then the doorbell rang.

To be continued…

Ayoma’s Story (Sequel 3)

The Ideal World

 Looking through the window overlooking the freeway passing behind the high-rise apartment building where I lived in Taipei’s County’s Shijr City, I noticed how the automobiles sped pass one another, and in a reminiscent mood, I thought of an ideal world where people of different colors and creed would all be given a level playing field to compete with one another as these automobiles did on the freeway.

   I said to myself, “the grandest ideals of globalization should be that everyone belongs, that everyone deserves a chance, that no insignificant person was ever born”. Racism, as I have come to know, is a capricious god that will inevitably hinder the march toward realizing the ideals of globalization. Even though globalization has to a certain extent brought enormous wealth to some nations, and forced them to adapt their economies and even their cultures to its demands, racism on the other hand has come to stay. For all the assurances and hopes associated with globalization, there are days when the feeling of being isolated seems unbearably cruel. I have often raged at the fact that what has always been good for the goose has not always been good for the gander.

To be continued…

The Bombshell

“Ok, I’ve got it,” I said.

   “Then see you on Monday.” Miss Huang assured me. But as I was about to hang up, she dropped a bombshell.

   “One more question; are you black or white?”

   There came my riposte:

   “I’m black.” I did not bat an eyelid when Miss Huang (literally translated as Miss Yellow) said to me, “Then am so sorry!” I then hanged up quietly and did not say a word.

   Lounging on a brown leather sofa, and wearing the sad face of a woman whose only son has been butchered before her own eyes, I begun to ask myself certain pertinent questions on globalization.

   “The whole world is making a fuss over globalization and enjoying every second of it. We talk of a global village to where all mankind belong, why is a person of color, who is over-qualified to teach kids at a kindergarten school excluded?”

“Did this Miss Huang, who asked me whether I was black or white realize she was playing on the global stage, and that she was expected to be an actor of global standard?” “Did she realize she was supposed to employ global tools and conform to global guidelines and not dare question me whether I was black or white?”

   Another question I asked myself was, “Is she acting according to instructions from her superiors or she was only being freakish?” There were no ready answers available.

   I then turned my mind to God, the Creator. Who created mankind in different colors – black, white, yellow, and what have you? I thought of an example of His delicate production, wonderful creation and deep sagacity in the creation of a bat. It keeps itself hidden in the day light, although day light reveals every thing else, and gets moving in the night, although night-time shuts up every other living being; I thought of how their eyes get dazzled and cannot make use of the light of the sun for being guided in their movements, and for reaching their known places through the light provided by the sun. I also thought of how the darkness of the night does not obstruct the sight of the bat, and also how the gloom of darkness does not prevent it from movement. I could only equate this lady—Miss Huang—to a bat upon whom the sun of globalization was shinning, but who could not find her way through the global village.

   Her eyes had been dazzled with racism, so much so that she could not make use of the sunrays of globalization. Like a bat, she could only see through the darkness of racism and not the daylight provided by globalization. To be sure, there are so many bats in our global village! In my own specious reasoning, I thought I could land the job my claiming to be Canadian. I was dead wrong! Canadian or not, the color of my skin—no matter where I had come from—was to be my nemesis.

To be continued…

Ayomah’s Story (Sequel 1)

One Summer Afternoon

It was a Saturday afternoon in summer, the 28th of August in the year 2004, at around 4 50pm when I made a call to an English language cram school situated in down town Taipei to inquire about a teaching job.

   “Hello, this is Ayoma speaking, are you currently hiring English teachers?”

   “Yes, we are.” “I’m Miss Huang, may I know where you from?”

   “I’m from Canada.”

   “Do you have a BA?”

   “Oh I have an MA.”

   “Wow!” She marveled.

   “Will you come over for an interview tomorrow…oh sorry on Monday?”

   “Of course yes.” I answered cautiously.

   With a pen in my hand, I asked Miss Huang where their school was located in Taipei? I wrote the address of the school down perfunctorily as she dictated it to me….to be continued.