Thank you for telling me about the girl. He must marry a Chinese.
I was mostly concerned about the school; your son with a student,
the issue of appearances.
That too. Get someone else to take your second- period class this
morning. We will go to Saigon to address this problem, this new directive.
Why dont you think about it first, Headmaster?
I have decided. Mak was right, of course. It was easy to hire a
Vietnamese teacher but now Percival felt the imperative of his stubbornness,
and the elation of exercising his position.
Ill call Mr. Tu. He is discreet. But Chen Pie Sou, remember it is
our friends in Saigon who allow us to exist. Mak used Percivals Chinese
name when he was being most serious.
And we make it possible for them to drink their cognac, and take
foreign holidays. Come on, our gwan hai is worth something, isnt it?
If the connections were worth their considerable expense, why not use
them? Mak shrugged, and slipped out.
Had Percival been too harsh on Dai Jai? Boys had their adventures.
But a boy could not understand the hearts dangers, and Dai Jai was
at the age when he might lose himself in love. A good Chinese father
must protect his son, spare him the pain of a bad marriage to some
Annamese. The same had destroyed Chen Kai, even though she was a
second wife. Now, the Vietnamese language threatened to creep into
Chen Hap Sing. Looking out over the square, watching the soldiers
clean their rifles with slow boredom, he saw it. The events had come
together like a pair of omens, this new language directive and Maks
mention of Dai Jais infatuation. Under no circumstance could he allow
Vietnamese to be taught in his school. He must be a good example to his
son, of being Chinese. Percival went downstairs and found Han Bai, his
driver, eating in the kitchen. He told him to buy the usual gifts needed
for a visit to Saigon, and to prepare the Peugeot to go to a meeting.
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