Father And Son (Flash Fiction #54)

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“Can you talk with your son Jack? He’s really not study very hard at all. His grades are falling and he’s more interested in playing video games than anything else.” Armei says to her husband Arhu one day. Whenever Armei says “your son”, Arhu knows that Jack has been doing something to annoy his mother Armei.

On a Sunday morning, when Armei is out shopping, Arhu starts the following conversation with his son. Jack is about fifteen now and he’s even taller than his father, but Arhu still treats him like a little boy who will take whatever his father says and run with it.

Arhu: “Jack, you need to work hard and stop playing your video games. Hardworking is our family tradition. You know, Jack, I arrived in New York City with only $100 in my pocket. Nothing else. No skills, no support, no connection, no prospect. However I work hard for twenty years and build us a life here in New Jersey.”

Jack: “That’s only partially true, isn’t it?”

Arhu: “It’s the truth. The whole truth. What do you mean partially true?”

Jack: “Although you don’t have connections in New York, you have all the connections back in Southeast Asia. This is why you can run your import-export business.”

Arhu: “Oh…” He is a little surprise at the response and tries to think of way to retort.

Jack: “You also grew up with three languages–Malay, Cantonese, English–which are essential skills for an international business.”

Arhu: “I sent you to weekend language tutoring, but you won’t learn.”

Jack: “I don’t have the language environment at all. My friends only want to speak English.”

Arhu: “I spent thousands and thousands of dollars for your tutoring …”

Jack: “That’s not all. Traditional values offered you a wife who would sacrifice everything for you without you making any effort to deserve it. You have all the advantages, while I’m the one who has to fight every inch of my way.”

Arhu: “What are you talking about? Is that what your mother is telling you behind my back? I am not making any effort to deserve her? I have to travel back and forth to run the business. I am often working like a dog just to support this family. I am not making any effort. How can you say that? How can your mother say such a thing?”

There’s a noise at the door.

“I am back.” Armei says, “and look at the discount durian I bought.”

Armei comes to the kitchen with arms full of grocery bags. Arhu stares at her, ready to start an argument.

21 thoughts on “Father And Son (Flash Fiction #54)

      1. From what I learnt in my class about diasporas I think the conflict stems from the different struggles each generation goes through. The first generation that immigrated usually suffers financially while the kids of immigrants tend to suffer socially as they attempt to assimilate with those in the host country.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That’s right on the spot. You really pointed out the struggle both generations have to go through. I know one or two second generation immigrants growing up in a Midwest town where their parents are the only non-white in the entire city or something similar. I really don’t know how such kids grow up and I definitely feel lucky that I didn’t grow up in such a situation. With my dysfunctional parents, I relied heavily on my school and my friends and my friends’ parents. I just can’t imagine …

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry, this is based on a real story and it is not heading anywhere, just like many of the real life argument. It has no winner and no ending. No solution. I wish I can come up with a good ending. LOL.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. It is based on a real conversation. The father thinks the son has all the advantage he has worked hard to provide, while the son thinks otherwise.


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