indulgence (noun) 1. [C or U] an occasion when someone allows themselves or others to partake of something enjoyable, especially more than is good for them 2. [U] an occasion when someone’s shortcomings or misdeeds are excused by others Back in July 2016, the three founding editors had the privilege of attending Sarah Howe’s Writing Home Poetry Workshop. As the participants introduced themselves to one another, one of the representatives from a local university said, ‘We publish an online journal which is quite self-indulgent in nature.’ We all laughed because, after all, who would read a humble journal apart from its editors and contributors? The making of the fourth issue of EDGE has not been easy. Two of the founding editors are pursuing their postgraduate studies in the UK while the third is constantly planning lessons instead of having much time to reply to emails. We would like to thank Dr Tammy Ho Lai-Ming for her gentle reminders and the new members of the editorial team, Pamela Wong Wai Yi, Heather Wu Wei Ling and Samson Hui Chun Ho for their help. We are happy to see returning and new contributors, and we are delighted to start our fourth issue with the winning poems of Hong Kong Baptist University’s English Poetry Contest (Unpublished Work) 2016.
(“Hugging the shadow of trees” by Leung K a-Yu, 2014)
Alberto Manguel states in The History of Reading that ‘[t]he existence of the text is a silent existence, silent until the moment in which a reader reads it. [...] All writing depends on the generosity of the reader.’ (179) Thank you for writing and reading works that, among other things, indulge in nostalgia, discuss queer rights, explore the self or offer distilled observations, without which our current issue would not have happened.
2016/17 HKBU Poetry Contest Entries First Day in Eldercare Centre Morris Leung Chu Kai On Dating and Being Ugly Kwun Kiem Foeng A Lesson on Queerness Jeff Chow Jung Sing The Best Company Joanna Wong Wai Ching Hush-Hush! Chiu Wai Yee Mignon Wandering Alone Pearl Yeung Tsing Huen Grandpapa Agatha Yang Ling Lin EDGE Issue 4’s Entries Tonight I Live to Write the Saddest Lines Anna Tham Wing Yin Janet Lau Pui Ling Nicola Chan Oi Ching Winter Song Katherine Li Bihang I Found My Marble Helena Wong Fuk Ching School Haikus Tim Tam Sandman Pearl Yueng Tsing Huen The Queen’s new Clothes (illustration) Katie Wong Nga Ki My Secret Garden Nicole Lai Kwan Yee The Surreal Dream of Alice Thomas Deng Guo Chang Favourite Colours William Ng Wai Lam Because We Feel Nicole Lai Kwan Yee 我 I 總 Always 對 Tell 自己說 Myself Aster Cheung Yan How to Get Away with Murder Aster Cheung Yan L’inachevé / The Unachieved James Au Kin Pong
p.5 p.6-7 p.8-9 p.10 p.11 p.12 p.13
p.16-19 p.20-22 p.23 p.24 p.25 p.26 p.27 p.28 p.29 p.30 p.31 p.32-33
The Voice Within Chiu Wai Yee Mignon
Contributors’ biographies EDGE Editorial Board Call for Submission
p.39-41 p.42 p.43 3
2016/17 H K B U Poetry Contest
First Prize Winner First day in eldercare centre Sitting in the wheelchair, he frowns when he watches his brown broken trousers being taken off. He is told to raise his calf so as to let the trousers pass through, followed by his white yellow-stained underwear. Penis shudders and soon comes to rest, like babies closing eyes. He sluggishly moves his hands forward, trying his best to cover his limp phallus, as if he could render him erect again, as if he could refuse the invitation from the god of death. His hands are put aside without delay. Water treats his body as a playground slide, running from his chest, down to his dishevelled pubic hair, gliding through the enfeebled legs, until it reaches his feet. Soap evenly scrubbed around his bodyâ€” he can smell the scent of the lotion, and the odour of the nurse. Morris Leung Chu Kai
Second Prize Winner On Dating and Being Ugly Silence spoke our minds. We were not having fun. A blind date gone wrong. 10% blind, 90% dishonest. A combination of good angle, good lighting, and iPhone. The world is unnaturally cruel to ugly ugly people. Ugliness takes shape in many forms: Pug ugly or pugly, fugly, pug-fugly, and the worst kind... ugly ugly. How does it feel to be so beautiful? If anyone dares bring up inner ‘beauty,’ I will stab him, dead. I could not figure out which is sadder. Desiring cheap sex, not getting it, or not desiring at all. When it is too cheap, the only good cheap thing is cheap alcohol: Spirits, to knock myself out.; Wine, to pretend I have class; Beer, nine cans of it, to make me throw up and gain pity or disgust. Usually disgust. It is not admiration I desire after all, but attention. The only thing worse than being seen as ugly ugly is not being seen at all. Or is it the other way around? I don’t remember on the bed, not drunk enough to experience self-loathing, but drunk enough to experience self-loathing. Stretching my arms out but my almost lovers, I don’t love them like I did yesterday, Too miserable from not knowing if I’m hot or cold, reaching for and tossing away the sheets, till light penetrates through the cracks, and shines on my eyes, I know then I am cold and reach for the sheets and make peace. 6
And the sun cries for me, ‘My poor, ugly, beautiful child. You don’t need to be pretty, what you need is money.’ Kiem Foeng Kwan
(“Bound” by Marcus Leung Ming Ki, 2017) 7
Third Prize Winner a lesson on queerness hey kids listen up and repeat after me this queer is strange and that queer is dictatorship
but teacher i am sandwiched between definitions
i stepped my foot in their territory with the wish of making their sanctuary into our fabulous home under all these suits and ties swinging with their big bright smiles their shoulders shimmying under the blinding neon lights i wonder if we bleed and grieve in the same way when my queer the strange stranger strangest thing their queer dictates
so teacher what’s the point of following you because i can’t because i am still sandwiched between definitions stuck—
at my detention when i was told not to look straight but to look at the ceiling and to admire the god-like queer while pronouncing my creeds when my head is pressured with guilt 8
teacher don’t expel me you can teach me how to belong or teacher expel me
if you know a place that keeps me but not kills me
Jeff Chow Jung Sing
(“Awkward Hands” by Jeff Chow Jung Sing, 2017) 9
Commended Poem The Best Company Morning hues are gathering round; the chilly sea breeze hitting me hard in the face; the bluish body of water teamed with a touch of saltiness, chasing after me. There’s hardly anyone here— Do I look strange being the only person here? I stopped looking around and took off my thongs, expecting company. Is it not pleasurable, going on hikes having no one to talk to, finishing the entire shared dish, lying on a shabby bunk bed staring at the windows, or listening to the murmurs of the stars?
