Bursting into the kitchen, in a twelve-year-old’s piercing soprano, I started a fervent reading of Wong Wai’s “Yearning” in Cantonese. My mom was unimpressed, even after my five-minute lecture on how, prosodically, Cantonese makes the poem that much more meaningful. Scoffing, she said: 「相思你識條鐵咩」 (loosely: “what the hell do you know about yearning?”). In that moment, though, I felt like I did know what it was like to yearn — for validity, if not anything else.
December 9, 2022