The Reel – THE DEBT

My Story:
I was born in a small town in China. My father was once successful in the herb trading business. He started gambling in 1994 when I was 6 and his business shrunk. My mother borrowed loans and made investments into a few local fund-gathering groups called “Hui” to rescue my father’s business. The investment failed and my mom was in tremendous debt overnight. My father left China in 1995 with more loans and my mother stood alone to face humiliation, threat, and betrayal. While my mother was breaking down, I went through a few abusive guardianships. When we met again in 1997, I had started to transform into a person with violent tendencies and severe OCD.


Greed for quick money, the wave of materialism struck Fujian Province shortly after the Communist government ended the Cultural Revolution and started a Market Economy. “Hui”, the informal loan system where people gather money periodically from each member within the group to loan to the member who promises the highest returning interest, became popular in Fujian. The loan borrowers of smaller Hui invested their money in more expensive Hui, and gambling became major entertainment for the higher Hui’s loan borrower. The leveled-up Hui groups soon became chaotic when some loan borrowers escaped with money they lost in the game, and families were destroyed.

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