Cha

{Written by Janice Tsang, this review is part of Issue 40 (July 2018) of Cha.} {Return to Cha Review of Books and Films.}

Monette Bichsel, Lenny Kaye Bugayong and Lily C. Fen (editors), Bending Without Breaking: Thirteen Women’s Stories of Migration and Resilience, 2017. 189 pgs.

Bending Without Breaking- Thirteen Women's Stories of Migration and ResilienceI came to Bending Without Breaking with mixed feelings, secretly dreading, with the word “resilience” on the cover, that it would be yet another bland positive-thinking-changes-your-life set of testimonies. But I was quickly assured by the direct and neutral voice in the Introduction. The collection opens with a sharp question: “How often do we actually think of migrants as individuals?” Readers from Hong Kong should be able to relate to this thought, especially because when we talk about “Filipinos,” we often immediately think of the hundreds of thousands of foreign domestic workers in the city. The question challenges us to examine…

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Honestly I’ve been feeling really bad these few days, yes, I really cannot help it. I hate myself for knowing the news of your passing so late, just so so so so late. I would have loved to read my poetry, for you, yes. just for you. because without you I wouldn’t be doing literature at all. I would have believed I’m a good-for-nothing rubbish that is doomed to fail for life. You introduced me to thoughts that breathe and burn, and worlds beyond worlds, oh how you literally changed my life!

And yet the futility of all these words, words how fail me. My beloved Mimi, yes “we shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time.” Will we meet again actually, one day, somewhere over the rainbow?

May you find solace in the new heavens and new earths in His glory. I miss you beyond words.

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(Prof Chan and I, Literature class at HKU SPACE, 2008.)

如果心聲真有療效,誰怕暴露更多

陪我講,陪我親身正視眼淚誰跌得多
無法講,除非彼此已失去了能力觸摸
鈴聲可以寧靜
難過卻避不過
如果沉默太沉重

別要輕輕帶過
.

當你一直反覆聽同一首歌五六十次,迫自己爆發⋯⋯
卻發現自己越老越無法流淚,也無法用文字表達,
於是就這樣失眠到真係頂唔順就一野斷片,然後再想,
人生可有一野斷片嗎?有架。
before it’s too late, or always the wrong hours?

「愛你就算將跌入永遠黑暗 . . .」

當我想起你,想起同樣藏在你我裏面的星塵,是的,永恆的星塵,
she lives in me-you live in me-我們一呼,一吸,無常
也永恆,沒有任何東西甚至力量能夠隔絕。
「如果心聲真有療效」吧?我可不知所言…

.
p.s. my condolences to the perished in the fatal bus accident.

我剛才在火車上寫詩,題為“The Things They Carried”
一口氣寫了可能七八十行,最後--
我把所有寫過的文字都刪去了。

我們心裡都有不同的戰場;文字無法盛載所以越寫越憤怒越討厭自己--

記念在ICU的妳,雖然妳不認識我,和我所愛惜的妳
記念在台灣的妳,昨晚半夜得知認識十多年的好友跳橋自殺
記念在籠牢中踏入第五年剛被鞭打一百下最近又突然被加控罪名的你
記念記憶力開始衰退,記念最近剛接受兩次心臟大手術親愛的你
--和新年即將接受同樣的心臟大手術身邊的他,一切在主手中

我近年來無法流淚,心彷彿已變成石頭--
但每次當我想起你們的面,想你們的名字,眼睛就决堤,狠狠痛哭
是的,願祂親自醫治、安慰、釋放,加給你們力量,和智慧
正因為我無力,我有限,我更要信靠祢--
因祢的「大能在軟弱中得以完全。」

The Things They Carried是Tim O’Brien 的作品
是我二零一零年第一年在中大英文系CENG課中的必修文本
今天忽然又想起來。是的,我們心裡都有不同的戰場;而我

選擇close my heart like a fist-

其實,「心」從來不是啥metaphor,一點也沒有浪漫
the heart is a machine that pumps blood, end of.
我越來越討厭這那強行賦予意義的文字意象
那些年輕的日子,我看了也鄙視恥笑自己

剛過去的星期五彷彿是上帝給我的一個答案--
雖然,我憤怒,我迷失,我傷心,我非常非常失望
我白白斷送了過去四個月來的準備和機會
然後繼續浮浮沉沉為別人的生活消耗自己的生命
與不斷消逝的記憶、肉體和時間徒勞爭競,無止境,無出路
像螞蟻一樣,或螞蟻也不如,巴不得乾脆了斷罷了
為人師表竟如此恬不知恥但我只不過是人

那些年「愛文學,即使它傷你的心」這種屁話
傷,你不曾明白,何以説愛?又或其實我一直以來仍在學習明白的
是殤

一直在拼命衝今天十二月三十一日的死線
最後,我放棄了,重新部署。雖然的確是還未到截止時間

卡繆在Le Mythe de Sisyphe中寫到-
“If a myth is tragic, that is only because its hero is conscious”

如呼吸那樣無常。昨晚離開時他們的家時
看著天與海默默無聲,卻能在這種“indifference”得到慰藉,和釋然
是的,在黑夜裡,就是連自己的影子也離開你--問心,你的雙手
能抓得住什麼?無力留著,無力創造,書寫嗎?頓覺可笑⋯⋯

不要,不要再寫了。我後悔。

感恩今年生命中遇上的天使
不論在港大、理工、中大、澳洲、雅典
或因詩歌、音樂、藝術的緣故走在一起

The Things They Carried--我們心裡都載著不同的戰場
我也願我能“hold infinity in the palm of my hand”-
if not, 我們互相守護,茫茫人海中取暖渡過最冷一天
「是的,春天很快會來到。」

moon and sea.jpg

watching this sea, I can strangely resonate with Camus’ Meursault at the final scene. an odd calmness and feelinglessness that is cruel yet almost consoling. the consoling indifference of… “living”. l’absurde?

and the “heart” is never a metaphor and is nothing romantic; our days are numbered — yep, that’s the message to carry to the new year that is just, come to think of it, one day more, no more,

and no less.

Cha

{Written by Janice Tsang, this review is part of the “Writing Hong Kong” Issue (December 2017) of Cha.} {Return to Cha Review of Books and Films}

Liu Waitong (author), Enoch Yee-lok Tam, Desmond Sham, Audrey Heijins, Chan Lai-kuen and Cao Shuying (translators), Wandering Hong Kong with Spirits, Zephyr Press and MCCM Creations, 2016. 184 pgs.

Wandering Hong KongReading Wandering Hong Kong with Spirits is a special experience; it is a busy business and you cannot rush. You begin with the cover image taken by the author, and contemplate the monochrome photograph of a flying bird and its juxtaposition with concrete and glass walls. Then you might read the poems in their original Chinese. And then, the English translations. You might flip to the end of the book to consult the supplementary notes on certain poems.

If you are like me, you will pause while reading to listen to…

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That barbaric practice, finally. You took a hundred lashes today. A pain that is impossible for me to imagine. The time when people celebrated the overturning of the death sentence, and that could be considered a victory in a way… well, the death sentence has in fact been retracted and replaced

with torture. Ongoing and never ending torture. (He is going to face new charges too, this week, bad news…) In such a place, the fight for freedom of expression is a fight for life.

He stood tall. Unrelenting. Proud as a Palestinian. As an artist and poet who has the power to transcend this phony and fucked up world. Fierce and free, as a human being.

And yet the world is full of fucked up human beings too.

into the void

—yes, that’s when I once said we’re not born yet. Or the world is still in the womb, too.