August 16th, 2014


(no subject)

When I was in high school, a set of Chinese twins entered my grade in the middle of the year. They were a boy and a girl, named Ving and Ling Shangguan.

Both of them were in my trigonometry class. Ving sat right next to me, and turned out to be pretty cool. He told me that I could cheat off of his test if I would do one thing for him. Since I was failing trig and would sell my soul for the answers, I said, "Sure, anything."

He asked me how to legally change his name. He was sick of the name "Ving"; and when I asked him what he wanted his new name to be, he said "Lee. Like in Bruce Lee." Can't say I blamed him.

Ling overheard us. She said that his name had been passed down for generations and that their parents would disown him if he changed it. He didn't care. I offered to drive Ving to the town hall after school. Ling insisted on tagging along, so I brought them both.

As soon as we got there, Ving went straight to the desk, demanded a form, and pulled out his birth certificate. He started scribbling information into the paperwork; but about halfway through he stopped, looking conflicted. Tears started welling in his eyes. Apparently, that ancestral stuff runs deep.

He told the receptionist that he'd changed his mind, and just couldn't do it. She told him that he would have to pay a fee to cancel his request. Ling was so glad that he changed his mind that she grabbed some cash out of her purse. She was just about to hand it to the receptionist when a man burst into the town hall.

He was a short, elderly Asian man; wearing neon shorts, an American flag t-shirt, and Ray-bans. Apparently, someone had gone native. "Dad?" Ving said, staring at the man, tears running down his cheeks.

The father ran up and embraced his son and daughter, a huge smile on his face. "Don't stop, be Lee, Ving. Hold on to that fee, Ling."