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  • Ann Liu

Tam Som Rul

Updated: May 13, 2022

My grandmother painted this

My eyes are watching this

Through this, I am walking

Siem Reap slows down into an 80s Taiwanese memory

Something reminds me of her as I walk past every alley

A living carousel of my ancestry

A small boy sits in the doorway

Upon a green plastic chair

Nursing a cat in his arms like a new mama holds her baby.

Perfectly happy just sitting there

Nowhere to go, nothing to be

Simply a boy, nuzzling a cat

The road is bordered with red clay dirt

I want to grab a handful for my art

“Keep this color in mind” I say to myself

A man drives past me, asks automatically,

“Tuk Tuk?”

I kindly shake my head “No thank you”

I keep walking

A boxy storefront with a single empty barbers chair and artifacts of hair clippings on the ground

Seemingly everyone vanished mid haircut

No barber. No customer. Just space

“I must capture this with my phone,” I whisper to myself,

I pause... I refuse to pull my phone out

“Tuk Tuk?”

I kindly shake my head, “No thank you”

I keep walking

A laundry shop with two little girls pretending to manage paperwork and customers

Like miniature adults, rushing to grow up, going so fast

I turn my head, one girl glances over, already smiling, as if she knew I’d been stumped

My heart fills and I keep walking

A Facebook “ding” comes from the device,

I resist and keep walking

And then I see my grandmother

A greasy apron around her waist from cooking breakfast, she walks down an alley,

A bouquet of morning glory cradled in her arms to prepare for lunch

I wish I could walk beside her, and hold her hand,

The way she would let me,

Slightly limping, she keeps walking

“Tuk Tuk?”

I kindly shake my head, “No thank you”

I keep walking

An entry into a local school is to my right

I look in and see a courtyard of trees

The kind my grandmother painted with her watercolors

Leaves on red coral fire with lagoon green tips

I take another note, “I must paint this memory”

My grandmother painted this

My eyes are watching this

My heart is feeling this

I keep walking


Ann Liu is the creator of Anahata Studio, a playful space for art, story and online experiences to open the heart. Topics on personal growth, intimacy, authentic communication, and creativity are covered in her work. Ann creates a guided space for people to go deeper within, to discover more about themselves and their relationships through written word, painted paper and connection activities. Ann weaves story and art together, reflecting on how we can fully experience our vulnerability and strengths in the world as acts of social change, service and love.

Connect with her at

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