Contemplating Existence


by Tammy Ho Lai-Ming

I imagine this concrete structure next to a row of outdoor dining tables in Tsim Sha Tsui to be a time machine, covered with fauna and largely forgotten. Someone from 2047 has arrived, and he says in his world, ‘Hong Kong’ is rarely mentioned: the name is obsolete, censored and is considered a taboo, as the city is assimilated into the rest of China. He also says that in his time, it is a known fact that there are multiple universes, and in one of the alternative ones, Hong Kong may be completely independent. He adds: ‘But no one wants to find out. Things could be so much worse.’

These are the only two trees left in the city. Their leaves are very valuable and have the potential to heal and to provide comfort and soothing energy to their users, much like in Lao She’s Cat Country. Because of this the trees are politicised, and their ownership is very much disputed. Should it be the one who sowed the original seeds? Or should it be the one who watered and nurtured them? Should it be the one who discovered the uses of their leaves? Should it be those who benefit from their shades? In the end, it is decided that the trees will be preserved in concrete, in a museum.

About the Author:

Tammy Ho Lai-Ming is a founding co-editor of Cha: An Asian Literary Journal and she has edited several volumes of poetry and short fiction published in Hong Kong. Her first poetry collection Hula Hooping (Chameleon Press) was published in April 2015 and her first short story collection Her Name Upon The Strand (Delere Press) is forthcoming. In 2016, she received the Young Artist Award in Literary Arts presented by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council. She is an Assistant Professor at Hong Kong Baptist University, where she teaches poetics, fiction and modern drama.