• Each person is made of five different elements, she told me. Too much fire and you had a bad temper. That was like my father, whom my mother always critized for his cigarette habit and who always shouted back that she should feel guilty that he didn't let my mother speak her mind. Too little wood and you bent too quickly to listen to other people's ideas, unable to stand on your own. This was like my Auntie An-mei. Too much water and you flowed in too many different directions. like myself.