There’s no one in the photos I took. There’s no one in the seat next to me. There’s no one in my conversations but the very voice within myself
I threw myself on the comfy sand of Sunshine Beach, taking in moments of silence . The bright, warm sun was peeking at me from the fringe of the horizon. Australian Pelicans glided across the water, welcoming me to a brand new day with all that I could ever ask for— The best company. Joanna Wong Wai Ching
Commended Poem Hush-hush! Here they are, holding up the glittering champagne flutes And toasting for the money-sprouting bonanza and the next Croesus! Here we are, trapped under tons and tons of cables in tangles, And mumbling: their greed, their potion, slays us, doses us. We who could never speak our minds, We who could only live like a rat, And they wearing their black ties, dine Under the soft candlelight talking about upscale tat. Bobbing our heads ups and downs; Feeding their gold-craving appetite; Cringing and wincing and peeping at their crowns; thy cursed riteâ€” Lug and tug our luck out of us, and suck our blood like bugs! But weâ€” Palms give gold-hugs, loot-hugs, gilt-hugs, Stretch towards the Source of the Holy Light Towards the one and only Might! Hush-hush! Be aware of the insincere us! Mignon Chiu Wai Yee
Wandering alone I wandered on the streets alone. Under a myriad of twinkling, sparkling neon lights, I got on the banished boat without a rudder and floated along, alone with the restless waves of crowds in the bustling city. Humming a lively little tune, what a wonderful night, I told myself. Listen, the raindrops splashing on the umbrella slipped down to the puddles I stood on. Here and thereâ€” an everlasting symphony of rain and traffic. Relishing the aroma of espresso, what a wonderful night, I told myself. Scent, the redolence floated into the silence alley, mingled with the afterglow of the evening rain. Here and thereâ€” a minty fragrance of the midnight drizzle. Dear tonight, I owned every fineness of yours, just as the loneliest blue whale wandering the solitudes of the Antarctic owned the breathtaking aurora alone. All alone, I sang the nocturne of joy and bliss that reached no one. Pearl Yeung Tsing Huen 12
You say wind can talk roar and howl Yellow leaves, purple beetles Keep running, keep falling Such fun! I giggle at your funeral
You say it’s time for a holiday Whoopee and hallelujah Dead drunk naked sadness Foolishly addicted to focusing on tomorrow Such fun! I giggle at your funeral Then, yesterday you say nothing Hello and hello Your silence, my new friend Forget it! No! I ‘m now fighting back! TIME IS EVIL THE CITY IS A CAGE YOUTH IS WEAKNESS PEOPLE ARE JUST CARELESS You know what? My granddaughter giggles at my funeral
(“Laughing Buddha” by Marcus Leung Ming Ki, 2017)
You say you gotta have a wash Croon and hum Hot summer iced tea French navy on a dusty sea Such fun! I giggle at your funeral
Agatha Ling Lin Yang 13
Issue 4â€™s Prose & Poetry
Tonight I Live to Write the Saddest Lines Write, for example , ‘I wish, I wish I were a poisonous bacterium.’  To live is to hurt others, and through others, to hurt oneself.  It could rain in this poem, It could snow in this poem.  ‘I will say this last goodbye,  and Make believe it came from you.’  You’ll live, but I’ll not; perhaps,  if to miss, were merry, And to mourn, were gay,  I have no strength to flee.  And if to miss, were merry, And to mourn, were gay,  ‘I’m just another song on a jukebox.’  Anna Tham Wing Yin, Janet Lau Pui Ling, Nicola Chan Oi Ching
 Pablo Neruda, ‘Tonight I Can Write The Saddest Lines’  Dorothy Parker, quoted in Comic Relief: an Omnibus of Modern American Humor  Albert Camus, American Journals  Martha Collins, ‘Several Things’  Billy Boyd, ‘The Last Goodbye’  Fats Waller, ‘I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter’  Anna Akhmatova, ‘You’ll Live, But I’ll Not; Perhaps’  Emily Dickinson, ‘If Recollecting Were Forgetting’  Philodemus, ‘Love and Reason’  Regina Spektor, ‘The One Who Stayed and The One Who Left’
Winter Song ‘Many human beings say that they enjoy the winter, but what they really enjoy is feeling proof against it.’ —Richard Adams, Watership Down The winter in the South brings the endless drizzle. As I lean on my couch, I listen to its tap on my window like a gentle winter song and watch it dissipate into the foggy clouds and the blurred skyline. It has been so long since my apartment is this quiet. The rain must have washed away the colours and noises altogether. The usual cacophony of children crying, cars honking, and doors slamming is muffled. And by some miracle, for once in my hectic life, I don’t have anything to do or anywhere to go. Everything is replaced with a tender calmness. Just as I’m about to make tea and start reading, the doorbell rings. A heavy package marked with my father’s familiar signature arrives, so I move it into my living room. I suddenly recall that news came a couple of days ago that my family’s old house was on sale. This means