Saturday, 28 April 2012

Y for Ying

Ying, means Jade. That green gem stone that exudes beauty and energy. A name like that should bestow on its owner the same powerful positive energy, one would imagine.


The newspaper notice was looking for girls to work as kitchen hands and look after children in the orphanage. It paid little money, but better than nothing at all. Her family had too many children and they were digging for tapioca roots by the river to survive. If she brought home some money, father would regret less that she was the first born daughter rather than son.

All this time she had dressed up in boys clothes and wore her hair short. This was the general advice for girls. 

"The invaders will snatch your girls," it was whispered in the village. She didn't even wash her face everyday to appear unattractive.

To day however she washed, combed her hair and confidently turned up at the recruitment site. She crowded together with other girls of varying age, some as young as ten years old. 

She eagerly boarded a truck with the others and after an hours ride told to get off. It was a remote area with the jungle in the periphery. The wooden structure could have been a kitchen or orphanage. Secretly she hope for the kitchen job, more food available. Perhaps she could smuggle some out for her family.

She did not get the kitchen or orphanage job.

She was lucky to receive a bowl of soggy rice a day. She lived in a tent with three other girls. 

Ying was raped by the soldiers, never less than twenty a day. In two months her body was broken. She was a rag doll shaken to the end. It seemed like the fever never left her.

So much for a name like Jade. The only colour she lived with was army green and green pus.

When the war was lost, she too had lost five years of her life, all her incisors and stopped having her periods.

The liberators were sympathetic and appalled in the same breath. She returned to her family in shame.

2 comments:

Von L Cid said...

Wow. Such a sad tale. Very well laid out.

Kate O'Mara said...

Sad but not uncommon story. I just saw the play UNRELENTING RELAXATION (same subject but WWII). If you get a chance to see it, it's moving.