about the author:
Ricky Tsang was a pillar in our Duchenne community for years. From his website DearRicky.com, to his Facebook group We Are Dystrophin, to his first book, Ridiculous: The Mindful Nonsense of Ricky’s Brain, Ricky’s priority was helping and advocating for our community – well, that and romancing women.
Shortly before passing away in 2016, Ricky shared the manuscript for his second book with me. It was never published and we would like to share it now with our DMD community.
“Inspirational: My Big Mechanical Derriere”
—Chapter 1, Part 4—
My childhood back home, the best word to describe it would probably be “sweet.”
I’ll never forget the traffic jams at Lion Rock, and comforting sounds of my parents shuffling through coins before passing the tunnel on our way to the grandparents’. I loved the condensed milk on toast Aunt Lisa made for my younger cousin, Alan, and me, whenever we finished playing there. She often took us down the street to snack on the newest treats.
We loved pretending to fly spaceships, fighting to be the captain. I outsmarted the kid when I suggested zero and let him have it so I could be number one. It was hilarious, but I didn’t think Aunt Miranda liked me very much for picking on her son and being a bad influence. She never failed to frighten me in teacher mode with her pointy index finger.
On Dad’s side of the family, I didn’t get to spend as much time with my aunts until we immigrated to Canada, though they used to fight over me. We played a lot of cards, Go Fish in particular, and also at the park. Thinking about those memories, I remember always making them show me a picture book that was way too big to hold. I loved looking at the intestinal tract diagram and following the imaginary poo with my finger.
Aunt Clara loved correcting my kindergarten homework. It never failed to end in an argument when I yelled at her, and I wasn’t even five! I prefer assignments that had a bit more productivity, as in multitasking with Voltron: Defender of the Universe and Thundercats. Grandma was much nicer. She let us stay up to watch beauty pageants while waiting for my parents to come home after dates. They returned with new toys every time. I’ve many fond memories of my Rambo weapon kit.
Indeed. I was spoiled rotten, and even the time when Mom was sick in bed, she gave me a surprise present that had been stashed away. Yet on that stormy day, I didn’t have an appetite for plastic vegetables because I was sad that I didn’t have her to play with.
Nevertheless, my greatest memories lie in delicious food, especially since I grew up watching Mrs. Fong’s cooking. We dined regularly at the Giant Bumblebee as a family for a taste of French cuisine. I loved ordering the garlic butter escargot with garlic mashed potatoes, and also the ice cream that followed at the 7 Eleven nearby. I recall only going to McDonald’s once for a birthday party, but we were never introduced to fast-food until after entering Canadian borders. Almost everything we ate was homemade.
Though, it was pretty disastrous I finally succeeded in using chopsticks. Showing off the prize to everyone at the table, I was absolutely thrilled to have secured my first ever piece of food. I had a huge grin on my face as I put it in my mouth, but when I chewed and all of them laughed, I immediately realized the truth. Mom made stir-fried bitter gourd with beef, but the supposed animal in my mouth was nowhere to be found!
Sweet foods, however, were definitely the best. There were baked sweet potatoes, roasted chestnuts, fried stinky tofu, noodles and congee, and my favorite, curried pork rinds with fish meatballs. We had that on a boat bistro after biking along the river.
Weekends were so much fun. Mom took us to the bookstore before going to dim sum during Dad’s lunch break. His company dinners were grand and his coworkers loved us. I’ll never forget the “beggar’s chicken” baked in a clay shell that we had to break open. We still have those miniature golden hammers.
It was a tradition to visit the theatre to see the latest Jackie Chan movies. I wonder sometimes why violence is seemingly more acceptable than nudity. Why it’s okay to subject a child to brutal kicks and jabs, and people falling off balconies, when the slightest hint of a nipple appears, you have to cover your eyes. I think it turned out pretty well … maybe?
Dad and I had the best adventures. We loved wrestling in the big bed and turning out the lights with a flashlight in hand, looking for hidden treasures, or Mom’s jewelry box. I so enjoyed the time he gave me a piggyback ride down the jungle behind the apartment building to visit the old banana farmer. We talked for a while and I think he gave us a few of his fruits. I recall sitting in our green Mazda, watching a strange man leave the parking lot with the same Hawaiian T-shirt as Dad’s. Did we really suspect he broke into our home to steal that ugly thing?