Eyes | Lee Yoong Shin

I’ve been here for a very long time, so long that I lost count. Zhen Zhen died. Ying Ying died. One day it’ll be my turn, to die the same way that Zhen Zhen and Ying Ying died. My only prayer is for that “one day” to come as soon as possible.

I hear the familiar creak of the opening of the door and I sense sunlight. He’s coming for me, and all of us who are still alive. I know what’s happening next. I want to scream, I want to struggle, but I’m just too sick and too tired.

He jabs me with something sharp, like how he does every morning and every night, and I hear myself moaning.

After successfully locating the right spot, he enters me. Loud, high-pitched voice escapes from my throat.

He does not care about the pain I’m suffering. Not that he needs to, since I have nowhere to escape. He enters me, again and again, and I know he won’t stop until he sees liquid leaving my body. It is so painful that I have to chew my hands to distract myself, trying to be grateful of the fact that I still have hands left to chew on. One of Ting Ting’s hands were cut off, and Ming Er now has no hand to chew on.

I feel the last drip of liquid leaving me and that’s when he pulls out, leaving me alone once again, with nothing to look forward to, spending my time in a space so small that I can’t even turn around or move, only to be tortured again tomorrow morning.

Familiar creak of the opening of the door and I know he has left.

Then the door creaks again. Ah, I see we have new friends. The door only creaks twice every day – once in the morning, the next in the night – for purposes of torturing us. When it creaks in the afternoon, it means more of our friends are captured.

I glance at the opened door, wondering how our new friend looks like.

He comes in with a cub next to him.

My eyes meet the cub’s eyes. I see fear.

Those bright eyes, those extremely bright eyes, working like a mirror, allow me to see my reflection, bringing me back to the past where I no longer belong.


Many years ago I had a very happy life in the forest.

Then one day these people came and captured us all, and caged us.

“Xiong Dan, bu ah!” I heard one of them saying while preparing the catheter that he was going to use to milk us.

(“Bear bile, good stuff!”)

“Ke bu shi ma! Mai le xiong dan, za men jiu fa la!” The other laughed in a way that scared me.

(“Of course! Sell it off and we’ll be rich!”)

I had not smiled since the day I was captured, and I became more depressed when my parents died from cancer.


I don’t know this cub, but there’s something about it that makes me feel extremely uneasy.

My eyes meet its eyes again. Those eyes seem to be saying “Are you going to let me suffer like the rest of you?”


With all my might I struggle and break free from the chains and the cage. I run towards the cub, and before anyone or anything can stop me, I slap the cub again and again, finally killing him.

I might not be able to save you, but I won’t let you suffer like the rest of us either.

Aiming my paws at my heart, I kill myself.


Lee Yoong Shin writes regularly at The Writer’s Tower and co-authored “Fa Lv Xi De Xiao Tou” (The Thief from Law Faculty) in 2008.


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