The Moon and the Sun

The Moon and the Sun

A Chapter by Haeshin

The pressures of a new life in a new land may destroy a family of three.




"The sun blinds, the moon shines, the stars await in the sky."


Weeks before Shawn's thirteenth birthday his father dies and leaves behind nothing but debt. To save themselves from going to jail or the streets, Shawn moves with his mother and sister to China to live with the family of his father's first wife. None of them knows the language or the culture, which brings on one problem after another despite the kind-hearted intentions of their relatives. Shawn's isolated at school, his sister Mina is bullied, and their mother becomes an alcoholic when she can't cope with their neighbors cold-shoulder attitudes.


The only one who speaks any English at all is Renshu, Shawn's older half brother. Nineteen years old and blind, Renshu lives a normal life working as a cook in his grandparents' restaurant. Though his patient and persistent ways REALLY get on their frayed nerves, Renshu continues to help his never-before-seen relatives adjust to their new lives.






Shawn (Shen) Hong- 13. Though he was never bullied, Shawn never had any real friends either, leading him to be a miserable, self-contained kid who never got over his shyness and growing hyper-sensitivity. When he's forced with his family to move to China to escape financial debts, Shawn's fragile mental state is pushed to the brink when he's shunned by his classmates at school and his mother and sister are equally stressed.


After Shawn gets himself into a bloody fight defending Mina, his half brother Renshu asks his grandparents to get the two siblings a prolonged absence from school. During this time Renshu teaches Shawn Chinese through the following methods: Baiting the boy with food and calling him 'Shen' instead of Shawn to rouse his curiosity as to the meaning of Chinese characters, lying that the family dog only responds to Chinese commands, leaving Chinese cartoons and kung fu movies playing on his laptop, hiding all English material while pretending to leave Chinese comic books around the house, and, most of all, inciting Shawn's pity of his blindness by constantly asking 'What does it look like?', forcing Shawn to describe various scenes.



Mina Hong- 10. Normally a sweet little girl, Mina becomes as tight-lipped and quiet as Shawn when her father dies and the family moves to China. Unlike Shawn Mina is paid much attention by her classmates and the neighborhood children in the form of bullying, which escalates despite the family's attempts to protect her. To rectify this situation, Renshu walks the kids to and from school and interests Mina in the piano.



Amanda Hong- Shawn and Mina's Hispanic mother, their father's second wife. She never knew that her husband, Eric, had been married once before or that he was gambling himself into serious debt. Fortunately, after his death, Eric's family in China is alerted of the event and comes to Amanda's aid. In gratitude and having no living family of her own, Amanda moves the family from their home in California to Wuhan so that she'd have help raising Shawn and Mina.


Eric's parents are kind to her and the kids, but like Shawn and Mina Amanda loses her original confident personality after repeated blunders due to lack of cultural and lingual understanding, not to mention the neighbors' suspicious attitudes. Amanda falls into alcoholism, which the elder Hongs cure by taking her on a short sight-seeing trip of China's nature wonders to relax. During the trip Ai, Renshu's grandmother, interests her in learning how to cook Chinese dishes, taking part in the family business.



Renshu Hong- 19. A blind young man who works as a cook in the family restaurant in Wuhan, China. He has a patient, stubborn personality that is impossible to faze, as seen when he undertakes the task of helping Amanda, Shawn, and Mina adjust to their new lives. Something of a strategist, Renshu baits Shawn into learning Chinese and interests Mina in the piano, having originally taken up the instrument himself to hone a sense of hearing. He is usually accompanied by Jackie, an Alaskan Malamute that is not a seeing-eye dog, and later gets a puppy named Jet for Shawn and Mina to reward their hard work.



Bai Lee- 19. Renshu's classmate from high school, the happy-go-lucky Bai continues to be his friend. Like Renshu Bai works to succeed his family business, a music store popular for its well-informed employees and low-price, wide-ranged stock. Bai supplies Renshu with a CD to further interest his sister Mina in piano music, and is rarely seen without a pair of headphones around his neck. Renshu learned his English from Bai, who continues to take lessons in that language as he attends college, and does his English homework at the Hongs' restaurant. Though Bai is intimidated by Jackie, the Hongs' Malamute, the dog in turn adores him for their 'chase-the-Bai-Lee' games.



Ai/Shirong Hong- Renshu, Mina, and Shawn's grandparents, owners of the Water Lily Restaurant.

© 2015 Haeshin

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Added on June 25, 2010
Last Updated on January 5, 2015
Tags: the moon and the sun, china, family




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