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Scribbles Chinese International School

Issue 4 | summer 2012

facebook.com/scribbles.cis


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ne day in the library, I stumbled upon an artefact of CIS. It was a publication called Shuang Yu, dated 1993, volume 3. Inked into the yellow pages were photocopies of neatly written French and Chinese stories and freshly typed English musings. I was surprised to see then Headmaster Christopher Berrisford’s words in the opening pages. He wrote, “We hope it will inspire those who have been courageous enough to express their thoughts and feelings in public to keep on doing so.” CIS definitely has room for creativity and fun amid the spaghetti of chaos that is the MYP and DP. When we started work on issue 4, we wanted this to be the best art and writing anthology that we can offer to CIS. This issue, we’ve worked with IB Visual Arts students from the graduating class of 2012 and the CIS ‘Most Talented Photography’ competition to showcase some of the best creativity this school has to offer. Our staff members have diligently simmered their ideas onto paper and tablet, and numerous CIS students

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’m both pleased and honoured to be able to introduce myself as the upcoming editor-in-chief of Scribbles. Accompanying me will be a new generation of directors - Susan Maginn in the Creative Writing Department, Shirley Lau in the Art Department, Claron Niu in Layout and Aspen Wang in Administration. There is much in store for Scribbles. We’ll give it a fresh perspective, while keeping the soul of Scribbles alive. Our vision is an anthology that’s enjoyed by a wider audience, giving more the chance to experience the creativity of our budding writers and artists. I’m happy to have Claron, Susan, Shirley and Aspen by my side as I endeavour to transform Scribbles

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have emailed us their work too. We’ve selected their best work to showcase the CIS community. Also, get an insight to our Art Director’s creative process on page 14. A special thanks to Frances Suria ‘12, who just graduated, for her valuable comments to us. Finally, Scribbles wouldn’t be possible without the solid support and guidance of Mr. Brian Mulcahy, our supervisor, in addition to Ms. Jenny Lee, the CIS Publications Technician, Mrs. Helen Parker, Mr. Stephen Megson, and Dr. Ted Faunce. We’re working hard with them to make Scribbles ever better than before for next year. Speaking of next year, a new editorial board is coming to town. This is my last issue of Scribbles, and the editor’s crown/baton/cane is going to Bryce Lim ‘14, along with his über-talented team, who’ll be leading us from next year. The fire of Scribbles will most definitely continue for years to come. In the meantime, why not check us out on Facebook?

Kenneth Lee, 12ZZ Editor-in-Chief

into a truly professional creative arts anthology. I have faith in their experience and talent, and we are all excited to work together to help Scribbles grow and thrive. I’ve been immensely proud of all of the work that has been put into this issue by everyone who has been a part of Scribbles. I look forward to working with all our artists and writers in future issues, and to bringing you, the reader, more of the creative talent that we’ve been proud to deliver over the past four issues.

Bryce Lim, 11YC

Deputy Editor Incoming Editor-in-Chief

Chinese International School


Sophia Li, 13HB

VISUAL ARTS 4: Overpopulation! photography from the Global Issues Group competition 6: Interview: Shirley Lau the incoming art director at scribbles 10: Work of Dana Hsu, Stephanie Cheung, Oriana Catton, and Robyn Houghton 17: Work of Sophia Li, Ellie Hung, Frances Suria, Tommy Li, Maddie Griffiths, Christopher Fong, and Robyn Houghton 20: Work of Christopher Fong, Nicole Cheng, and Lea Breistroff 23: Work of Jesse Mulcahy, Michelle Lo, Marcus Yau, Michelle Lo and Frances Suria 24: The Creative Process: Anatomy by Jade Mallabone 26: Work of Virginia Hsu, Man Hon Ding, Dana Hsu Wilhelmina Shih, and Yasmine Lai 31: Work of Frances Suria, Nicole Cheng, and Annette Kim WRITING 8: Bleary by Claron Niu 9: A Walk in the Woods by Aspen Wang 11: Magick by Kameka Herbst 11: Fathomless Floating by Justina Yam 11: Spaces by Daphne Ng 12: Interview: Susan Maginn the incoming creative writing director at scribbles 13: Eleanor Rigby by Susan Maginn 14: Autumn Rain by Yanna Lee 16: Upon the Churning Sea by May Huang 16: Fire Paper by Susan Maginn 18: Eames’ Chair by Sasha Corr 21: Happiness Through Food by Stephanie Ng 22: The Ballad of Foodsteps in the Snow by Bryan Cheng 27: What is Silence? by Alison Lui 28: Silent Movies by Yoon Ji Han 30: I. by Claron Niu 30: Portrait of the Dusk by Boris But Scribbles | Summer 2012

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Overpopulation

featured work from the global issues group competition.

“My picture is what I think defines overpopulation in Hong Kong. Indeed there are millions of people living here, but not many of us take notice of the decreasing cemetery spaces. In reality, tens of thousands fight for a space to allow their loved ones to rest in peace. That is, in my opinion, overpopulation.”

Abibail Yee, 8CC

Kaitlin Chan, 12HK

Irene Li, 10XN 4

Anastasia Salnikow, 10GL

Nicholas Berry, 8TB Chinese International School


Alison Lui, 11SJ

Britta Lam, 9XA

Stephanie Lau, 8WH

Stephanie Leung, 9HT Scribbles | Summer 2012

Lea Breistroff, 12CQ

Jasmine Brian-Boys, 9NC

Natasha Chak, 11FZ 5


featured artist

INTERVIEW:

SHIRLEY LAU “I take weekly art lessons of a semi-spartan practice.�

>When did your interest in art start?

Initially, I had no artistic motives in life. However, when I joined CIS in year 8, I was able to meet a great bunch of people, encounter many new opportunities and as such, my artistic sense grew. I was able to immerse myself in art and share a common interest with my friends. It ultimately led to my desire to pursue art as a career.

>What do you do to pursue your interest in art?

I take weekly art lessons of semispartan practice: we are required to finish A2 posters with specific themes every month. They require a wide range of different skills and media to complete. There are different skill levels for each class, ranking from Master to Beginner (I am in Expert) which applies the pressure of a deadline and production of quality work. In my spare time, I also like to draw and design a range of different things. I take a great interest in pop art and Asian artists, as well as budding avant-garde fashion designers under brands such as I.T. As I believe fashion communicates my personality and style from a visual viewpoint to strangers, it is very important to dress in a way that you like. I take great care to present myself to society and how people regard my outfit as a canvas for my personality. I also regularly browse sites like DeviantArt to enjoy creative pieces, gain inspiration, learn new techniques, and help my skills develop. This helps me to maintain knowledge on pop art styles, genuinely good art (and bad), and skills to help my art improve.

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>When did you join Scribbles? Why?

I just joined this year, actually. Initially, I wanted to share my artwork and get critique to improve my art. However, as my time in CIS grew, I also wanted to share my skills and enjoyments with other artists, as well as get more people to enjoy art in general.

>What have you done with Scribbles so far? I've submitted 'Clairvoyance' for the previous issue this year, made with PITT artist pens, COPIC markers, gouache paint and watercolor. The size is B3. I've also submitted 'Seasons'. 'Seasons' was made also with PITT artist pens, COPIC markers, gouache paint and watercolor. The total paper size is B1. Finally, my avatar piece was made with one single sanguine colored PITT artist pen, S size. The size is B5.

