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Dumplings and Sunsets

Updated: Mar 27

Dear Asian Youth,

Asian parents are strict. They are harsh and stern and unyielding, their words often sharp around the edges and their hugs and kisses scarce. While there are certainly bad parents in this world, it is a common misconception that all Asian parents are.

A misconception because mine, well, mine are everything but bad. Yes, “I love you”s and explicit words of affection are once in a blue moon: they are few and far between, infrequent and unfamiliar against our tongue, but like stars in the Milky Way, our love for each other is infinite. My parents may not be open in their affection, but nonetheless, their love can still be found, snuggled in the corners of onyx eyes, hidden in the soft curves of lips, and most often, tucked away safely inside food—sometimes salty and sometimes sweet—but always made with care.

I remember when I understood the significance of food in my household. It was a subtle realisation and there was no heartfelt speech or passionate confession. The moment of understanding was like the first snowfall, hushed and often unexpected, or like the sun settling below the horizon. Like the liquid gold of sunlight against green leaves in those brief moments of sundown, it was a quiet thing that one would merely take note of before moving on.

My dad and I had been making dumplings. I slid a little closer to him, my shoulder accidentally bumping into his elbow, causing flour to spill from his rough, calloused hands. He simply sighed, and with a shrug, he went back to deftly weaving the dough into dumplings. With my slender fingers, I smoothed out my own circle of dough, sticky and thin and dusted softly in flour. I was new to this, lacking the same dexterity as my dad who was making dumplings at twice the speed I was.