Archive for June, 2014

Gaimosou Rage

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on June 10, 2014 by lelandwong


This was a sketch I did two years ago while teaching students in my Anti-Violence Through Art workshop how to draw. Using a speedball B-3 nib and a bottle of drawing ink, I demonstrated drawing lines, cross hatching for shading and using an ink wash. The guy in this drawing is not me, though it wound up looking a bit like me. The woman in the background is you-know-who.

I have had this hanging in the basement above the washing machine ever since. I recently took a picture and cleaned it up in Aviary in my iPhone. Then I posted it on my FB page. I clipped it onto my hard drive. Which was how it wound up here.

Many of us kids who grew up with first generation Chinese parents in my times have experienced being disciplined with the feather duster, also know as gaimosou in cantonese. It’s a thin rattan stick covered with chicken feathers on one end. Normally it is used for dusting furniture, shelves or what have you. The other use when flipped over, was a lethal weapon used to whip kids, inflict pain and to discipline. Many Chinese Americans in my generation have experienced being disciplined with the gaimosou. It was a very traumatic experience for many and bears many bad memories and flashbacks. Not only parents used the gaimosou, but so did Chinese school teachers. The painful sting lashing of the gaimosou left welts on the body and crying so hard that you ran out of breath.

The worst beating I ever got was when I accidentally closed the store door on my father’s hand. He got enraged and chased me. I ran in fear out of the store and stayed out till very late because I feared being beaten when I returned to the store/home. As it became very late like 1 or 2am I returned due to hunger and cold but only stayed outside. My brother chased me to beat me up and I ran. This went on for awhile and my parents had to call the police to get me to go back home. I was really afraid. I even told the police that they were going to beat me. But it was not their job in those days. When I went back into the closed store/home and as soon as the police left and the door closed, both my parents ganged up on me with the gaimosou. I was literally on the floor against the front door crying in pain. The beating lasted for quite awhile. They eventually stopped and left me crying into the night on the floor. Forgot how old I was at the time, but I think I was in junior high already.

How and when was it that my parents stop beating me? Sometimes while I was in junior high. I think I was in the eighth grade already. My father rarely beat me but my mother did most of it. She would beat me with the gaimosou and I would not react. Not even cry nor show any emotion. I just looked at her. I think this happened about three or four times and she stopped beating me. I guess that was when I was becoming a young man.