Chinese dignity

Mrs Rose Ng


I got very lovely parents. I always say in next reincarnation I want the same parent. I been here since 1966, December the tenth. I remember that day when I come to Wales I say good God, that’s  mountain, see mountain no house. I had a lovely childhood in Denbigh. I was there nine years. They never see Chinese children before. Then when they see us, so many of us, seven, that’s a big long look like we are from the ET, something like that, and they were, so good to us. We got children call in the restaurant; you know when we first start. Take my sister, younger few sister, brother to school and go to church and we go to the scouts and guides. We do everything like a normal, Welsh children. We remember the cinema there and we go in the afternoon, every Saturday and they love Chinese children. They always say when they see my brother and sister they all pat their hair. 

I went to the infant’s school in Hong Kong. I start looking after the old people when I very young. I used to go Church with them and they never know I’m not Catholic. They never know and then this priest come up to me. Have you had your confession, why don’t you do this? I say what for?  You know, that’s cheeky. I’m not Catholic. So you gonna come here Sunday school every day, every Sunday, so I went too, that’s how I start and then when I say to my Mum and Dad. “What you want to be a Catholic for” (in man’s voice). I say you get free milk, you get free flowers uh; you know free tinned food because of war. You get corned beef, that’s why I don’t eat corned beef because I ate it so many when younger.

What happened about eight years ago when we start the woman’s society and then we collect lots old people. We take them outing and take to Manchester, take them walking because they isolated before and because the language problem and also mobile, not very good. The younger generation like us we all drive, the older generation they don’t drive. And every Monday we had the woman’s society meeting and they all problem and tell me what’s wrong with them. Lot of Chinese older people they get depression because they can’t communicating with the family and also the children in this generation, they more Western. They still have tradition Chinese. They caring but the don’t so mummy boy like when we are younger. The Chinese are very old fashioned. They don’t open their hearts toyou until they really know you. But I, I go up here and I, I’m very bossy with them cos I tell them what not to say. And I make them do what they’re told. But if the children take them to the doctor they will listen to the children. They don’t want to burden on the children because children have to work so they rather have people outside translating for them.  

But come to the carer now, we have problem.  It changes slowly. We explain to them, because all your life you pay tax. You never claim anything so you got right to claim this kind of money for helping you clean the house because most Chinese people they do have big house, because we live for three generation in that one house but now the children move out the house is too big, you know.  Anyway, so a few of them I knew they have carer go in there helping them but like it was said the children have one day off,  go in the house helping mum and dad cleaning. But the Chinese people sort of accept they will go to the old people home. Sometime though in old day you say your mum in home, the thing you get, abusing from your family. I felt that way because when my mother was very ill, I live with my mother all my life. I live with her nearly forty year. I still live with her until I marry. I still live with her until she die. Because my mother disabled when she come to the end and she didn’t want to burden us. And she really, she doesn’t want to get well. We done everything really. We got a carer going in there and my sister, my sister there and everybody there for her but she doesn’t want to burden the children. My sister-in-law she’s a Welsh girl and you can’t get a better sister-in-law than my sister-in-law. And she do anything for my mother and it’s sad, my mother always say she can’t communicate with her because she speak English only. But Jeanette is learning a lot of Chinese. But my mother is so proud, she say, it’s not my daughter.  If the daughter-in-law is Chinese you would make her do everything you want her to. But because she’s a Welsh girl and she can’t communicate it. And my mother doesn’t want to burden her. But it’s sad, because I only left home about four hours in the house, my mother pass away. So I always had a guilty conscience if I stay home maybe my mother still alive. 

 Beginning of this year I was unwell because I’m diabetic and I have change the insulin now. And my husband doesn’t speak English very much so I told him..I say you have to learn English, because when you go to old people home you don’t understand English, they won’t give you a cup of tea and biscuit. Because he doesn’t want to go to the Chinese old people home. Because I could organise for him to go Manchester, Birmingham, Swansea anywhere. But he doesn’t want to go, he want to go with the Welsh people.

Chinese in the old day is a lot of different thing between rich and poor, but because this generation they change, they more eager, so they all have the same dignity. When you not well you got to go and see a doctor, the doctor will refer you to the social service and the Chinese dignity is more like they very proud. They don’t claim any benefit except a pension and a lot the Chinese family, they all save up a lot. We realise we are getting old ourself oh and more wiser. I would like to go the Welsh old people home.  I find the system in here is much better than in China or in Hong Kong. I don’t think I’d move away from Wales.