In feudal China, according to legend, a special mirror held a child’s soul. The mirror reflected not only the child’s image but also the love (or lack of it) that shaped the soul. If the mirror breaks, the soul will forever be distorted or damaged.
This superstition inspired the title of the book, “Broken Mirror: Inside a Chinese Marriage (published by Caelestis Production, 2017). This is a true-to-life account by Aurora Teo Mei Ling (not her real name), as told to writer Coyleen Gamboa. Aurora was chosen because it means dawn in English, as does Mei Ling in Chinese. All the names have been changed to protect the principal author’s children.
The book makes for painful, depressing reading although it is a twice-told tale, in fact, a tale told many times (recall the novel “The Kitchen God’s wife” by Amy Tan). And yet feminists and other women (along with men who respect women) can only react with anger. It is redeemed, by a hopeful ending.
Mei Ling lost her real mother at the age of 2, was the daughter of a philandering father, was treated cruelly by her stepmother, and as a young adult entered into relationships with men who abused her.
Eventually she married an immigrant from China, a naturalized Filipino, tried to be a traditional Chinese wife but only suffered misfortune upon misfortune, cruelty upon cruelty
“She’s getting out of the predicament,” said co-author Gamboa during the book launch, recently held at Fully Booked, Bonifacio Global City. “She is healing, looking at the possibility of love. So much pain, it was only recently that she spoke out. The book was hard to write, it was difficult for her to bring it out; it came out in bits and pieces.”
She added: No woman should stand this alone. Aurora speaks for women abused, not just Chinese. Other Asian women have similar problems. Other women are experiencing the same thing. This is not just a story for women but for broken people.”—CONTRIBUTED