When Tony Tung suddenly announces at the dinner table that he is going to be a vegan starting the following week, his parents are totally confused what he’s talking about. They’ve never heard the word before and have to consult the online dictionary.
“It means a person who does not eat any food derived from animals and who typically does not use other animal products.” His mother Sheena reads out of her iPhone.
His father Shang doesn’t say anything, but his mother, always the good family administrator, is quick to grasp the significance of this.
“Does this mean you are not going to eat my pan fried salmon, and stir fried beef?” She asks.
“Fish is not animal, right? Tony? You are still going to eat fish?” Shang says.
“No fish. No salmon. No beef. Also no leather products for me.” Tony says.
When Tony finishes his dinner and goes upstairs in his typical idle and pensive teenager ways, his parents look at each other. They are both a little shocked. His mother is worried about his health–can he get enough nutrition as a vegan? But she also feels, vaguely, that this is a deliberate rebuke to her cooking. His father is concerned about his mental state and the friends he keeps.
“Where did he get the idea?” Shang says.
“Must be the internet. He’s like you, surfing the internet all the time. I’ve told you not to go online aimlessly. Now your son is following your steps.” Sheena says.
“I beg to differ. It must be you. You are the one who talks about nutrition all the time and want to try this and that new food. Now he is taking after you. He’s trying a completely new approach to food.” Shang says.
“Can’t believe you said that. I’ve tried so hard to present healthy and varied food. Now I was blamed for all my efforts. I try new things but I have moderation and I won’t go overboard. Wait a minute. I think it is your mom. It’s all her fault.” Sheena says.
“Stop blaming my mom for everything.” Shang says.
“It’s her indulgence. When she was here for several months, Tony’s character is decidedly going worse because your mom has limitless indulgence. She coddled Tony too much. She makes him think that every whimsical idea coming to his mind can earn him a Nobel Prize if he insists on it.”
“Can you leave the poor woman alone. She suffered a lot. Life is not easy for her.” Shang says to his wife.
“You have so much forgiveness for her and why can’t you reserve some for me? This stubborn mind of yours is owing to her too.” Sheena piles the dishes and brings them to the sink. Since the sink is full, she balance the pile on the counter. Then she picks up a chopstick to knock on Shang’s ear, and Shang, sensing something coming his way but not knowing what, jerks quickly to one side and in the process knocks the pile of dirty dishes to the floor.
There’s a terrific crash when the ceramics hit the marble surface, shattered pieces big and small spreading everywhere.