that this box must contain the items I left behind in my room many years ago. When I heard the news, I didn’t think much about it, assuming that it would take at least a few months before a buyer appeared. But now that it has happened so swiftly, the reality of it hits me hard and fast. I slice the box open and arrange the items neatly on the floor. Among a tangled mess of sea shells, past diaries, books and accessories, an old photograph with wooden framing catches my eyes. Though the photo is tarnished with age, I can still clearly see myself in it as a little girl with braids, standing in the snow in a furry coat, grinning boldly into the camera with my arms upraised towards the sky. Behind it is a single branch of yellow plum flower, dried and wedged in between the glass and the picture. I still remember the winter when this photo was taken in the garden and how I picked a fragrant plum branch as a souvenir. I turned it over and opened the frame. In that instant, the dust flew up then fell down. I can still picture my childhood winter memories after all these years. 16
On early snow-covered mornings, the house always smelled exactly like home—of sweet cinnamon rolls and newly dried clothes. While the household was still dormant in sleep, I would put on my gloves and slip out from the back door. Back then I wasn’t a very healthy child, so I was forbidden to go out into the snow for fear that I shall fall ill. Despite the risk, something about making the first footprint on a fresh, crispy blanket of snow appealed to me. I found it fascinating how when it snowed, the same surroundings I laid eyes on every day were given a new life. Crystal lines hung off the tree branches and the landscape was painted white. It’s as if everything suddenly became sharpened, like I was seeing them again for the first time. This gave me the urge to run around, touch, and observe every delicate detail. Once when my parents had another of their intense arguments, I wanted to run away and never come back. The next morning at first light, I filled my water bottle, stuffed my backpack with chocolate bars, took Watership Down from my bookshelf and set off. Obviously, I had no clue where I was going. In spite of that, I crossed a field of withered clover and climbed over the rusty fencing. Rolls of buttonwood stood solemn and towering with their empty hands outstretched, guiding me towards denser forests. After climbing to the peak of a sizeable hill, I found a massive, smooth rock among what seemed like an ocean of blooming plum flowers in pink and yellow shades. Feeling as if I had walked forever, I lay down on the rock and stared up at those little bright explosions of colour forming intricate patterns against the bleak winter sky. There was not a single roof in sight, and the trees were like a barricade that protected me, shielding my little world from the rest of the world. By the time I finished those chocolate bars and read half of the novel, my fear and anxiety had subsided, so I eventually went home. Though no one except the maid noticed my absence, I was glad I found a mysterious location that’s entirely my own. From that day on, I visited that place whenever I needed to find peace. On certain mornings, I even made myself brunch and ate it there like it’s my personal picnic. Whenever I was there, it felt as if time stopped and moments were stretched out before me into infinity. All negative emotions were gone and I felt free like a twirling snowflake. This is mine, I thought, nobody could find it but me. 17
But nothing lasts forever. One winter I went up to there again, and everything was gone. That large rock was removed by a trailer. The plum trees were wrenched straight from the soil, their flowers crushed in the dirty snow by trucks and construction materials. Soon after, a large fence was built around that hill with the sign ‘Government construction. No entry’ written in Chinese strung across the front. I cried when I got home that day. I knew that once this place was torn down it’s gone forever, and there was no coming back from that. I just couldn’t understand why anybody would want to destroy that scenery in order to build—as I later found out—an electrical substation, without the consent of the people who lived nearby. When I finally told my parents, my father just said that the government never needs consent to do anything. Then he patted my head and told me not to be so sensitive. Strangely, from that point on, everything just fell apart. The very next winter, my parents’ marriage ended too. I moved to the South with my mother where there is no snow-covered landscape and never returned. Ten years slipped away since. There were times I regretted ever leaving and times when my lights of hope dimmed. I never again felt a sense of belonging or the warmth of a complete home. But then I understood that no matter the situation, I can still choose to see the beauty in life and pursue my goals. What I take away from my experiences will always be my decisions. I can still choose to make myself tea and enjoy a newfound novel in a rainy winter afternoon in my little rented apartment, as I do now. Perhaps everything will turn out fine for me in the end as long as I believe it will. Perhaps after all, the whole point of having winters is to clean the slate for a new and better beginning. Somewhere within my heart, the plum flowers still bloom in silence against the snow. Katherine Li Bihang
