Cindy Toh Mei Li,10
About Cindy Toh
Cindy Toh Mei Li is a 9-year-old who frequents Tak Takut Kids Club daily. Despite the challenges of growing up in a single-parent household where her Vietnamese mother understands very little English and shuttles between two jobs, Cindy finds her way to remain an articulate and imaginative child.
Mother, Nguyen Ngoc Thi Hien
Dish of Choice:
Fish sauce chicken wing
Have a listen to Cindy's reflection in this journey of documenting her mother cooking chicken wings or read on in the transcript below.
Shiyun: Is there something you would like to tell our listeners?
Cindy: Like… What kind?
Shiyun: Maybe you can share your experiences doing this project
Cindy: My kitchen is kinda squeezy, so I kinda had to like… squeeze everywhere (laughs)
Shiyun: You mentioned something during the process that I remember very clearly. You said that your mom is so fast in doing everything
Cindy: Yes. When I’m hungry, she cooks very fast like chicken and rice. When I told her when I’m hungry and I want ramen, she made the ramen in like 5 seconds and I was like “heh”
Shiyun: Do you feel like you always have to catch up with her?
Shiyun: But you’re like the opposite- Yeah I think you tend to do things fast
Cindy: Even if I have a family in the future, I think I will be a slow mother (Shiyun laughs) because I have so many chores to do for my kids
Shiyun: Yeah you might probably ask them to do everything
Cindy: Well I might not have a family, I might have a youtube channel
Shiyun: So the youtube channel is your family
Cindy: For my subscribers right (laughs)
Shiyun: Have you taken photographs of your mom?
Cindy: When I’m young
Shiyun: When you were younger? Not now anymore?
Cindy: I think I was around 3 or 4
Shiyun: Do you think about having photo albums?
Cindy: My mom… I don’t know. To me, is no.
Shiyun: To you, is no? So photo albums are not very important to you
Cindy: Well I think my mom is… I’m not sure yet. I don’t know her very well
Shiyun: You don’t know your mom very well
Cindy: Me and my mom don’t know each other very well, because I speak a lot of english and she gets confused by most of ‘em
Shiyun: Oh okay… confused with most of what you are saying?
Cindy: Because when she goes somewhere and meets people who speaks english to her, she’s like - this is why when she goes around, she always brings me around, just in case someone needed to speak english to her
Shiyun: Can you tell us a bit more about your mother?
Cindy: She has 2 jobs, one early in the morning, and another in the middle PM. Yesterday, I waited so long for my mom because she haven’t like, even come home, so me and my dad waited for her until the morning.
Shiyun: Was she working?
Cindy: Very late
Shiyun: So both of you couldn’t quite communicate that much, because she speaks vietnamese and chinese
Cindy: yeah, a little bit of chinese
Shiyun: A little bit of chinese, and you speak a little bit of vietnamese and english
Shiyun: How do you think in the future, both of you can communicate? Do you think about such things?
Cindy: I tried learning more vietnamese, sometimes my mom and my grandma speak to me in vietnamese. Some of them I understand, some of them, I don’t know yet
Shiyun: How is it like growing up as a Chinese vietnamese?
Cindy: I don’t think I’m a chinese I feel more like a english child
Shiyun: You feel like you’re an english child
Cindy: Because I was born here, so I speak a lot of english, to english people
Shiyun: If there was one day you could spend with your family, where would you want to bring them to?
Cindy: A vacation, where they could stop working and rest
Shiyun: Where would that be?
Cindy: I think I will try to bring them to Hawaii, try to let them speak english a little bit more
Shiyun: Where would you want to bring them to again?
Shiyun: Oh, wow. So that they can speak more english
Cindy: Well, try