You only have 5 fingers – Alex Lam

Saying: You only have 5 fingers. You only have 5 family members.

Context: KL’s mom would tell her and her sisters this whenever they fought. The idea is that you only have 5 fingers on one hand. Likewise, KL only had 5 immediate family members (2 sisters and 2 parents). KL mom implied that 5 may seem like a lot, but if you imagine losing one finger, your whole life would be different. It is the little function that we take for granted.

Analysis: I think this was my mom’s interesting say of saying that we had to band together and have each other’s backs. When we were little, she was worried a small quarrel was a sign that we would grow up to resent each other. In a way, it is overdramatic as she was implying one of us would die if we did not fully embrace each other every day. However, it is her way of explaining something to us over a language barrier.