(“Warsaw, NY” by Marcus Leung Ming Ki, 2016)
(“I found my marble” by Helena Wong Fuk Ching, 2015)
I Found My Marble I found it, stuck between the gaps of my cabinet, a place that I never thought to look. It bears a simple shape. Small and spherical, it seems nothing special. As it slips between my fingers, its smooth coldness slides over my fingertips and calms and relaxes me. It’s crystal clear from far away, but if you look closer, there are tiny bubbles and little sparkles glistening from every angle when you roll it on the table. It seems tough, solid and a bit heavy based on the bonk bonk sounds it makes when it drops and bounces on the wooden floor. But when you pick it up, you will find it light, fragile and sensitive like a new-born baby between your fingertips. Yes, it’s a marble. Yet, for me, this is not just a marble. It contains magic—magic that can only be seen and conjured by me and my friends when we were little. I remember the day when I saw my friend bringing his little glassy marble to class. When he claimed that magic could be found within those tiny little bubbles, my passion for it flared like a wildfire and from that point on I frantically searched for one of my own. Perhaps, I found it from the Chinese checkers game set that I once owned or bought one from my friend who had a whole bag of it with the only five-dollar coin that I managed to earn from doing housework. I was thrilled the moment I held it on my palm because it was the start of everything. It was the start of my magical journey. From that day onwards, it was my precious, my life and my soul. I carried it everywhere. I fingered it when it was nestled in my pockets when I watched Animes of magical girls with their staffs and sparkles. I took it to bed with me and placed it cautiously into a burlap bag beside the pillow, dreaming of the miracles it could bring to me. I also remember on the day I received the marble, I wrote in my diary two simple phrases: ‘I can do magic now! Just like my classmate!’. From these ordinary marbles, my friends and I managed to come up and see in our minds many interesting stories and colourful sceneries. We had a theory about the relationship between the 21
number of bubbles and the amount of magical powers one possessed: the more bubbles our marbles had, the more powerful we were. We compared our marbles with each other. We swirled our hands above the glassy balls and murmured random words which we believed to be spells. We raised the marbles towards the trees and declared that we could control the movement of the leaves with the wind magic released from them. We placed our marbles on the tummies of our stuffed toys, believing that they would come alive at night because of the enchantment we had bestowed upon them. We looked through the glass and believed that we could see our future from within. We were wizards and witches when we had those marbles in our hands. However, the magic didn’t last when everyone graduated from primary school. My friends soon forgot about their marbles. They tossed them aside or worse, into the rubbish bin, and went for mobile phones and computer games instead. I almost threw mine away, but I guess fate didn’t want me to do so. A few years later when I began to write stories about magic and fantasy, I found it again and my mind was filled with memories of the magical adventures I had with it. Now, I no longer see the glamour of it. But I know the magic has not abandoned us, but it is us, the teenagers and young adults, who chose to abandon and forget about the magic. I don’t think I can do magic anymore with this marble on my palm due to the ‘reality’ I have to face. But it will always be a joyful memory during my darkest and saddest moments, an inspiration for my stories and a reminder that no matter how old we grow, we can never live happily without imagination and creativity. This marble, this ordinary marble is mine. And it is a piece of me that once was lost but now is found. Helena Wong Fuk Ching
School Haikus 1. Curtain blinds flutter. Skeletal sunlight flickers on students’ curved backs. 2. Their teenage eyes map— breezes beat the window sill— the trail of a bee. 3. ‘Raw words’ off the page of Google Translate—they spelled cups of ‘chocolake’. 4. Work first. Urges burst. Expectations coerce, though our paths must diverge. 5. Often I lose sight of how our schedules look like the end of Tetris. 6. Fresh, fading, faded. ‘Don’t speculate the details.’ Was stressed many times. 7. No one teaches us how to accept defeats, but we don’t always win. Tim Tam 23
