who is chingay || a photo-biography

 ..as a precocious two-year-old.

          Despite the apparent grimness of the life ahead of me, I was a happy child. Of course when you're a toddler you don't know what the word "bastard" means. Yes, I was one. The father field on my birth certificate was purposely left blank. I was loved, though, and that's all that mattered to me. That's all that matters, really.

 Birthday girl in 1979.

Life was okay. Mom worked while Mama Iyay took care of me. It was a pleasant arrangement-- worked out for everyone. Mom was living at this boarding house in San Andres at the time. I was the only kid there. I was everyone's baby, everyone's entertainment. Put me on the table and ask me to dance and I would gladly do so. Even at an early age, it was obvious that I enjoyed being the center of attention (the early beginnings of my self-absorption).

But anyway, a couple of birthdays later Mom met Dad-- the man responsible for the surname that I use now-- not my biological father, but the only father I have ever known.

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