By Divya Gurung from Musubi “An Exploration of Gender in Hong Kong”, 2017.
As a child, she often outran the boys, my mother. Fearless, she was swift to protect herself, or to defend her elder brother from the tussles of tormenting neighbourhood tyrants. The first to swing from tree to tree, as she took on the persona of Tarzan, my mother was unafraid. She took on challenges with fervour, standing shoulder to shoulder with boys and refused to indulge in any constraints to her freedom of both body and mind.
Yet tyrants never cease to exist, do they? They take on different forms and encroach your space unabashedly. With womanhood approaching, my mother found herself fighting still, with even more tormenters than from her childhood. Not only was she incompatible with the prescribed mould of expected behaviour and demeanour, her perspective too was questioned by the invisible strings that tend to control women. The looming cloud of expectations would smother her perpetually; a plethora of roles to fulfil whilst quelling her thoughts and voice.
Decades after, her daughter persists to fight with such tyrants, albeit in a different form, a different flavour, but intolerable still. Despite long due strides of improvements, much still remains amiss.
How much longer?