My long-time friend Anne is one of the most fascinating, highly intelligent persons I’ve known. It’s hard to keep up with her but she does pause for friends like me.
Born in Brunei, Dr. Anne Ku was raised in Taiwan and Okinawa, studied at Duke University on full scholarship, earned her PhD from London Business School, lived and worked in eight countries in the finance and energy industries. On sabbatical, she studied music composition at Utrecht Conservatory in the Netherlands, married a Dutch classical guitarist, Robert Bekkers who is currently doing his PhD in music in Boston while Anne is working in Hawaii on clean energy. Anne started blogging in mid-1990s way before the word ‘blog’ was coined, plays chamber music and produces concerts.
Yesterday Anne sends me this delightful poem of herself which I absolutely love. It’s not everyday we get to read a poem and would like to share it with you.
WHERE I AM FROM
I am from the hot, steamy Shanghainese soup dumplings,
hand-folded by a skinny old couple,
their life story forever etched on my canvas,
the nostalgic taste unmatched by any
in Taipei, Singapore, New York,
my search the world over.
I am from worn and torn second-hand sheet music,
a treasure hunt in the basement
of a hidden London bookstore,
collected over thirty years,
arranged alphabetically in four bookcases,
reduced to two shelves
after an abrupt summer.
I am from handwritten letters stacked in a suitcase
that reek of heartbreak and desire,
old photographs packed in plastic albums,
stashed inside sealed cardboard boxes
alongside unused personal gifts
preserved in the secret loft.
I am from the overseas Chinese who funded the revolution,
the multi-lingual third culture kid,
comfortable in any country,
yet a foreigner everywhere,
being told “stop posing and showing off,”
from the red convertible in Houston
to the blue LEAF in Maui.
I am from subtropical typhoons,
penning sonnets at the seawall,
teenage choir accompanist, chief organist,
five services per week,
twenty piano students,
keyboardist, all at age sixteen.
I am from old Dutch cheese, hard and pungent,
sweet licorice candy and tea,
a wedding in a medieval fortress in Naarden Vesting,
a restored monument house by the quiet lock,
twin tatami mats in the garden house,
lawn trimmed for outdoor Himalayan yoga and
summertime coal-fired barbecues.
I am from counting six time zones each day
by Facetime, Facebook, and Skype,
the goal to simplify and shed,
out of reach, out of sight,
waiting for his doctorate.
—- Anne Ku, Wailuku, 6 – 16 September 2013