>What do you enjoy about working with Scribbles? What is the best part of Scribbles? Scribbles is a canvas for the artists of CIS to show all that they've got. It allows a range of different artworks in all aspects: Style, technique, size, skill level, themes and much more. In Scribbles, who you are in the rest of your life doesn't matter. It's just you with your artwork on that page, indisputable. You get to show what you want to show, how you want to show it, all by that artist's instinct in you. Scribbles acknowledges that part of an artist and doesn't ask further questions like 'Why do you want to show this?' I won't lie: I don't want to know most of the time. Not having to make

answers to questions you don't want to know the answer to, that's what I like most about Scribbles.

>What will you be bringing to Scribbles?

I want to be able to bring critique to Scribbles, so that the art can be enjoyed and the artist can be improved. Sharing art is not just for enjoyment, but also for development. I want to be able to now just have CIS artists share art, but also to improve their skills. To do this, I want to have critique made by anyone in the student body to help improve their fellow schoolmates. I would also like to make Scribbles THE art medium for CIS, and provide a good experience for everyone.

>Any final thoughts?

I hope to make Scribbles a commonthing in CIS through the work I will be doing for Scribbles, hopefully, in the next few years! I simply ask from the CIS student body for support to your fellow schoolmates and artists!

Shirley Lau is the incoming Art Director of Scribbles.

Chinese International School


“Seasons” by Shirley Lau Scribbles | Summer 2012

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Bleary By Claron Niu, 11HF

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lex felt himself falling asleep. As he realised that the world was falling away from his feet, he found that he had gradually dozed away his afternoon. The dreams of a perfect summer rotated in his mind, and the thoughts that would normally carry him into a fantasy stagnated in his mind’s rivers until they festered and became rotten. An island, shrouded by oily sea and rising steam, stands like a mirage in the sea. Waves lick its feet, and the grey sand that fringes its beaches never moves, but shifts and loiters until the swell pushes it reluctantly away. In this place, the sky is a cloudless dome, devoid of colour and any defining cloud. The trees that crowd further inland seem ominous, and when the leaves move, the sound created sounds like the trees are colluding and muttering angrily. As the waves continue to lap the shore, through this eternal fog and dusk, a sigh ripples throughout the foliage, and the whole island shakes slightly. What would normally be a bright dream now found itself limp with lethargy, and the canvas of his subconscious was muddied and dirtied. Alex was not used to this. Normally, after he felt himself stumbling into his mind’s recess, there hid a fantasyland of fantastic and vibrant landscapes, places that would be impossible in reality. A panorama of rolling green hills, moving forever into the distance; places where flora bloomed with abundance and health; a horizon splashed with colour, where the sea and sky merged to form an eternal line. These places were suddenly decimated in loveliness, and the shimmering coat that Alex’s mind would apply to these places was rubbed off with the rough sandpaper of his disease. Sickly and slowly, Alex felt himself exploring these places. Now

that they were no longer picturesque, these worlds held a strange allure and mystery for him. As soon as he thought this, curtains were drawn back, windows were opened, and physically, Alex felt himself deposited on his island. He dropped through the sky and landed softly on the beach. There was no sound from the tide, since it barely moved at all, and the sky was like a great canvas stretched over the earth. In time, Alex came to love the quiet. The island was a place of serenity and complete, mind-numbing

thousands and millions. There were boxes, containing foods and toys, there were pieces of string, there were pens, pencils, felt pens, crayons, there were bottles of glass, there were pot plants, there were cups, there were CDs, and there were paintbrushes. A deluge of items flooded onto the beach. Alex looked at the pile in dismay. He had been dreaming in a strange landscape, which was now flooded with random household items. He moved through the piles slowly and gingerly. Throughout the world,

“What would normally be a bright dream now found itself limp with lethargy, and the canvas of his subconscious was muddied and dirtied.” gray. There was no colour, but this was something he preferred; finding the plain, flat landscape a dip in serenity after all that colour. Places merged together: lines of palm trees, waves, and the sand became blurry as though seen through myopic vision. It was a strange, bleary place to be. After what seemed an eternity, change wrought the island. The sand moved slightly, and the places that Alex had seen in his life seemed to blink before his eyelids. With a plop, a book dropped onto the beach. His vision sharpened considerably. Things started to pile onto the beach in their

millions of young people had been going through the same trauma. In every strange world, illusions sprang up. They blossomed like flowers in the unreal, fecund plains of the mind. People never thought they were fake, because they had been reasoned through thoroughly, not only subconsciously, but consciously as well. This is why Alex will never break free. He is happy with the grey, the bleariness. The best thing to do is to smash it. Break it. And in these mundane shores, items still wash up. There is an endless treasure trove. Enough for anyone. Photo by Tommy Li

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Chinese International School


A Walk in the Woods By Aspen Wang. 11HF

Art by Shirley Lau

Away from the smoky air saturated with lust and gaiety, she walked. She thought to herself, I live here, I live here right in this house. But it was a concept so bizarre and ungraspable. Outside of the house, she was a stranger looking in, looking in at the pulsating dance beat, the overexerted laugh, and a boy and a girl kissing. She walked a little further, after a while realizing, from the cool wetness beneath her feet, that she had forgotten to wear shoes. For a moment she pondered the idea of stepping on a poisonous wild mushroom by accident, but the thought disappeared, dissipating like smoke. She was in the kind of mood where things like that did not matter. Maybe, maybe, maybe. She let a vague smile take hold of her face. Maybe, she thought, that boy would follow her, and she would look into his eyes, and he would be enraptured by her demure yet sophisticated nature, and they would fall in love. When she pictured this, it was all hazy in her mind. She let out a short first of giggles before realizing such a situation would not happen. She could have been from any of the thousands of places in the world, from some pleasant suburb, from some nice white neighborhood, from some lonely big city where she would be lost, or in some wood, like she was in now. After a while, she realized she had an almost empty bottle in her hand. She put it to her mouth and stuck her tongue in it. Slowly, a cool fire settled in until an after buzz still lingered. She started laughing again and pictured herself outside of her body. She saw someone happy with life. She replayed this Scribbles | Summer 2012

scene several times in her head. It wasn’t the only scene she replayed. She replayed the secret rendezvous with that young man with the seductive aura, or the scene where she was that silly wife with the wide and doting eyes, or some fantasy where she led a heroic and tragic life. She could have just been that girl tired with money and the flash and grasping at the mangled threads of her existence. She thought it was hilarious because after a while, she could not tell if these scenes were fantasies, reality, or her subconscious desire to confuse and to deny. In some way she sensed she was a self-branded destructor, pushing away those that could help simply because she was that way, simply because she was meant to. But she knew for sure she wanted to be beautiful. She wanted to be in pain, because she thought that was the only way beauty was possible. There was no art in the monotony of existence, no intricacies in perfect accord and balance of life. She wanted discord, chaos, and from that a sense of belonging to all because she could not belong to just one. She walked a little further into the woods. The sounds of mechanized human noises had faded, but with that still came no calm. She started to become increasingly frenzied and panicked. She walked faster and faster, daring herself to not be afraid. Then she stopped and came to a clearing in the forest. She cowered. Then, everything was very clear. And she reveled in its glory. The complexities and simplicities in her mind were all held at once in that

moment, contradicting ideas, inexplicable oxymoron. In her mind, there was a vastness of omniscience that was only limited by the size of her cranium. In those few seconds, time passed indefinitely despite the ephemeral nature of her epiphany that could not be expressed in language or feeling but by sheer notion. Her consciousness suddenly tired from the strength of the idea it held, and realizing her ideas would dull, foreseeing the end of mankind, and pitying the unbelievable pointlessness of existence in the universe, she fell to her knees on the black roots of a nearby tree. She began to cry uncontrollably at the thought that what she had wished wouldn’t, and what she had thought wasn’t either. She didn’t know what was worse, the fact that everything her life believed in was insincere, or the insincerity of it being insincere. Her eyes unexpectedly wandered until they rested upon a droplet of water on a nearby leaf. The droplet caught the glint of the moon shine that had risen on top of the clearing of dense foliage. Marveling in its gauzy brightness and iridescent shine, she felt calmed. This orb convinced her of the unimaginable infinities of perspectives and facets of life. Slowly the orb began to fade and all was black and sweet and asleep. When she woke up, she realized she had only walked less than half a kilometer away from her home. On her way back, she noticed, the blazing red and amber of the leaves she stepped on. The occasional sun that would filter through 9


Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can. - Danny Kaye

arts features

row-by-row: Dana Hsu, 13JN; Stephanie Cheung, 12ZZ; Oriana Catton, 12TY; Robyn Houghton, 12LS 10

Chinese International School


Spaces As the silver moon fell from its throne and the glowing stars slowly vanished in the night sky, I watched as every source of light in the park extinguished, like burning candles blown out by the wind. All was silent in the park, except for the soft whispers of the evening wind that filled the night. But the night did not last. Several moments passed and the sun finally woke from its slumber. Smiling, I welcomed the growing warmth in the air as the sun ascended and painted faint streaks of gold across the heavens. The park was coated in a blanket of light and I was wrapped in a bundle of hope. A few more hours and strangers would fill the spaces around me. Spaces – a reflection of me, long abandoned and forgotten. —Daphne Ng, 12HK

Fathomless Floating Bounded in an infinite portrait Of foster and wreckage, We go forth waiting Leaving marks for the finish, to perish. Wandering towards freedom, singing a brief curt song And with a day’s loss, going back Treading on to closing the day No siren seems to weep about The far, deep things in salty water In a fathomless ocean, we flow down ends meet “go! capture! destroy! and nourish! allow these sparks to give, to flourish.” Yes Captain, give us choices For more words more voices So we’ll sway here and wonder Like fish who swim no ends what stars pry into the hands of twigs washing upon the shore’s grief Dry and lain and against such frames Only our truths stay warm If all dirt passes through the breeze, Even seedlings, sprouted out of memories Buried in sand, it stays Still upon the surface And building beyond waves

Magick Curling smokes from my fingers hiss Flames jump, they come alive Burning bright in the morning sun Magick. Water splashes, roars, it yells Waterfalls form, down to a stream It becomes a river, now a flood Magick. Grass that sprouts underneath my feet Soon becomes a carpet of green A barren desert becomes a paradise Magick. A slight breeze turns into a fierce gale Branches bend and break A whirlwind flings grass into the sky Magick. I hold up my arms, it all ends The lush forest becomes desert again Leaving no trace; there never was Magick. —Kameka Herbst, 8XG

—Justina Yam, 10NN Scribbles | Summer 2012

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featured writer

INTERVIEW:

“I love forming characters and events that have never happened, that will never happen, but exist only in my mind and now too, on paper, to share for the world to see.”

totally and devotedly in love with the woman in the grave, without the concept or realisation that she is his mother. After all, his mother is a mere image, “faceless and monotone and he can’t be certain that she’s real.” To him, the name on the grave is much more real; he forgets everything else but her, although he perceives that others “think it’s wrong”. Nevertheless, he maintains that he is a young man, and before he even has time to stop and think about why he is so in love with the dead woman, he laments that he has become terribly old. In this strange and impossibly unrequited love, he too forgets his own happiness, and dies filled with regret and loneliness, which is similar to Eleanor Rigby’s death in the Beatles song. Fire Paper is a contemporary poem pondering the significance of the newspaper in today’s media world. As an extended metaphor, the man represents society’s ever-changing greed and desires. However, by rejecting new ideas, society becomes “withered” and the “fire dies.” As such, it is necessary for society to move on and accept changes, rather than hold desperately onto the old. The newspaper is “trembling” because it is anxious and “impatient”. It is about to be replaced by new forms of media, such as the internet, the iPad, the Amazon Kindle... The newspaper is becoming extinct, it has burned out.

Susan Maginn >Why do you enjoy writing? I write to express myself; to pour out emotions that I can’t seem to talk about or to explain. I love forming characters and events that have never happened, that will never happen, but exist only in my mind and now too, on paper, to share for the world to see. I love experimenting with the flow of words and the language I use to convey my emotions. For me, writing comes naturally, and I don’t find it time consuming, or boring, or a waste of my energy. couldn’t be further from the truth. >What’s your piece of writing for this issue about? I am submitting a short story called Eleanor Rigby. In the short story, the theme of loneliness is a recurring one. In some ways, the woman in the grave can be construed as Eleanor Rigby, whilst the man can be construed as Father McKenzie. The story is set in a time when the world is troubled by severe side effects from climate change, and acid rain and unbearable heat alternate to form a neardeath situation for those not fortunate enough to be “townsfolk, sheltered in their cosy homes”. The reader suspects their lives are also grim in this new world, and their selfishness in refusing “to lend him a roof ” is a natural survival of the fitness way of thinking. In Eleanor Rigby, the man is 12

>Where do you get your inspiration from? Eleanor Rigby was inspired by the Beatles. Both the title of the short story and the famous Beatles song reference the song’s chorus in the beginning and end, “All the lonely people, where do they all come from? / All the lonely people, where

do they all belong?” In the song, Eleanor Rigby is a woman who “picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been / Lives in a dream / Waits at the window, wearing a face that she keeps in a jar by the door” and eventually dies from loneliness. The significance of the song in the Beatles’ evolution from pop to more experimental styles despite not being the first song to deal with death, “came as quite a shock to pop listeners in 1966,” according to Ian MacDonald. The bleak funeral-like message of depression and desolation was one of the most explicit deviations from the normal long songs performed by the band. Fire Paper was inspired by newspapers. Of course, this poem doesn’t have to refer literally to newspapers at all; it can mean a variety of different things. Just as in Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”, so villagers are used to tradition and conformity and find it increasingly difficult to give up their old ways, however outdated they may be. I personally quite like newspapers, and yet in today’s day and age, it seems unnecessary, a waste, almost, when newspapers can be read online for free, or bought and subscribed too online. This poem was meant to address this ever evolving issue and also question what is next to be eradicated from our medium? Books, magazines? Scribbles, too, features online. Will the print form simply die out? >What are you going to bring to Scribbles as Deputy Head of Creative Writing? I hope that I can bring some refreshing thoughts and ideas! I’ve been at CIS for many years now, so I’ve seen lots of creative magazines come and go. Writing is my passion, and I think that editing can also improve my own writing, so I’d love to help in any way I can. I can bring a new spin on ideas and also help with the editing process so everything can be completed much more efficiently so we can save quite a bit of time. >What are you most excited about as deputy? Being deputy head of writing Chinese International School


