No Recollection The Day My Parents Disappeared.
Kim was 40 years old and married with 2 sons. She had been suffering from mild depression since she was in her younger teen years. She recalled that when she was in kindergarten, her perennial query when she noticed her playmates’ parents coming and going at the centre, was where were her parents. She would question her aunty and uncle, who had brought her up since she was a child, who her parents were, but they would invariably change the subject of discussion with her. When she turned 18 years, her guardians took her aside and began to disclose her family’s background.
Their ancestral village was in the outskirts of Beijing, and Kim was the daughter of a Party official. Sometime during the 1966 to 1976 Chinese Cultural Revolution, Red Guards arrested her parents, when she was about 4 years old. Her father’s brother, also a Party official, spirited her away immediately after her parents were arrested, and one of their extended family members brought her to Singapore, and left her with her present guardians, who were distant relatives of her mother. The extended family then dispersed throughout China to escape the tyranny of the Red Guards. Nothing was heard about her parents’ whereabouts or condition, as any inquiries about them may implicate other members of the family, drawing unnecessary attention and persecution on their extended family. Years after the Revolution, the family received news that Kim’s parents had been separated and sent to different labour camps; her mother had succumbed to poor health, while her father was court-marshalled by the Red Guards and subsequently killed. No photographs of her parents were found, as their home was looted, and all photos relating to her immediate family were destroyed by her relatives in China, again due to fears of being connected to her family. Kim grieved for her losses over a period of time. Nevertheless, she was grateful and thankful to her guardians for the information about her family, for bringing her up as though she was their only child, with so much love and care, and in providing for her education and seeing her through university. She thought no more about it, but her mild dysthymic depression persisted.
As we began to delve into her past, Kim was able to vaguely recall that her earliest memories were those in Singapore, when she was about 5 years old. We worked our way at a pace she was comfortable, attempting to derive some causation for her depression, if any, quite apart from guiding her through a grief cycle that she had earlier prematurely terminated. Subsequently, with her permission, we induced Kim into a trance state and attempted to explore her earlier forgotten years. When we arrived at 4 years old, she suddenly gasped and screamed, covering her face with both her hands, despite the fact that her eyes were already closed. After two minutes, she resumed her normal composure. I enquired what took place earlier. Still in a trance, she said, “My mother hurriedly carried me to their bedroom and left me inside their large wardrobe. She told me to stay there and not to make any noise. Seconds later, I heard people shouting and screaming at the top of their voices in our home. This went on seemingly for a long time. Then suddenly, the door of the wardrobe flew open, and I saw a young lady in green uniform staring at me. For a second we looked into each other’s eyes. That was when I screamed just now. Then she put a finger to her lips to indicate that I should keep quiet, and closed the wardrobe. I lost count of the time. Much later, the house became very quiet. Then a relative came and took me away. I never saw my parents again.” In the subsequent weeks, Kim’s depression disappeared.