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         I know little about my father. I do know that he was a Choon Chu (a sort of cargo clerk or purser) on a coastal steamer that plied (1) Singapore and the Indonesian archipelago.
         He held all of us in the family (2) a tight leash. He imposed a curfew, which meant we missed the best parts of the Teochew street wayang. We broke the curfew once and my two brothers got the caning of their lives. (3) the youngest, I was spared.
         My father became blind when he was (4)his forties. An operation on both his eyes at Bandoeng failed. Why Bandoeng? As far as I know, there was no eye surgeon in Singapore (5) the time. In Bandoeng there were Dutch surgeons. (6), the operation was done in that fabled city (7) Java. I was six years old then. I became my father's eyes, taking him (8) the hand to where he wanted to go.
         (9) my father had not been blind, the whole path of my life would have been very different. (10) one, I would not have had to quit my studies at Raffles Institution after passing my Standard VII. Yet I have no regrets of having the harsher path paved for me through my father's blindness.
         (Adapted from Wee Kim Wee: Glimpses and Reflections)


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