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A Family Heirloom

2006-07-29 11:20

  VISITING my friend's new home, I found everything there brand-new except the bed in his parents' room, a glaring incongruity in the impressive residence. Yet the happy host was proud of it, declaring it the only item of his own decision against the interior designer's advice.

  The old bed was his parents' purchase in the hardest times for the family. For decades, it had been where the household enjoyed their night's repose after a day's toil, either early in their thatched hut or later in their HDB flat. “And that's where we've originated from —— all my siblings and me,” quipped my friend in his habitually humorous way.

  When he planned to move into the newly bought house, his parents asked to have the bed kept for them if they were to live with their son. For the younger generation, staying “in” means discarding whatever is no more new; but for the older people, it is unthinkable to throw away used but still usable things, not to mention an article of furniture that has been functioning so well all the time.

  At first, my friend couldn't understand his parents' dogged insistence, while the designer suggested, as a compromise solution, that the bed be reshaped into an antique instead.

  But the sense of attachment —— how could it be reshaped, if not to be thrown away?

  Instantly, that retort enlightened the son and settled the issue. And so the old bed has now become my friend's most cherished possession, a real family heirloom.(Translated by Allen Zhuang)

  家宝

  到友甲的豪华新宅参观,只见一样是旧的东西:他父母亲房间的床铺。看起来,是多么的不和谐。友甲却为此沾沾自喜,这是他惟一不听从设计师意见的地方。

  老床铺,这是他父母在他们最穷困的时候购置的,从亚答屋到组屋,数十年来,这张床是他们一天劳苦后最安宁的“休息所”。友甲生性幽默,还说:“我们兄弟姐妹都是这张床上的产物呢。”

  朋友置豪宅,父母只提一个同住的条件:保留床铺。对于年轻人来说,流行的同义就是丢,但对于老一辈的人来说,只有坏的东西才丢,把旧但有用的物品丢弃,何况是天天睡得好好的床铺,是令人无法想像的。

  友甲起先还不了解父母的“顽固”,设计师还提出了把床铺当古董改装的折衷方法。

  感情既然不能丢,那还有能改的吗?

  一言惊醒梦中人——这张老床铺,已成了友甲家中最令他称心的家宝。

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