"Number One Son"
As children we come to appreciate our parents, sometimes that is only realized when they are not there. In Monfoon Leong’s “Number One Son” the character Ming relates to this phrase after his father passes away. After the passing of his father Ming becomes head of the household due to an old Oriental tradition where the oldest son is head of the house if any thing should happens to the father. Due to this Ming must take the heavy burden of supporting the family, doing so creates a harsh resentment towards his now deceased father. “All he could feel was a harsh resentment against the man who had been hardly aware of his existence and who had just left him with a family to support. This was not the only cause of this emotion but also the connection between him and his father, which was not there.
Working in a restaurant washing dishes wasn’t enough to support and feed his family even with Ming working since he was nine and now as a houseboy. Upon finding out about his father’s death he feel that he’s just someone else that’s in a crowd “Ming wondered and reproached himself even as he wondered if he real cared any more than those strangers did that his father has died”. After his father passed away his mother considered notifying him but she decided not to. Taking into consideration that Ming might lose his job she didn’t call him.
“ His father who left him with empty bowls to fill”. The fact that Ming’s father left them with nothing was not unknown to the people around them. Grandfather Choak who came from the same village in china as Ming’s mother.Grandfather chaok came to gather money for Minh's father funeral.while going to gather the money Mr.Chung thought of Ming's father as a failure."Young man must face truth about father. He was a failure as father and failure as man.Must depend on others even when he's dead".Due to Mr.Chung's comment Ming felt angered and also offended. In contrast to Mr.Chung's opinions Widow Loo felt that his father was a good man at heart.Even when he himself did not have much he still helped her."Many times your father helped me and children. He had little money but much heart".Similar to Widow Loo's opinion, Kwon Kimwho is a herbalist thought the same of Ming's father."Father of Ming was a good father","Everyday I saw him go by carrying cakes back for children", say Kwon Kim.
Nearing the closing of the story Ming's mother tells him of the watch that his father has left behind for him.Finding out that his father cared enough to leave him a token displayed he cared for his son.When Ming sees the inscription inside the watch says "For Ming My Son". Now realizing that his father had tried to the best of his ability to love and support the family only by seeing it through the eyes of others.