Key Four: Kwan:
Ning Kwan came from a long line of proud Chinese traders. In her youth, she was a force to be reckoned with. She learned her business savvy from her father. Kwan had to be the one to keep the Ning clan together, especially in this situation.
Kwan sat at her desk in the office. She had done everything to keep her clan afloat during these dark times. If left to their own devices, her son and wife would drive the clan into the ground. What was he thinking to marry a common foreigner? Some clans in China fought to keep the bloodline pure. No foreigners could be allowed to wed heirs. Her son’s case was dire one.
Oh boy. Where to begin with this wayward son? Kwan’s son couldn’t keep it in his pants. His mother did the best that she could. Finest education, stable homelife, more attention than humanly possible. But, where did she go wrong? Her son seemed more interested in girls than the family business. He didn’t have strong man role models in his life to set him straight. (His father is another story for another time. Back to mother and son.)
Her first mistake? Letting him go aboard. Kwan had a close eye on her son until he was fifteen. China didn’t seem to be the place for him to grow and learn about the world. Kwan found herself in a difficult position. On the one hand, it would be good for him to grow. But, he already started to develop some womanizing ways. If let unattended, she feared what would happen next. Against her better judgement, she agreed to let him go.
Kwan let her son to go away to an international school. He promised that he would behave. Only studying aloud. No partying. No drinking. No drugs. No sex. The son promised that he would behave. That lasted… About… One week.
And then the son got bored.
It was a Friday night when the mess began. He was supposed to be studying in his dorm. But, the need for excitement came back. He didn’t want to ignore it. That’s when there was a knock on his door.
“Come in!” he shouted. His buddies walked into the dorm.
“Hey man!” one of them said. “There’s a crazy party tonight! You have to come with us!” The son hesitated at first. But then, he smiled.
“Sure!” he said. The group of boys headed off to the party. This was how he spent his weekends in Japan. He met and got along with many Japanese and foreign girls at these parties. It was where the son met his wife.
Now for the mother.
There’s not much to say about her. Nothing too bad, at least. Nothing that great either. She was just foreigner. The son was drunk when he made her. He made quite the impression when he threw up on her skirt. Then, he passed out at her feet. Such a first impression, huh? Usually, that would be the end of it. But somehow, he won her over.
The next night, the son apologized to the girl for ruining her skirt and offered to pay for the cleaning. She gave him a strange look.
“Why are you doing this for me?” the young girl asked.
“I just want to apologize for last night,” he said.
“Why?” she asked.
“It’s how I was raised,” the son said. He sounded so earnest too. The girl shifted in place first before puffing up her cheeks.
“Fine,” she said. “Apology accepted.” The son bowed.
“Thank you!” he shouted. They hung out with each other for the rest of the night. To make a long story short, they ended up dating for two years.
And then she got pregnant.
Oh boy. They were seventeen when it happened. Naturally, the son was freaked out.
“Are you sure?” he asked.
“Yes,” she said.
“Damn it!” he said. But he vowed to take responsibility. That’s how he was raised after all. The hardest part was telling his mother. Oh buddy. He debated on how to do this for weeks. Finally, he sucked it up and made the call.
Naturally, Kwan was pissed.
“You are coming home right now!” she screamed over the phone.
“But…” the son said.
“I don’t want to hear it!” she snapped. “You are taking the next flight home tomorrow!” Kwan hung up before he could speak. The thing she feared the worst finally happened. Now, she would have to prevent further scandal to the clan.
Kwan ended up going to Japan and meeting with the girl’s family. They were just as shocked and hurt as she was.
“We raised you better than that!” the girl’s father shouted. His daughter wouldn’t even look at him. The families decided that it would be better if the young couple got married before the baby was born. The daughter-in-law ended up living in Hong Kong with the rest of the Ning clan. The elders didn’t take too kindly to one of their own marrying a foreigner. The son’s cousins were always whispering about her. Still, the couple would make it work.
Then Ami was born.
Her parents spoiled her rotten. They pretty much let her do what she wanted to do. If it wasn’t for Kwan stepping in the be the disciplinary force, Ami would’ve been worse off. Alas, history repeated itself. This time, this seemed to be worse. Kwan refused to let it be so.
The old woman lit up her cigarette with a cold look in her eyes. “And you’re sure about this?” Bookman sat in front of her desk.
“Yes,” he said.
“Okay, tell us what to do next,” Kwan said.