All posts filed under: OOT_

OOTC: December

November was a black hole month. I literally produced nothing on the personal front because I was completely immersed in work, so we are skipping straight to December, where the opposite happened, and I was on a self-imposed sabbatical. Resuming my walks in the lil city of HK I have called home for many years meant another landscape to befriend all over again. I love the New Territories, where my family has lived for 14 years: the colours, the quiet, the daily rhythms, the old haunts and new developments. December is a month of endings but it’s also the month I was born, so for me December is about beginnings and repetitions. What does it mean to take the same pathways year after year, but be different? Or what does it be to be the same person and follow different pathways every year? What are the similarities between those two ways of life and how do I live somewhere in between? The act of returning to familiar spaces is a source of great comfort for …

OOTC – October

As I hit the last quarter of 2017, my schedule became overwhelmingly busy and I found myself without the time or ability to do my usual monthly walk-abouts. Instead, I managed to squeeze in some studio time to do a photo shoot with my partner, and got some solo shots taken on the fly by Chloe. October was about preparations. Getting ready for November, getting ready for work, getting ready to leave, getting ready for all the different life events that don’t wait for you to have less work to do. Getting ready seems to be a prelude to a main event, but often times, it becomes a main event all its own. How does one become ready enough, and is that something we can ever know in advance? Or is it only through the retrospection of success or failure that gives us the means to evaluate our preparation? This is a difficult but necessary question, because as I get older, I find the stakes growing. My readiness has a wider impact zone, and the …

OOTC: August

August is the month all the mooncakes start to come out in Hong Kong. Although mid-autumn won’t officially arrive for another two months, the moon, its rabbit and goddess, and paper lanterns of all kinds will start to emerge on advertisements, in stories, in dessert shops, and shopping malls. Been having some flashbacks to my childhood full of lantern traipsing and candle wax on the street curbs, and how fulfilling it was to celebrate these traditions in a free and easy way. The roundness of the moon reminds us of wholeness, of fullness and of familial gatherings. The dinner table in these situations is almost always also round. So I spent the month being thankful for the roundness of things, for the fullness of things, for the wholeness of things. To be round, full and whole seems more difficult the older we get. We not only fight against extenuating circumstances that want to take away from us, but also against ourselves and our tendency to give too much away and not give back enough to …

OOTC – July

The last month was chaos. How does one live a life in full? As I get older, and more restricted by the rhythm of work, of necessity, of obligation, I find myself fighting harder for times of rest and freedom. Freedom from both the burden of expectation and productivity, but also from the slump of avoidance and procrastination. How to keep the surface of my heart open like a clear summer sky? How to accept myself nebulous and conflicted, how to love myself and parse myself at the same time. It seems that one of the most difficult things about life is learning to live with oneself in the gap – between who we are in the world, and who we are in our innermost place. I feel the strain of this gap immensely, and am always wrestling against it, or alternatively, embracing it. How do I love myself and love beyond myself at the same time without exhausting all my energy? Sometimes it’s just a matter of forging ahead anyway, one step at a …

OOTC: June

One I push a pushpin and the drywall collapses into a perfect tunnel. I unroll a blank canvas and ink myself onto space. Two The shelving unit bends to just before snapping point. Three Cup abandoned, tissue box empty, laundry crumpled. Four Stacks on stacks on stacks; bodies on bodies. Five I roll a blanket to tuck into the cold gap between our mattresses. Six The window leans forward to watch the midnight streetcar short turn onto Bay. I lean into the wall of perfectly frayed tunnels. Life collecting in all the corners I can’t bring myself to clean out. *** As much as I love the aesthetic of a well-balanced living room with everything in it’s place, none of that reflects what it might look like for me to really feel at home. Even as a kid, when my mother asked me to clean up, I’d always reason that a house with some things out of place looked more like a house we actually use. A house with things crooked and piled, still clean …