Sandman If darkness ever falls again, I swear To stay with you until the break of day. For you, shall I engulf your dream of scares And let your dread retreat in pure dismay. Within the maze of torment, I refuse The devil’s summons on Moloch’s will, Releasing you from your chains, healing your bruise By rinsing off your sin with a saintly rill. The painful void, I’m here to comfort you. Shall stroke your hair and pat your back with love. The weary soul, I’m here to sing for you. Shall chant the hymns and guide your way with doves. My dear child, don’t be haunted by your sores. Do not wake up to the nightmare of war. Pearl Yeung Tsing Huen
(“The Queen’s New Clothes” by Katie Wong Nga Ki, 2017)
My Secret Garden There is a place I visit everyday so full of memories that will never fade stories told quietly and planted with blades Battle’s on I lose— Life goes on I choose— ‘But why?’ This is my cry I am crushed while they judge ‘It’s bad for you.’ They try to accuse My blades chase me but I do not run I’m not a sinner for what I’ve done I don’t need a doctor or counsellor nothing can make me any better— My secret garden allows no visitors Nicole Lai Kwan Yee
The Surreal Dream of Alice Strolling in Sea World Square, she wondered how the rain might fall without soaking her leisurewear. Now, she walked up to the music hall. A droid, dressing like a prince, with a bunch of flowers at hand, greeted her at the hall entrance. Alice felt it was the Wonderland. Moments of silence passed byâ€” she held his flowers graciously, dancing with the android just like a princess in the royal family. Oh, fantastic fiction in fragment: sheâ€™s dreaming in wonderment. Thomas Deng Guochang
Favourite Colours More than the words I chalked in class, his glimpse of my bright yellow belt unstrapped him like a bag unpacked. Outside the square gate, his steps neared just as pebbles crossing a secret lake; he faltered, your favourite colour? Blue and yellow, my scarecrow codes, for colours tell convincing tales which Iâ€™ve become with the years. He nodded at my answers, yet, under his breath, he seemed to know. His expression grew less lax. His heart fluttered, under his breath pinkish blue is my true favourite, his quizzical eyes searched mine. The colour rippled beyond itself, before me, into a vortex of shame which unveiled his turmoil Thatâ€™s real cool, I would like it too, I assured him on a forked road while he was receding to his home. What could be said without the fence which taught boys the arbitrariness tuning to the same wavelength. Constant drops of faceless people interfered his colour ripples spreading in hope of an echo. William Ng Wai Lam 28
Because We Feel When you cannot weep, you sleep. Even the strongest feels weak. Even the happiest won’t speak of their bleak minds. How empty. The mind could kill— makes you ill But still Others will not understand how brave you are to stand but not to fall. ‘It’s no big deal at all!’ they said. Do not feel sad We are just too ill because we feel. Nicole Lai Kwan Yee
我I總Always對Tell自己說Myself 我I總always對tell自己說：myself : 「如果 ‘If用中文you write寫作，in Chinese, 你you, 便是 同時at once, 在兩種In two意義上，senses, 成為become了懦夫。」a coward.’ 用Using中文，Chinese, 你you逃避了run away英文。from English. 用寫的，Writing, 你you逃避了run away對話。from speech. 可But為何why此時right here, 此刻，right now, do 我I覺feel like得I自己am
如同that Danko那個who gouges out
挖出心臟the burning heart and
點亮lights up the way, 前路的丹柯一樣， 無比的being incredibly勇敢？brave? 儘管Nevertheless, 條件conditions;限制restrictions;規則rules;自self-esteem尊;
ambitions野心 and whatever和種種
that make you read what you are reading
necessitate推動著the other voice which 另一個聲音
Aster Cheng Yan 30
How to Get Away with Murder I wish she wasn’t in bed. I wish she could fall from the seventh floor to save her cat, So that I wouldn’t need to… To recognise her swollen face, Her frail bones. I couldn’t have recognised Her body crushed into the ground By the force of her fallen body from the seventh floor. I could also tell myself, “There’s no way you could have arranged a car below where she fell. Even if you could, A car couldn’t have cushioned The impact of the body that was used to be on the seventh floor. But she was in bed, waiting. Unlike the speed of falling, It happened so slowly, so… Gradually, leaving enough time for someone to notice, To care, and To arrange a car to bring her home to the seventh floor. Aster Cheng Yan
L’inachevé Parfois j’imagine qu’on peut tenir le soleil couchant sous un lac; Mon esprit souvent veut errer par les fleuves rouges et oranges, Puis, sans chagrin, sans mon sac, J’arrive au pic d’une montagne qui me manque. O poète! Pourquoi écrire un tel poème sans âme, sans mètre et sans rime? Encore une fois je perds mon coeur, et flâne avec sanglot comme un Bohême. Je ne vois pas le fin de mon chemin mais flâne à l’oubli de toutes les moeurs. Jusqu’à passer à la rive du lac, j’essaie de tenir le soleil couchant d’en dessous Mais jamais, je ne peux jamais le retenir longtemps comme un sou rouillant.
