I Love My Horse

Saya Sayang Kuda Saya 1

My father didn’t tell my mother the truth when she became pregnant with me, she was a young girl around 18, idealistic, in love, but she never knew my father had another family, when he broke the news to her, the news broke her heart, it damaged her, it shamed her, it brought the scorn of the community upon her, and she was labeled a bad girl. Nobody understood she was in love and she didn’t know my father had another family. Her pregnancy with me had changed her life for the worse in some degree that affects her until today. I am so sorry for her and my dad.

She never saw my father again nor spoke to him or spoke of him, she was hurt beyond description. I don’t blame her at the same time it was so long ago. What happened between her and my dad had nothing to do with me. But in the end I was the recipient of this doomed relationship.

My grandmother planned and arranged my birth in secrecy in the General Hospital of Taipei. My grandmother and my mother in order to hide the shame that was embodied in me, found foster parents in a Taiwanese couple in Taipei. The Taiwanese couple, I found out later, was paid USD50 a month to take me in as their child to keep me and to house me. The Taiwanese couple had three sons of their own, were very poor and lived in a small apartment on the 3rd floor of an apartment building. Later I realized their poverty and was sorry for them.

I am sorry to say the Taiwanese family never treated me very well, they never kept me as their own, there was no love, affection, kisses, hugs nor genuine care that I can ever recall. Even if not love, at least take care of the young boy that you were paid to do. I was often punished, made to kneel on rice for hours late into the nights, told off, and teased to the point of cruelty by their three sons. I was often not properly washed, and smelled. I didn’t have proper clothing, no toys, not many friends my age although my school was nearby. I remember vividly always getting white rice mixed with sugar to eat as my main meals daily to the point where my teeth were completely rotten. I didn’t know or realize that this couple was not my parents, I didn’t understand I wasn’t loved or treated well. I was too young.

Often after school I would sneak upstairs to the 3rd floor, and leave my school bag on the steps and escaped into the streets. At the age of 5 or 6, I was stealing money to buy bread to eat. One of my favorites was hot steamy Pao bread make of white flour which was sold by the street vendors. I used to stay on the streets or sneak into various shops where I was allowed to stay to watch TV. When it became very late, I would sneak back home and sneak upstairs, hoping against hope that I would not be caught. Against all reasoning, I was often caught and punished, but if I stayed home, I would have been punished anyway. I was hungry, lonely, and affection-starved, and I wandered the streets in our large urban neighborhood to escape home.

Even now, at 47 years old, I remember vividly those days. Sometimes, it brings wonderment that anyone would treat a child this way. I look at my childhood picture as if it was another person. I see the boy on the horse was a bright, strong, smiling, healthy young boy and wonder why this boy was abandoned by his mother and his father. I look at this picture and wonder why this boy had to be given away, suffer and be without love in order to erase a shame that he was not responsible for. I look at this boy in the picture and think possibly how could anyone beat him, punish him, and starve him? These questions have often run through my mind for over three decades now.

I have stopped asking those questions recently and realize it just happened. Karma for sure. I forgive those who were responsible for the neglect and pain given to this boy in the picture who was me. I have stopped wondering why this child didn’t have a family, loving parents, support, care and all the things that children deserved. I have stopped wondering why this boy was not aborted while inside his mother’s womb.

There was a ray of light because I remember a tall, stately, smiling and very loving elderly woman who used to come a few times a year to visit me. I didn’t know who she was, she never told me and my caregivers the Taiwanese couple also never told me. This elderly lady used to hug me, kiss me, playfully tease me and would bring wonderful new clothes, treats, toys, shoes, and my favorites candy tootsie rolls, I never knew who she was until I was older, but I loved her visits. I was later to find out she was my mother’s mother, or rather my grandmother, I don’t ever remember my mother visiting me.

Saya Sayang Kuda Saya 2

One day, on one of these visits by my grandmother, she brought me the most exciting gift, it was a toy horse, it was beige in color, and it was strong, and on wheels, and had springs, the wheels were hidden under the hooves, and when I rode on it, it would gently bounce and move, I had never seen or had such a wonderful toy, it was amazing. I was so happy and I loved my horse. My grandmother only stayed for a few hours on each visit as far as I can remember. When she went away, the Taiwanese couple took my horse away, and the clothes, and the gifts, and the tootsie rolls. I never saw the horse again except for that one time. My grandmother never knew, and I was too young to tell her that many of the items she gave me, I only enjoyed while she was there. Otherwise they were taken away from me. I didn’t know what my Taiwanese caregivers did with these items. In retrospect, because they were poor maybe they sold them off, but I know most of the items were taken or put away. A few things like some clothes and some items were given to me to wear or use when only my grandmother showed up to see me, otherwise I would never be able to enjoy those items.

I found this picture of myself riding my horse in Taipei, Taiwan, that was given to me by my grandmother, I remember this horse fondly. I remember what happened vividly. I remember my grandmother who gave me this horse which was her love to me. I love my grandmother. I loved my horse.

Tsem Rinpoche

Related links:

My childhood in Taiwan: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=8065

Photo album: Taiwan, where I was born: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=16110

Picture of my grandmother: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=4610

Picture of my mother (1): http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=4608

Picture of my mother (2): http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=4604

Picture of my father: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=4607

My short bio in pictures: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=10916


I have not had contact with my mom in decades. She still refuses contact and she lives in the USA. I am in contact with my dad. He lives in Chengdu now. But we rarely see eachother. I wish my mom and dad well. I really wish I can have a relationship with my mom. I miss her. I am sorry mom. I wrote this as a biographical book will come out about me. We are a part of eachother’s world even though you don’t want to be due to your pain. May your pain heal mom.


Translation Disclaimer from Tsem Rinpoche’s blog 

This translation is the work of a third party translator external to the Kechara Organisation. Should confusion arise in the interpretation of the Indonesian versions of the materials of this page, the English version will be considered as accurate. While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the translation, portions may be incorrect. Any person or entity who relies on information obtained from the article does so at his or her own risk.

© The copyright to this article is held by Tsem Tulku Rinpoche. It may be downloaded, printed and reproduced only for personal or classroom use. Absolutely no downloading or copying may be done for, or on behalf of, any for-profit commercial firm or other commercial purpose without the explicit permission of Tsem Tulku Rinpoche. For this purpose, contact Ooi Beng Kooi or Phng Li Kim of Kechara Media and Publication Liaison.


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