OPH: Yan Yan

June 30, 2017


The other day, I was in Inala doing my weekly Phamly dinner grocery shop with Dad Pham when I saw a little African boy begging and pleading with his mum for a box of Yan Yan in the store. Now, Inala if you recall is the Brisbane suburb where Struggle Street was filmed - it’s not known for wealthy residents with money to burn. I could tell when his Mum repeatedly said no, the way Mum Pham used to tell us no, was because money is tight and she needed to make the most of what she had - not because she didn’t want him to have sweet, sweet sugar.

Watching his shoulder slump as he tried and failed to get his Dad to say yes reminded me of the time I had a full on tantrum - throwing myself on the floor, thrashing about because Mum wouldn’t get me a pink and white jewellery box that was super expensive - $18 - what a brat I was. Dad ended up going back to the shops to get it because I wouldn’t stop crying, but now I’m older I realise she could feed our family for half a week for the price of that dumb (though much beloved, I played with it for years) toy box.

It upset my tummy to see parents who love their child not being able to justify $1.50 for a biscuit and chocolate treat. So I paid the cashier for the tub the little boy was still gripping while his Dad was telling him to put it back, and got an extra one for his brother who was sitting in a pram outside. As I left the shop, I handed the second box to his Dad and told him I got them both for his cute little boys. His dad’s face lit up and when he told his son he could keep the Yan Yan the boy was so happy it nearly made my heart burst. Other people’s happiness, it’s the best.

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