The Unachieved At times I imagine being able to hold the setting sun beneath the lake; my spirit often wishes to roam around the rivers red and orange, so that, without sorrow, without my bag, I arrive at the mountain peak I miss. O poet! Why write such a poem without a soul, without meter and without rhyme? Once again I lose my heart, and wander with melancholy like a Bohemian. Seeing not the end of my path, I wander, forgetting all customs. Until I pass by the shore of the lake, I try to hold the setting sun underneath but never, I can never keep it for long as I keep a dime rusty. James Au Kin Pong
The Voice Within Ten helium balloons floated in the air, like iridescent fishes kissing the surface of the water. Bubbling, bubbling and bubbling. A large colourful banner—’Happy Birthday to our beloved Chelsea!’— covered one side of the room and became the wall itself, forming a striped pattern of yellow and crimson. Loaves upon loaves of fluffy toys were scattered on the floor. Among them, a Hello Kitty stood out— towering over everything else, including you and me. Uncle Leung knew he could never get rid of it, due to Chelsea’s love of this particular Japanese icon—partly, not mostly. Ding-dong! He opened the door, and a flow of chit-chat— from appropriate parenting styles to hectic workplace experience to insurance of all kinds—immediately flooded the apartment. Basic greeting: handshaking, gracious smiles, cheek-kissing. Amidst this bubble of joviality, a little princess in a baby-pink dress appeared like a budding rose. Her tousled hair reflected her childlike wonder and playfulness. Here was Chelsea—so angelic and pure. ‘My lovely and gorgeous Chelsea! Happy birthday to you!’ Auntie Tang exclaimed in delight in her high-pitched voice. Chelsea blushed and gave a ravishing and sweet smile. She ran to her toys and hid behind the Hello Kitty, which almost covered her whole body. Holding it in her arms she peeked shyly at everyone— Uncle Leung, walked towards her with a vigorously pounding heart. He knew it—of course; he knew he had to comfort his daughter and show paternal support by all means. Holding Chelsea in his arms, he felt the weight—as heavy as the Hello Kitty toy itself. ‘Let’s party now!’ He announced. Food was placed on the dining table—curry fish-balls, a bowl of spaghetti, meat balls, pizzas, fries, hash browns, chicken wings.. Music rang and confetti fell from above, grazing Chelsea’s forehead—fell with the hysteria that stirred the atmosphere again. ***** 34
‘Good afternoon everyone. A shocking crime: a dismembered and mutilated arm was found by a garbage truck driver in Tuen Mun. Landfill this morning. It is believed that the arm belonged to a female aged around 22 to 24, but the victim remains unidentified. Forensic investigators have regarded the case as a homicide in light of evidence of wounds, burns and scratches found all over the arm. The infliction was caused constantly within around one-month time as estimated, and it left a very small amount of DNA…’ A deadly silence. The music had stopped; the munching had stopped; the celebration had stopped. Everyone was still and no one spoke; their eyes were glued to only one thing, the television. ‘Oh my gosh! What an act of ferocity and violence!’ Auntie Chan spoke with horror and dismay, and her eyes scanned across the room, looking for any possible signs of agreement. Chelsea and her friends—with no awareness of the intruding awkwardness, with no regards to the adults’ reactions, with no attempt to join in the conversation—were playing the ‘Burger Restaurant’ game among themselves, entirely absorbed in their characters’ roles. They played for delight and pleasure, certainly—with no concept of ‘debtor’ and ‘creditor’, with no greed in between them, I suspect. They played for their own sake of happiness—yes, it is happiness that committed them to the game wholeheartedly and faithfully. ‘That is just horrible, isn’t it? That maniac!’ Helen, that judgmental bitch, was flushed with her kind of acuteness that supported her perception and philosophy—as always. ‘Hey! Remember Fan Man-Yee? No calls received! No show! No message left behind! For a whooole week! What a drama queen!’ Uncle Leung’s friend, Jose, brought up this issue out of nowhere—he knew something, didn’t he? He never sat back and listened, like I always wanted Chelsea—and HER—to do. ‘Fan Man-Yee? Where did she go exactly? Her disappearance is just like a mystery to me,’ Auntie Tammy asked and gave a quick, 35
curious look. Looking for an answer that could feed her hungry eagerness, spoon-by-spoon: no, no, NO! How I wish I could pull that demon out by a string—only by a single pull—out of her body! ‘I don’t think any of us know what’s happened to her, right?’ Uncle Leung almost choked, and spoke with a trembling voice—but believe it or not, his motionless, vacant glare in his eyes, gazing at Chelsea—holding her Hello Kitty toy—was not a repression of his fear and guilt, but a calm and tranquil suspension within himself.
‘No way! No way! No way!’
Chelsea screamed at the top of her lungs, breaking through the silence, and pointed at Johnny, her little boy-friend, with an accusing finger. He was dishonest, devious and disgraceful. Her anger surged and surged and reach a boiling point. Her face had gone red like a ripening cherry ready to burst. She squeezed her Hello Kitty with all of her strength; so hard that it deflated into a wrinkled, flattened pulp. Suddenly Chelsea could feel there is something inside—resistant, hard and spherical—unyielding against her arm and chest. ‘Johnny, you really have to pay for your burger! You can’t steal it from me!‘ Uncle Leung stood next to Chelsea while she threw her tantrum. He was distant, indifferent and calm. Witnessing the whole outrageous spectacle unfold. He knew the result perfectly: exhaustion or even faint—according to the experience—every time, every day; day and night, night and day—with her in the apartment.
‘Shing-cho! Are you out of sorts?’
