The Hexacoto

Listening to the sound of one hand clapping

Tag: prose

One minute

The hand grasped my neck, and I could feel each individual finger intimately. I gurked out of reflex as I felt the grip tighten. It really hurts, and then it didn’t any more, but what remained was feeling of the tightening of a vice. It’s funny how you become so much more acutely aware of your senses when you are about to die.

I tried to breathe through the strangling grasp; a thread of air slipped in, creating a little wheeze and whinny as it went in. Our hands meet, as I tried to push the hand away as that other hand pushed itself against my throat. The heart feels fit to burst as it rapidly inflates and deflates, trying to send what little oxygen each pumping of blood contained around the body. The oddest sensation of bursting welled up in my chest; something wanted to come out. It was like my heart wanted to quit this suffocating body and burst straight out of the chest to take in a sharp, sweet breath. But no, ribs and flesh occluded it, and the offending grip blocked its only exit out.

I’ve always thought the dancing dots in front of eyes that I’ve read in books were a cliché, a myth. Right before me, indeed, were dots. The kind you get when you stand up too quickly when you’ve been squatting for too long. But instead of just flashing stars, they started to move. And they weren’t swirly things either, more like the kind of movement static makes on television. Messy, gussy, interpolation. The face feels kind of flushed. My arms felt itself beat. My legs flailed jerkily. I don’t


Water glasses

You can’t drink out of a glass half-empty; emptiness has no taste. A glass half-full is half-full with water to cool you down, to perk you up, but above all, to sustain you till the next time you need it again. Drinking half-emptiness nourishes nothing.

There is emptiness in a glass, but only when there is emptiness in a glass can you fill it up. A solid glass cylinder cannot hold anything, and any attempt to fill it up results in a mess and a whole lot of wasted water. But by recognising that a glass can be empty can one begin to impart some salve in it.

Why fill up a glass to the brim? What use is there to beat all emptiness out of a glass? Even the steadiest of hands are bound to slip up, and spill. It is fine if a glass still has emptiness in it. After all, you didn’t pick up a glass for its emptiness, did you? You picked it up for its what it’s filled with.

So quit griping about half-emptiness and drink out of your half-fool cup, you full.

Waking up is the hardest thing to do

You still have your alarm set for 9am, but you don’t know what for. After all, it is not as if a day of paid productivity awaits for you today.

You wake up just before 9am, but you don’t know what for. You lie in bed, shifting uncomfortably knowing that there is no impetus for you to remain awake.

You end up going to bed and closing your eyes. The fantasy of darkness and sleep continue but then you wake again. Surely it must be 10am now?

it is 9.15am.

Going back to sleep after having woken up twice seems like sloth unduly so. You make a beeline for your morning ritual.

Not it is not coffee, no it is not breakfast. You check your emails. New mail, but nothing consequential. “Buy new discounted things on sale!” they scream. Every single day.

The morning glory wakes up to be battered into submission, battered into a waking dream, every single day.

阿嬤 (Grandmother)

我好想念每当我被雨淋湿透时,回到了家门,阿嬤一定会问 “你有没有淋到雨?快点去换你的衣服。” 虽然我整身湿湿的,我的回答一定会是 “淋到一点。” 她就会重复 “快去换你的衣”,我就会说 “哦。”

我好想每次考完试时,回到了家,阿嬤就会问 “你今天考什么?” “文学” “考到怎样?” “可以啦。”






(13 Dec 2009)

I miss whenever I get caught in the rain, when I reach home, Ah Ma will definitely ask, “Did you get caught in the rain? Quickly, go change your clothes.” Even though I would be completely drenched, my reply would always be, “Just a little bit.” And she would then repeat, “Go change your clothing.” To which then I would say, “Ok.”

I miss whenever I finished an exam, when I reach home, Ah Ma would ask, “What exam did you take today?” “Literature.” “How was it?” “It was ok.”

“What do you want to eat later?”


“Come down for lunch!”


I don’t need very fancy words to express the words in my heart. My Ah Ma can only use simple Chinese to say what she needs to say.