means that I actually get to read everything before it is printed. I’m excited to see all the unfinished pieces, the development of stories and how writers mature. I think that the writing and editing process actually reveals so much more than a final polished product. I’m also excited to read loads of new stories from a variety of people in different year groups. >What kinds of books do you enjoy reading? I read any type of book, but I usually read classics, just because I prefer them over modern teenage novels. Of course, I do read contemporary books, but I really do prefer older styles of

writing. In particular, I’m a fan of Russian literature. My favourite book at the moment is Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. I loved it for its shocking taboo subject and the beautiful language. Nabokov’s mother tongue was Russian, but he wrote Lolita in English, and in such eloquent prose. The subject matter of course is also highly disturbing and controversial. Definitely not a story for younger readers, and a rather strange venture into creepiness. Extremely interesting to read the book from the man’s perspective, seeing Lolita and understanding at the same time, by detaching ourselves, that this man is immoral and a paedophile, and his feelings are disgusting. Nabokov makes no attempt

to make him likeable or sympathetic, and yet the reader is irresistibly drawn into the story and what will happen. >Is there a character from a book you’ve read that you identify with? Why? Funnily enough, Holly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I could always relate to her relationship with her brother. Although I’m far more grounded than the flighty Holly, I always empathised with her actions and I really saw her emotional depth as a character.

Susan Maginn is the incoming Creative Writing Director of Scribbles.

It’s easy to dream, and

harder to remember.

eleanor rigby: a short story by Susan Maginn, 11FZ that deals with problems far too mature for our age. Art by Shirley Lau

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ll the lonely people, where do they all come from? She was loved once, he thinks, but it means nothing now. The flowers next to her grave are withered and torn, faded from the sun, and bleached from the rain. Today, the sun is scorching. Tomorrow, he thinks, the heavens will mourn and weep, drowning him in sorrow, and drowning the flowers too. The sun beats down upon his naked body, and burns the red welting flesh. He ignores the pain- tomorrow, when the sharp daggers of rain bite into his skin, it will hurt more. But this is the way it’s always been, for him at least; he can’t say the same for the townsfolk, sheltered in their cosy homes, too selfish to lend him a roof when the sleets of ice like lightning strike his feeble attempt of a structure by the grave. He’s old, and vaguely, he can remember a life before all of this. An image of his mother is conjured up in his mind, but she’s faceless and monotone and he can’t be Scribbles | Summer 2012

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certain that she’s real. It’s easy to dream, and harder to remember. How does he know the difference, the man who dreams because there is nothing else to hold on to? He’s lost, confused, and not quite sure why he still stays. There used to be others here, he recalls, but they’re gone now. He doesn’t know why they’ve deserted him and left him all alone. Perhaps they’ve found a home to stay in elsewhere in town, or perhaps they have died. He’d much prefer they died, to be honest, and he is honest. He’d trade them all for her, all alone, in that limestone tomb that is eroded by the acidic rain that falls every other day. Someday, he hopes, it’ll all get washed off, and he’ll get to see her face, finally. Maybe, he thinks foolishly, she’ll be alive, and he’ll hand her the flowers, and she’ll smile sweetly and accept his little gift, and this, he declares, is love. Pure love, can’t you see and isn’t it obvious? Someday, it’ll happen, he hopes. Hope, he decides, is a fragile, flimsy thing, but he clings onto it desperately like the townsfolk cling onto their ignorance and disbelief. Maybe one day, hope will spread its wings and flutter away- but not today. Today, he holds on like it’s his last thread of life, forcing oxygen down his throat even when he wants to give up. Breathe, it whispers, honey disguising the threats that consume him entirely. One day, he promises himself, he is going to become an angel. She’s up in heaven, waiting for him. Some days, he thinks he should hurry up and meet her, else she forget him. He knows, that she will be beautiful, like the flower that lives and dies but never breathes, next to her grave that he preserves so religiously. She will be all, everything and nothing like how he imagined her to be. She will be perfect. It is always one day, some day, maybe, and perhaps for him. If he doesn’t dream, he won’t remember; if he doesn’t hope, all is lost. All is lost. It is with this firm belief that the stiff corners of his mouth miraculously turn into what appears to be a crooked smile, unfamiliar and strange in its expression, and, flower pressed firmly to his chest, does he die. He does not become an angel, his wings ever torn and dirtied with old age. And he does not finally see the woman he’s been craving for so long. Not even close. He dies alone, with no burial and no final respects from anybody and pretty soon, he is washed away with the flower, forever, never to be seen again. Nobody cares. Nobody wants to know what happened to the old man who slaved over the grave of a young woman. They think it’s wrong. They don’t realise, she was young when she died, but he was even younger. Now that he’s old, she should be even older, but she never got to grow. He’s not an old man, he swears that he’s young, but his body betrays him, suffering from time’s lashes and wrath, and she hasn’t changed. They think it’s wrong, but he knows only that it feels so utterly right. Her grave grows decrepit and old, and no one comes to visit her. Who knew her? No one but the mutilated corpse laying lovingly beside her, the man that was her devoted son. She was loved once, he thinks, but he never was, and that, of all thoughts, makes him lonelier than anyone could ever imagine. All the lonely people, where do they all belong? 14

AUTUMN RAIN by Yanna Lee, 12LS

I feel the crisp, darkening leaves crunching under my feet as I walk towards the bus stop. “Mei,” stepfather says gently, “It’s okay. See those children there? They’re also waiting for the bus.” My head turns to where he points. He places a warm, comforting hand on my shoulder before I nod once, curtly, tightening the grip on my bag and marching towards the bus stop. “I’ll be waiting here when you come home later!” he calls as he gives a thumbs up. I smile slightly, my expression frozen. I look at the round, white faces that surround me. They all look the same. Just like him. The bus, a large rolling yellow container, finally arrives, and I get on it, finding a seat. I see some glancing my way, and others turning their whole body to stare at me, but I don’t care. I look through the windows, admiring the leaves as they blush, just like me, and fall lightly onto the pavement. I come back to my senses. I begin to feel nauseated, not being able to adapt to long car rides, and my ears finally take in the low mutterings around me. “Asians… Asians…..” “What? Another one?” I turn around to give those people ‘the eye.’ “Small eyes…” “Her hair is black? Is it a wig? I wonder how she dyed it…” I stay silent for the rest of the bus ride. I finally start class. I walk in to see ten pairs of brown, blue and green eyes staring back at me. I only see one Japanese girl who smiles back at me. This is strange because stepfather told me that there would be many Asian people like me. She’s wearing pink glasses with heart patterns on the edges. They’re very pretty, I think to myself as I go sit next to her. She has large brown eyes, with long lashes that beckon me. I wonder how she’s Asian. If it weren’t for her hair, she would be American like the rest of them. We gather on the floor, watching the teacher. She holds up a book, which has the word

