A Chinese migrant family in 1980s New Zealand is at the point of breaking apart. As a daughter and mother realise the truth of their situation, the mother collapses emotionally, leaving her daughter to stop her from abandoning the family that remains.
Joyena (7) trails behind her mother and brothers after school as they walk to a hospital. Waiting for hours, she jumps excitedly up and races towards her father, Shen Wei, as he emerges from the wards. Shen Wei is surprised to see his family at his workplace, but his children huddle happily around him as their mother Hu Diep remains seated silently. The next day Hu Diep and the children return to the hospital again. Shen Wei emerges and marches to his wife to confront her; he's not coming home anymore. Joyena watches in confusion, hanging off her father’s legs as he delivers this emotional blow to his wife. Hu Diep however takes the children once more to the hospital, this time waiting long into the night for her husband. When she finally rises from her seat, Joyena follows, surprised by her mother’s sudden movement. As Hu Diep pushes through the waiting room door, she catches Shen in an intimate moment with a nurse. Watching the standoff from a distance, Joyena is dazed.
In a swamped kitchen Hu Diep prepares food as the children break out in a fight in the living room. The cacophony is unbearable and Hu Diep is pushed to her wit’s end. Dropping what she’s doing, Hu Diep stumbles out of the apartment, telling the children that she’s leaving, but Joyena sees her leave in the corner of her eye and races to catch her. Winding down the fire exit stairs, Joyena calls to her mother to stay, and waits as Hu Diep turns slowly back to look at her.