Tommy’s voice came like a lightning bolt. ‘Impress me with her stories please! You are Fan Man-Yee’s creditor. I know it! Tell us!’ His eyes shone with great expectation and a strange enthusiasm for Uncle Leung’s full-of-beans storytelling or spill-the-beans unfolding. Either ways would be exciting enough for everyone. ‘I don’t think that is a good idea……to derive pleasure from her plight…we should not do that, right? Just stop talking about it please!’ Uncle Leung stuttered with a shiver of fear and fraught, 36
and looked around, to every corner of his own familiar apartment, anywhere but the eyes of them—the remorseless audience. He escaped— Escaped to the kitchen. Where hard work was done: black trash bags; bags and bags of body parts and limbs—boiled, stirred with a pair of chopsticks, and then wrapped with more trash bags. Over and over again. We used the same pair to cook our noodles. Hot and fresh. Stewed and overcooked. Blood congealed. Unflowing. With plans. With strength—a lot of strength indeed. With sweat—wet his shirt, his trousers, his whole body. With smell—so nasty, so vulgar, so murderous. Here he was, calm and smiling from the bottom of his heart. Deep down, he knew that his secret—underneath layers and layers, balls and balls of soft cotton—was not weightless, but concrete and solid. He knew she could not see, speak nor listen. She was destroyed, ENTIRELY destroyed! He knew things were somehow irrevocable, as in deadbeat would always be a deadbeat, and she has to be a deadbeat BIT DEAD by me! The birthday cake beside him was a Hello Kitty too—mouthless, thus, trustworthy. Shaped by and decorated with twists of cream from a piping bag, smelling of sweet vanilla. He took the birthday cake to the dining room, where all his family and friends were enjoying themselves. With faith; with trust; with love—we are bonded, aren’t we? Calm down! Shing-cho! ‘Time to cut the cake! Shall we?’ Uncle Leung asked with both hands holding the cake. He sang the birthday song and the others chimed in. “Happy birthday to Chelsea! Happy Birthday to you!”— nothing would leak out from it! Hush-hush! Uncle Leung held his breathe as he lowered his knife slowly and gradually into the cake, through the cream-covered surface, through the fluffy sponge cake—Is the saw blade sharp enough?—until it struck the bottom of it. Rr-rr-rr-rr-rr. There was no going back once the first cut was made. No going back! He was anxious that the cake, so perfectly baked, frosted and decorated, would be ruined and collapsed by a single move. No failure was permitted! No! None! No strength given to make a cut and that cut made no pain. Rr-rr-rr-rr-rr. Rr-rr-rr-rr-rr. Rr-rr37
-rr-rr-rr. It was perfectly done. Inside the cake, waves and waves of chocolate melted from its centre—making it a blood-pool. Spilled. Spilled. Spilled. From the freshly-cut flesh. With exquisite caution, he pulled the knife out—from the dead red—and the knife was coated with a layer of smooth chocolate, so sticky and dark like our excrement that she always begged us and craved for. His fingertip tip dipped into it, and he tasted it with a delirium of joy that could only be initiated by consuming drug. Its sweetness stayed between his teeth, on his tongue and down his throat. So far, so good—he breathed again; the knife hovered above the Hello Kitty cake. He got ready for the second cut. His mouth watered, savoured its creamy chocolate flavour. Delicious. Again, he pushed the knife through the cake; the Hello Kitty became earless, probably faceless later on. Her head rolled and rolled and rolled in a hot pot of boiling water, until her eyes, nose, mouth and ears were all gone, vaporized into the vigorous bubbles ascending from the bottom of the pot. Within a minute or two, eight slices—counting: two arms, two thighs, two calves, one head, one limbless and headless body—were placed on eight different glass plates.
Once and for all. No going back.
‘She is always with us, partying with us like our family and friends!’ He murmured to himself and pointed to the mermaid Hello Kitty soft toy embraced by Chelsea’s soft and graceful arms. [This story is based on a Hong Kong criminal case in 1999— The Hello Kitty Murder.] Mignon Chiu Wai Yee
Agatha Yang Linglin (Student, BA in English Language and Literature) Agatha is from Urumqi, XinJiang, which is a beautiful city in the northwest of China. She loves writing poems because feelings can be veiled in them. Sometimes she finds it fun to create a story, letting it become a poem. She thinks that what we write may sometimes be happening in the distance. Who knows? Anna Tham Wing Yin (Graduate, BA in English Language and Literature) Anna these days enjoys chilly morning air, leafy afternoon walks, and evening thoughts in her squeaky spin chair. Aster Cheng Yan (Graduate, BA in English Language and Literature and BEd in English Language Teaching) Her favourite villain is Scar from The Lion King because he is such a classic villain with a great song ‘Be Prepared’. Her own weirdest scar – a little black dot – is right in the middle of her palm. She got it while lying on her stomach on the sofa doing homework. Her right elbow slipped and jabbed her left palm with the pencil she was holding. Helena Wong Fuk Ching (Graduate, BA in English Language and Literature and BEd in English Language Teaching) Helena is a storyteller who wants to escape from the rat race of Hong Kong every second of her life. She flits between fantasies and reality through writing and reading. Being truly ‘alive’, not merely surviving, is her motto in life. James Au Kin Pong (Graduate, MA in Comparative and Literary Studies) A stubborn language learner, a boring translator, a narcissistic writer and an academic, James shoots a venomous look at whoever asks him when he is going to graduate. He is currently a resident of an eastern lonely planet, his second home. Janet Lau Pui Ling (Graduate, BA in English Language and Literature and BEd in English Language Teaching) Janet has thought about the meaning of life every single day ever since she joined the workforce. Jeff Chow Jung Sing (Graduate, BA in English Language and Literature) He loves Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life so much that he tattooed the book cover on his left arm. Among other research areas, he is interested in Asian(-American), queer and postcolonial literatures. Joanna Wong Wai Ching (Graduate, BA in English Language and Literature and BEd in English Language Teaching) With a bit of courage and recklessness, Joanna is keen to take chances and accept challenges. She embraces freedom, independent thinking, and writing. She is obsessed with photography, poetry, poetry recitation and all kinds of linguistic arts, through which she could express herself more than verbal communication. She started writing poetry a year ago and is still working hard to 39 polish her verse.