Chinese International School


“Cinderella” on it. We learn about a poor girl called Cinderella, who has a mean step-mother and step-sister. In the end, she lives happily ever after with her prince, and the mother and sister are never mentioned again. I feel this is quite unfair because they are still family. Shouldn’t they go to live in the palace with Cinderella? I listen to the story with incomprehension. “Hey,” comes the voice behind me. It is recess, and I sit quietly eating my fruit. I look around to see the Japanese girl approaching me. She crouches next to me, wrapping her knees to her chest. She glances at me. “Where do you live? Why did you come to America?” she asks, encouraging me to speak. I tell her. I tell her about my step-father, his job, and how he said he would protect us. I look up to see her slightly incredulous but inquisitive expression. “Step…father?” she says, emphasizing the ‘step’ as though it is some sort of disease. “I have a stepfather too. All step family members are horrible. I mean, take a look at Cinderella.” I shake my head furiously. No, no, I say. My step-father isn’t like that. He can’t be like that. I try to explain. “We-ll,” the girl eyes me dubiously “If you say so. Just be careful, and don’t trust them too much. That’s all.” I sigh, trying to explain that the author of Cinderella was probably mistaken in creating a harmful image of step families. The bell rings, calling us back into the classroom. Today mother is wearing more make-up than usual. I finally realize that make-up is what changes her appearance. It is very strange, because she never goes out anywhere. She always used to be against make-up, saying that it was like playing a trick on somebody, deceiving people. It happened one year ago, autumn. The rain was beating heavily against the windows, which rattled every time there was a clap of thunder. I remember trembling under the covers, counting to ten; it’s the best approach to dealing with an unfamiliar situation. The house was eerily quiet though. And then I heard it. A scream, and a cry of anguish. I remember freezing under the Scribbles | Summer 2012

covers, forcing my eyes to close. I slowly crept into the living room and uttered a soft ‘mother?’ only to find my stepfather, who said flatly, “She’s sleeping.” Stepfather did not look like the stepfather I knew. His eyes had turned cold, without emotion. That night I did not sleep. After the rain came mother looked different. Her eyebrows looked darker, her lips thicker, and her face paler. But it could’ve just been my imagination, I don’t know. Maybe that’s when it started, but nowadays mother is always wearing makeup. It’s like a habit. After the first two weeks, she is beginning to look slightly paler, thinner. Step-father says it could be because of the weather – the autumn weather in America is difficult to adapt to. It’s all right though. As long as there is no rain I will be happy. It was a rainy day when we left China. “Leave it to me, Mei,” he told me. “I will make your mother happy and give you a good home.” That was why he sold our house and brought us to America. He also taught me some English so that I wouldn’t be too far behind in my studies here. But every so often, I have an uneasiness about rainy days during the autumn that even stepfather cannot soothe. “It says there’s drizzle today, so I’ll be waiting for you at the bus stop,” said my stepfather this morning. I hope I manage to catch the bus on time, I think as I stare up at the many wrinkles contorted into an expression. “Mei,” says the teacher, “was your first week alright?” I just shrug. She hands me Cinderella. “This is for you. Everybody in the class has one. This is yours now.” I look down at the shiny new cover and smile. After muttering thanks and farewell, I head out the classroom. It is dark and pouring. I ride the bus, and I hear a faint alarm. I look around and realize it is just me. My heart also begins to beat slightly faster. It must be the rain, I think to myself. A flashback. My stepfather’s cold flat eyes. I get off the bus, and stepfather is not there. Something is wrong. A mother ushers her child under the security of her umbrella and offers to take me home. I just stand there, staring

blankly at a tile on the floor, so she gives up and leaves with her arm around her son. He said he would come here. My breaths become shorter. Why isn’t he here? What happened? My heart races, and the recollections come back: The kind lady reading the book, the girl warning me of trust, mother wearing makeup… I clasp the book tightly to my chest. My mind slowly forces my body to turn towards the direction of my home. I push myself to take each step. As the rain beats down harder and lighting flashes, something snaps inside me. I run. I soar through the rain as though I have no fear in the world. I’m almost there. I pant, gasp for breath. I fumble with the key and slowly push the door open. “You stupid cow!” I hear Chinese. He roars over the claps of thunder with horrid words I have never heard. The door slowly closes behind me. I let my stained, soggy new Cinderella fall to the floor. My mother is unrecognizable. Her swollen face is coated with fresh, glistening tears. She is sprawled across the floor, her left arm bent at a strange angle. Her right arm is hooked onto stepfather’s left leg, trembling. I understand now. Her mascara smears her cheeks, revealing a trail of black and blue bruises on her face. I open my mouth but no sound comes out. This is not the mother I know. My eyes slowly travel from her hand to his leg and up his torso. His back is toward me, and his right arm is lifted above his head, holding a frying pan as if he is going to hit a serve he had practiced countless times. The twisted face I see is not my stepfather. The side of his face turns, and he stares at me. His eyes return to normal for a split second. “I told you I’m not her father,” he spits out, throwing the frying pan against the wall. He then stomps out, leaving a wet footprint on my book. One, two. My mother, still in her state, lies there, sobbing and I curl up in the corner. Three, four. Afraid of the past. Five, six, seven. Afraid of the future. I dig my knees into my face. Cover everything. Eight. Nine. The thunder crashes down. Ten. I try to hold on to my last hope, my last opportunity, and try to comprehend this real world, and this word called ‘family.’

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Fire Paper Upon the Churning Sea So dance with me upon the churning sea, When the musky sea breeze blows in your face, And ride with me upon the spewing waves, Upon we sidestep: one and two and three. We built the azure stage of hopes and dreams, For scarlet letters to be washed ashore, The letters dancing on the sandy shore, To catch the broken remnants of our dreams. The sea of fallen stars roll softly by, Twas slowly rippled by our dancing feet, Too dark to fall, too dark to see any more My burning heart of flame was quivering. But it was felt by strength of soul and beat, So dance with me upon the churning sea. —May Huang, 10NN

Stretched tautly Between fingersTrembling and impatient Lies today’s newspaper Feverishly read And desperately turned From page to page He searches The fire crackles And hisses angrily He reaches And lights another smoke The pages Are burned black With smudges Of careless ink and ash His withered hand Drops the paper The cigarette goes out And the fire dies —Susan Maginn, 11FZ

Image by Claron Niu.

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arts features

row-by row: Sophia Li, 13HB; Ellie Hung, 12LS | Frances Suria, 13TJ; Tommy Li, 12HK; Maddie Griffiths, 9GZ | Christopher Fong, 12LS; Robyn Houghton, 12LS

Scribbles | Summer 2012

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“THEY WHO CONTROL THE PRESENT CONTROL THE FUTURE AND DESTROY THE PAST.” eames’s chair: a psychedelic short story by sasha corr, 9xa

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Art by Michelle Lo

omehow, he was mixed up in something that he hadn’t wanted to be. “Government? Comrade, that has not existed for years; it’s practically dead!” his student exclaimed. This was the statement that would spark a revolution, and had he known, he would not have opened his mouth. Or perhaps he had known all along what was to be, and had continued anyway, blundering on in good faith. “Of course government exists, but it isn’t necessarily good,” he answered his student. Ever

the conformist, he had played his answer safe; a traditional response, not out of bounds, or particularly controversial. “Civilization depends on government, comrade!” Now the student was enraged, fired up, excited, “The Party just sends people to the forest.” “An unrelated answer to a direct statement,” the student was chided with a piercing stare. “There’s unrelated answers, and there’s veiled

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connections.” His pupil stared at him, seeming like he was willing him to understand. “They know what’s best, my student, do not fret.” “I shall fret if I like! I can fret, worry, even brood if I so wish! Or shall I be sent to the forest for that too?” “They do not send people to the forest; don’t be ludicrous.” “They send people to the forest where they can be eaten by jaguars, drink their own urine and feed on poisoned bread! They talk of noble savagery, of being one with our instincts and becoming a collective whole! I am not just a head, torso and limbs; I am a person, a living breathing man, and I absolutely demand to be treated as such! We know what’s best for you, they say. I say I’ll do my damnedest to die, and they can watch as I live, then kiss my civilised arse. You know I’m right, comrade, don’t be such a stick in the mud. I say show them our colours, break this old monotony of monochrome. Rise up, take control, and deny them their monochrome future!” “You’re deranged! You should be sent to an institution—everyone knows that the Party knows best! Why do you do this to yourself? Why am I your mentor?” “Your almighty Party forced me into your care, old man. I did not choose this fate, and neither did you. You’re an old man, you should remember what happened in the Teen years. I am but a child—I have nothing to remember. But you, you beautiful, beautiful thing, you. You remember, you can, if you would just let yourself! Listen to me, Eames, don’t ignore me! Don’t you have those moments when you’re truly free? When you can think and be yourself and they aren’t watching? I’ll be taken away tomorrow, Eames, because I have done something horrendously stupid and I’ll be sent to the forest now. Eames, don’t forget. Not me, not anything. They’ll try and make you forget, Eames, but remember, above all, they can’t get in your head. There’s no such thing as crime of the thought, Eames. There’s crime of speech and crime of action, but they can’t stop your mind, Eames. You’re special, special ‘cause you remember, and you’ll feel it too. Don’t forget me, Eames. I shall go tomorrow and you shall be rid of me. Remember me. Remember Hadid, Eames, remember.” As Hadid made eye contact, Eames could see his fury, passion, determination, resolve. And as he saw all of his student through his eyes, he remembered. Then Hadid slipped him a note, an exchange too small to be seen. Hadid fled, and so did Scribbles | Summer 2012

Eames’s fear. Fear of death, of the Party, of things too big for him to imagine. His fear fled, and it replaced itself with a purpose. Eames’s hands trembled, with nerves, anticipation, suspense. The folded parchment revealed the scrawl of Hadid’s writing. It had faded, the parchment had grown brittle, and Eames laughed. Eames always laughed when he opened Hadid’s last letter, because Hadid’s writing was terrible, with no sense of spelling. Hadid had only ever dictated his writing, much like the rest of today’s youth. eems, dont worri bowt me. eyll b fine, eyv gotten a guy to evakuayt me. heel tayk me to a sayf playc. i want you to remember me, yea? keep finkin and rememberin cuz den dey cum and show you the lyt, like me. i sho dem lyk yoo sho me. keep rememberin or deyll take yoo to dat forest to, yea? eems, sho de ofers lyk yoo show me an togefer yoo remeber the teens and remember the future. dey who control de present control de future and destroy de past. yoor speshul, eems. luv, hadeed Eames uncapped his old writing-pen, the one with refillable ink, which, if you knew where to go, you could get a hold of. Being caught with the ink and pen and his new writing-book, he could be arrested, sent to a ‘rehabilitation’ camp, his very existence wiped from the records and memories of those he’d met. Hadid’s disappearance (death?) had rattled him slightly, but those last words had penetrated him to his core. He had wanted to remember, so he thought he’d keep a diary, a record to himself, so Hadid was not forgotten, until his past was reclaimed. His first entry was to rewrite his last conversation with Hadid, as best he could remember. His hand was shaky from disuse, but still legible. He was reminded of the loopy flowing script of someone (a teacher, a mother?) but was still only able to print his letters slowly and carefully. Cursive came with time, he assured himself. His next entry was Hadid’s letter, reprinting it with proper spelling, as best he could remember. August 7, 2037 Today, [he wrote] today I got this diary. I shan’t write a location or name, for safety of the owner, but he was very agreeable and sold me some envelopes and letterpaper. I have found Hadid’s address—it’s in a more...questionable part of town, but I have seen the owner, and I am expecting correspondence soon. Hadid told me to remember—so I’ll try.

Sometimes memories come to me at night, when the city is hushed, and the archaic architecture is hidden by nightfall. Mostly they come when I do something related to the Old times, before the Teens, when everything changed. ‘The twenty-first century is when everything changes.’ I remember that from a televid programme. Something about a burning tree and a doctor. I cannot place people, nor names. I couldn’t tell you who watched it—only that phrase. I remember something else, something about a book with faces in it. It was popular, I think. It had something to do with pears, or was it apples? I want to bash my head against a wall—but then the Party would notice an odd disturbance in the wall and might investigate. They watch everywhere— everyone knows that, it’s something universally acknowledged. How? Only the Party knows, I guess. To the rest of us mortals, it is only guesswork and our imagination that can give us the answer. We must rebel, Hadid said, in not so many words. We must rebel and reclaim our past. For they have stolen that, along with our voices, our hands, our minds. Eames set down his ink-pen and writing-book with a sigh. Starting a rebellion was hard work for an old man like him. He was only in his forties— he wasn’t old, really, but Eames was the kind of person who aged with stress, and throughout his lifetime he had had quite enough of that. There was ink on his fingers. He picked up the book and pen, and set them behind a cracked teapot and a dusty pitcher. He plodded to his small pantry-cupboard, and knocked back a swift swig of gin. He felt its effects on him almost immediately. He was sleepy and calm now, with no signs of the clammy palms and sweaty brow he had worn not a minute earlier. He continued to the bathroom, where he scrubbed the ink off his fingers with soap that had too much grit and too little soap. It was the kind that scratched your fingers, perfect for getting the black gunk off his hands. He continued to his bed, where he lay as a loud bleep filled the air. That was the signal to sleep for most of the city, except those with small children and permits. He willed himself to nod off, to dream and remember, and to perhaps wake up in a time where he could speak again. For Eames, above all, was a thinker. Thinkers and their thinking chairs are known to change the world. 19


arts features

clockwise from top right: Christopher Fong, 12LS; below: Nicole Cheng, 13TJ, left column: Lea Breistroff, 12CQ.

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happiness through food By Stephanie Ng, 10HZ Illustration by Yasmine Lai.

Food is connecting, sharing and loving. The aroma of cooking at home symbolizes warmth. The taste of your mother’s casserole wraps you in the feeling of pure passion. A dinner shared with someone you love can allow you to claim permanent residence on cloud 9. The beauty of food is that you can share it with others. Food is what people rely on to not only feed their bodies, but their souls as well. Remember when you were sitting alone at a table in those traditional Chinese restaurants? Busily texting away on your iPhones and forgetting that there is much more to living than just something on a screen? Do you recall the moment that a random person gets seated next to you, and you warily glance to your side to find out what type of person it is? For most people, the thought of having some stranger watch you eat is a weird thing, but for some, it is a form of basic human nature. The nature of sharing your space, of sitting in comfortable silence with someone who is just like you, but has been distanced simply because of fate. On some occasions, you will get to know the person next to you, and that is where the real Scribbles | Summer 2012

connection begins. For a split second, the touch of humanity is back, and you realize that life is about socializing, and spending time to get to know others. The tragedy is that even with people we do know, we tend to stare blankly at the electronic gadget in our hands and fail to speak to them, or even acknowledge their presence in some cases. Using food to heal is a skill. When the dish is created, it is a masterpiece. How a food looks and tastes can completely change a person’s outlook on life, be it their attitude or their mood. A flower shaped carrot can make the meal more enjoyable, and a heart shaped cupcake can make your day. It is particularly beautiful when a family member makes it, as each bite is guaranteed to be a result of their manual labor. That’s why there’s something called comfort food. That’s why people fall in love over ice cream. That’s why endless people reach for chocolate after a break-up. Food heals. Bento boxes. The lunchbox glowing with handmade warmth that originates from Japan. Ducky shaped rice balls. Piggy shaped omelets. The time that the

maker takes to shape each mouth, each eye, each ornament in the lunch, that both emanate love and taste of home. The child is immediately blessed by the thought that he or she is being cared for, and that their caretaker would give up their spare time to bring cheer to something as simple as the child’s lunch table. The food may be gone after that lunch, but the time and effort put into making it will never be forgotten. Food can strengthen existing bonds. A meal shared with someone you haven’t seen in years allows both to chat in a stressfree atmosphere, and have enough time to catch up on the events over the past years. Food represents culture, and you can show a part of whom you are just by telling someone what and where you like to eat. Let us remember that food is sharing. Let us remember that everything we’re eating is there because someone else gave it to us, because they gave up some of their time for our benefit. Let’s allow everyone share the joy of warmth and love. Let’s allow it bring humanity back into our lives. 21