Katherine Li Bihang (Student, BC in Journalism) Katherine has lived in many different cosmopolitan cities in the past — Beijing, Shanghai, New York, Taipei and Shenzhen. She is now back to Hong Kong, her birthplace, a city that is familiar yet unfamiliar. Her favourite villain is Harley Quinn from Suicide Squad. She thinks Margot Robbie makes the antihero with a free and independent spirit come to life. Katie Wong Nga Ki (Graduate, BA in English Language and Literature) Katie is an everywoman who attempts to send ripples through the pond of boredom via. the medium of art. She has been exposed to the beauty of words. Every art, regardless of its language, such as musical notes, body movement, or brushstrokes, tells stories. She is therefore always in search of new sensations to be an illustrator, calligrapher and arts spectator, in the hope of creating stories that will inspire the uninspired. Kwun Kiem Foeng (Graduate, MA in Literary and Comparative Studies) Kwun possesses a mind far too analytical and self-conscious to consistently write fiction. He prefers writing essays, but fictional pieces, especially poetry, when drunk. Even then, his self-consciousness keeps his subjects at bay, turning them back on themselves. He writes about writing, thinks about thinking, and agonizes over agonizing. Marcus Leung Ming Ki (Graduate, BA in English Language and Literature) Marcus is a dreamer constantly on the run with his camera snapping subjects, however random they may seem. Still finding his way around the finer aspects of the human language, Marcus thinks his photographs will speak for him—for now. Mignon Chiu Wai Yee (Student, BA in English Language and Literature and BEd in English Language Teaching) Mignon enjoys being in the company of furriends; the more, the better. She thinks she is meant to explore the realm of fluff and her purr-suit drives her mad. She always dreams of keeping dozens of cats at home. That’s why she is determined to be rich to get a really big place for that to happen. No discrimination to hairless felines, but she is a fluffernaut. Morris Leung Chu Kai (Graduate, BA in Creative and Professional Writing) Morris was born and grew up in Hong Kong. Currently, he works as a full-time local news reporter for a Chinese newspaper. Nicola Chan Oi Ching (Graduate, BA in English Language and Literature) As she ages, Nicola cares less about flowery languages. Simplicity and truth are more appealing to her than ever before, as are having me-time, or a good night’s sleep.
Nicole Lai Kwan Yee (Student, MA in Literary and Comparative Studies) Nicole believes in the power of poetry. Sylvia Plath’s poems are her drugs. Writing poetry is her escape from this mad world. The weirdest scar she has on her upper thigh is a word ‘FAT’ she planted there years ago and still visits every day. Pearl Yeung Tsing Huen (Graduate, BA in English Language and Literature) Pearl keeps coming back to the Wikipedia article Pale Blue Dot. To her, there is no better demonstration of the folly of human conceit than this distant image of planet Earth taken 27 years ago from the probe perch of Voyager 1 beyond Neptune. That is the pale blue dot we call home. Thomas Deng Guochang (Graduate, MA in Comparative and Literary Studies) Guochang highly values the economy of language. When he writes poetry, his prayer goes like this: ‘Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips (Psalm 141:3).’ Tim Tam (Graduate, BA in English Language and Literature and BEd in English Language Teaching) As a careless hipster and reluctant teacher, books, booze, bass riffs, getting tattooed and listening to friends distract Tim Tam from the confusion in her mind. William Ng Wai Lam (Graduate, BA in English Language and Literature and BEd in English Language Teaching) William enjoys most coming-of-age stories. He is interested in the affective aspects of imagination, language and reading. He likes the idea of almost, and never, there. Special thanks to Leung Ka-Yu who generously lets us display her photo on p.2 Ka-yu is an artist from Hong Kong. She is currently based in France, studying 3D animation at Ecole MOPA (Supinfocom Arles). She will draw for food and tuition. Her online portfolio: kayucaillou.tumblr.com 41
EDITORS Cheng Tim Tim (English and Education, Graduate) Grace Wong Hiu Yan (English, Graduate) Zabrina Lo Shun Siu (English, Graduate) CONSULTING EDITOR Dr. Tammy Ho Lai-Ming EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS Pamela Wong Wai Yi (English, Year 4) Samson Hui Chun Ho (English, Year 3) Heather Wu Wei Ling (English, Year 4) COVER PHOTO BY Grace Wong Hiu Yan (English, Graduate) HEADINGS BY Adin Chu Man Kui (English and Education, Graduate) DESIGN BY Cheng Tim Tim (English and Education, Graduate) (“Royal Mile, Edinburgh” by Grace Wong Hiu Yan, 2017) 42
Pamela Wong Wai Yi (English, Year 4)
We will be accepting submissions of previously unpublished poetry, prose, translations and cover art for our fifth issue. Submissions are welcome from all current and past students (both undergraduate and postgraduate) of HKBU, regardless of major or discipline. GENRES Poetry / 1 to 4 poems; no more than 60 lines each Prose (fiction or creative non-fiction) / 1 to 2 pieces; 100 to 1200 words each Translation / Prose or poetry translated into English Cover art / Photographs, painting or drawings in .jpeg or .png format GUIDELINES / Email your work to firstname.lastname@example.org / The subject line should read â€œSubmission - Genre - Your nameâ€? / Submitting a translation of a literary text implies that its publication is approved by its original author
CLOSING DATE Please refer to our website edgehkbu.wordpress.com 43
Published on Mar 12, 2018