The Ballad of Footsteps in the Snow The crunching of the frozen water Like a plant in a mortar A single soul, walking towards death. Sometimes stumbling like a child, His imprints in the snow, left to the wild. His weakening body, limping towards death. That dark face, filled with sorrow, No hope to last till tomorrow. His despairing heart, drifting towards death. His soul, a lost sheep separated from its herd Banished, alone, his pleads on court all unheard. His lonely spirit, crawling towards death. His frostbitten limbs No other man in glimpse His fading hope, straggling towards death. The days dragged on His supplies almost gone. A starving being, dropping towards death. That once famous face Until his great fall from grace. That shamed celebrity, falling towards death. All his hope had been destroyed Still, attempting to escape this fatal void. A trapped animal, sucked towards death. The cold numbs him to the bone Hunger leeching strength from this man, ever so prone A departing being, entering the realm of Death. Soon, Death’s darkness falls upon him Descending, that fate ever so grim. A mortal gone, lost in the ever-flowing river of history. —Bryan Cheng, 7CS

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row-by-row: Jesse Mulcahy, 13TJ; Michelle Lo, 13JN; Marcus Yau, 13HB; Michelle Lo, 13JN; Frances Suria, 13TJ. Scribbles | Summer 2012

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the creative process: anatomy by Jade Mallabone

1 Using light pencil lines, identify

the important parts of the person’s body with his movement in mind. Pay attention to the the curve of the spine, head position, length of limbs and positioning joint. This helps with initial planning, and ensures that you’ll have no fundamental problems with the proportions.

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2 Now develop the person’s primary

muscles and clothing. Muscles like arms and legs need to be carefully considered, such as what pressures are applied to them, e.g. the arm positioned on the floor supporting the person will have a bulging muscle, while the other elevated arm will be a stretched leaner looking muscle. Avoid attempting details on face, hands and feet for now; focus on the larger areas.

3 Take a close look at image above.

More complex muscles, like abs, need careful consideration. Do not use bold lines to draw muscles. Honestly, it will make the image unnatural. Hover the pencil over the area. Add more pressure to define the muscles using shadows, and be aware of light direction.

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4 You should only use solid dark

areas when the backdrop is entirely black to emphasise and define the figure.

7 Hands and feet can sometimes

be the most challenging parts of the body to draw. You must use yourself as a model. Put your hands or feet in the position you’re attempting to illustrate and try to imitate it in your drawing. At times you might exaggerate bodily shapes, but you can disguise this using shading later on, just like how you can use this technique for the body muscles.

Scribbles | Summer 2012

5 Clothing may not seem as difficult

as defined muscles or textured skin, but don’t forget the actual body beneath the clothes. Always work from the inside layers up. Folded areas like knees can’t be overly wrinkled - it doesn’t look realistic that way. Consider carefully the tight and loose areas. Sometimes, you can use textures to disguise difficult areas.

8 Add solid dark lines over

everything. You should be more aware of the lighthing of the person or figure. Highlight aspects that you want the focus to be on by leaving those areas white.

6 Depending on the position of the

head, shading can vary. In this case, you will require a greater deal of shadow. We can therefore avoid immesnse detail because the focus is on the movement on the body, not the person’s expression. Nonetheless, don’t forget important features like hair, brow, mouth, nose and so on.

9 Finally, go across the entire piece

with carefully, and a very sharp pencil, identify any small errors you may have made and enhance areas that you wish to further emphasize. Spread the background as evenly as possible.

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arts features

clockwise from top left: Virginia Hsu, 12HK; Man Hon Ding, 12CQ; Dana Hsu 13JN; Wilhelmina Shih, 9SY; Yasmine Lai, 10UQ. 26

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What is silence? What is sound It’s kinda hard to tell the difference when the dark is bleak like the streaks of a greying, setting, night. It’s a little tiresome, living the plunge of a never ending abyss. But there is always the solution. You know me. But it wears all sorts of elaborate masks. Realizing that it’s a façade is hard when you have to relive your nightmares. But its ok. You feel fine…. Always? What is silence What is sound It’s kind hard to tell the difference when dark cerebral tornadoes whirl all through the night. Red. Crimson droplets stream down the rotting abyss. There are holes where doubt has managed to squirm into me. I’m a scratch in a fissure of ash smothered ice, but it’s easier realising that it’s better. Although leprous hands are groping, clinging. Always. What is silence What is sound It’s kinda hard to tell the difference when Darkness takes over and the lights flicker out

—Alison Lui, 11SJ

Scribbles | Summer 2012

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silent movies Yoon-Ji Han, 12ZZ

Silence. The wind wove its way through the tall willow trees, leaving behind a trail of its autumnal perfume in its welltrodden path. Fallen leaves of all colours, from brown to orange to yellow to gold, rose to dance briefly with the gust of wind before they spirited away in search for new partners. I closed my eyes and inhaled, sending the fresh, crisp air cascading down my throat and into my lungs. It left a tangerine tang on my tongue, overlaid with the bitter taste of tree bark. It tasted of autumn. I opened my eyes and stretched, loosening the muscles that had stiffened after hours of sitting slouched against the tree. The leaves hanging precariously above my head cast a golden buttery glow under the light of the setting sun. Twirling the chewed-on pencil in my fingers, I studied the sketchpad resting on my lap. Harsh, black lines stood slanted in many directions, like an army of exhausted soldiers. Small graphite leaves of grey patterned the floor and the air around the tree trunks. I glanced up at my surroundings, then back at my sketchpad. No resemblance. A sigh escaped my lips. Something vibrated in my pocket. I fished my phone out, catching the sketchpad in time before it fell onto the cold earth. Dinner’s ready. Love, Dad. 28

Lips stretching into a grin, I tossed my sketchpad and pencil into my backpack and stood up. A sudden gust of wind blew my black hair into a frenzy, and I reached up to push it out of my eyes. That hair of yours is going to be the death of you someday. I suppressed a smile as I remembered what dad had said as he played with my long hair. Shouldering my bag, I began to trudge through the piles of leaves toward the path that would lead me back to the main park. I watched as a single leaf fluttered noiselessly to the ground before me. I finally reached the main area of the park. A couple strolled through an array of trees, linked hands swinging between them. An elderly woman sat on a nearby bench, throwing some crumbs of bread to the gathering pigeons. A mother watched as her little boy ran through the leaves, sending them spiraling into the air. A group of guys I recognized from my school was walking towards me. One of them, the one with the jaunty saunter, opened his mouth to speak. Even from the distance, I could read his lips. Hey, it’s the deaf girl.

■ ■ ■ Douglas Fairbanks Jr. threw his head back and laughed as he escaped yet another one of his foes. I laughed along with him, inhaling the mouthwatering smell of popcorn drenched in butter. I grabbed the pencil that never left my side and found a piece of paper. I scrawled, The actors are ridiculously melodramatic. Dad picked it up and smiled, the corners of his eyes etched with crow’s feet. He took the pencil from my hand and replied in his large, messy handwriting, That’s why silent movies are so fun to watch. How do you like The Thief of Baghdad so far? It’s alright. I liked Birth of a Nation better. Me too. Fairbanks is such a horrible actor it’s a wonder they didn’t just shoot him then and there. I looked up at dad, who was leaning back in his favourite recliner, and feigned a shocked expression. He waggled his thick eyebrows. I smothered another laugh and continued watching the beatup T.V set, snuggling into the lime green threadbare couch. I smoothed the paper in my hands, feeling the bumps caused by graphite pressing down onto it. Dad always “spoke” with writing. When he was still teaching me how to read lips, he’d had to communicate using hand gestures. Unfortunately, he’s not the best at charades. Chinese International School


Photo by Tommy Li On the screen, Fairbanks was confessing his love to the heroine, hands pressed to his heart. I grimaced, but inside I felt my heart go all funny. Sure, it was cheesy, but every teenage girl has her dreams. Wrapped in a cocoon spun out of warmth and satisfaction, I fought against my heavy eyelids as they drooped lower and lower. Outside, the moon hung low in the dark night sky while glittering stars mingled with the skyscrapers of New York. The soft spring breeze slipped in through the open window, hand-inhand with the faint smell of hot dogs. Dad gingerly plucked the pencil out of my grip, reached for another piece of paper, and started scribbling on it. Pure silence swayed in the air on whisper-thin threads. Finally, I let sleep take me away in her gentle caress. Only after I woke up, a warm woolen blanket draped over me, would I read what dad had scrawled on the paper. These movies are even greater because you and I both can equally enjoy it to its full extent. Love you. Black and white movies have no sound. It was then that I realized that dad’s gift to me was something precious. It was the gift of not having to stand apart from the others, of not being different just because I was deaf. It was the gift of belonging. Scribbles | Summer 2012

■ ■ ■ The temperature was dropping, fast. I pulled my sweater tighter around myself, and hurried toward the direction of the park entrance. I kept my head down, eyes trained on my grey Converses. Please don’t let them follow me. Please, please, please. A pair of dirt-stained sneakers appeared before me. I looked up and swallowed. It was the boy with the saunter. Behind him stood his friends, all looking uncomfortable. I ground my teeth together and raised an eyebrow. “Where ya going?” The boy stood with his hands shoved in his pockets, a smirk plastered onto his face. “Home.” “So deaf girl can talk, huh?” Having to read his lips was not a pleasant task. They were cracked, and he constantly kept licking them against the dry air. Stifling a groan, I tried to walk past him. He mirrored my movements. My heart was pounding in my chest. I glanced desperately at the entrance. It wasn’t that far away. If I ran... He grinned at me. I glared back. He stepped closer. I held my ground. Someone put a hand on his shoulder. It was a green-eyed boy with dark brown hair. “Rick, leave her alone.

Let’s go.” I seized the opportunity and quickly walked away. I stopped and turned around. The boy was looking at me, a worried look in his eyes. I mouthed, Thanks. He smiled. When I was a safe block away from the park, I leaned against a bricked wall and unclenched my fists. Little crescent moons winked at me from my palms. I waited until they disappeared. The questions sliced through my mind, leaving papercuts, raw and shallow, inside of me. Why me? Why do people like them have to pick on people like me? If I wasn’t the way I am now, if I wasn’t deaf, would they still act like this? The tears that came were unbidden, and I stared at a yellow car parked by the curb until they subsided. This isn’t the first time something like that’s happened, I told myself as I shouldered my backpack and began walking home. You’ll be fine. Above, the streetlights flickered to life, one by one. When I unlocked the familiar yellow door and tossed my backpack onto the familiar wooden floor, the smell of buttered popcorn wafted over to me. I saw dad readying the television set. I knew I was home.

29


Portrait of the Dusk Bloody Mary, blood orange, rising ‘pon, ranges beyond, Staining the fiery canvas, smattered prim and red, A symph’ny of the end of light, retreated, mantle wronged, T’was hidden, silhouette of burning hunger bred. Undivulged riddles held within its fiery flame, Where the newborn shadows lurk with every stroke of hand, A story untold, tapestry of a million hidden names, And our secrets lie, buried deep beneath the sand.

I. This line is infinite Vast desert and endless stream The arteries and veins Brightening up the world Illuminate me Ringing, clear, lucid Light

Shades of grey, tattered canvas mast that lies afar, Home of the homeless wandering, calling for their death, They watch the shifting skies, and follow the wisely stars, The roar from their burning bellies, a winding breath;

Forever and never and always The gems scrape against this imperfect dome Scratching the sky And through these holes are the small places where they shine through.

On the fading horizon, it ever-slowly creeps Nearing the site where the sun shall oncemore set, Leaving the boundaries where the compass leads, Of a sight beseen with my final breath.

I walk along the seams of ribbons The train tracks of my journey They tell me not to run For the world will do it for me

—Boris But, 10SH

—Claron Niu, 11HF

Photo by Christopher Fong 30

Chinese International School


arts features

clockwise from top left: Frances Suria, 13TJ; Nicole Cheng, 13TJ; Annette Kim, 8TB; Frances Suria, 13TJ. Scribbles | Summer 2012

31


Cover by Lea Breistroff and Tommy Li. Printed on 100% recycled pulp. Here’s to the crazy ones. Editor-In-Chief Kenneth Lee Deputy Editor Bryce Lim Executive Editor Tommy Li Department of Writing Creative Writing Director Yoon Ji Han Deputy Creative Writing Director Susan Maginn Writers Aspen Wang Claron Niu Bryce Lim Justina Yam Stephanie Ng Christina Lee May Huang

Justin Cheong Clare Lau Sasha Corr Kameka Herbst Anna Ginsbury Virginia Hsu Alison Lui Jade Mallabone Christina Li Daphne Ng Yanna Lee Department of Art Artistic Director Jade Mallabone Deputy Art Director Shirley Lau Artists Franklin Gu Justina Yam Jennifer Chan Samantha Chong

Yasmine Lai Jessica Chan Vivian Li Gary So Sasha Corr Anna Ginsburg Annette Na-Yeon Kim Oriana Catton Nicole Wong Ming Cai Chung Kammy Chiu Christina Lee Trisha Wong Madeleine Griffiths Wilhelmiha Shih Virginia Hsu

The Brave and Bold Layout Designers Chun Yin Au Justin Cheng Stephanie Cheung Kristie Choi Larry So Chris Li Wilhelmiha Shih Sasha Corr Janice Cheung Thomson Loong

Department of Layout Layout Shaman Tommy Li

Deputy Operations Manager Aspen Wang

Deputy Layout Director Claron Niu

Scribbles Secretariat Operations Manager Yeung Bok Wai

Editorial Assistants Justin Cheng Thomson Loong

Scribbles: Issue 4  

Issue 4 - Summer 2012

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