/ Linda Lai

I have been spending quite a bit of time digging up hidden waste to turn them into treasures for the Floating Projects — from my home, from my office, from my work studio… Happy to see the circulation of furniture and books and re-purposing of things accumulated through time.

Last week, I found this, in a dead corner of an inaccessible cabin in my office:

Drawing by Joey Luk

Drawing by Joey Luk


It is a writing exercise a Year 1 student in my Creative Writing Workshop gave me back in 1998, the first semester of the first batch of BA students at the School of Creative Media… And here’s the request:

Joey's instructions for Linda

Joey’s instructions for Linda



This is what I wrote:

Linda's automatic writing -- into the world of Joey's engnimatic picture

Linda’s automatic writing — into the world of Joey’s enigmatic image space


Here’s the English translation of the text I sent back to her:

Straight, straight the pencil pen,
A good enough support for a casual swing,
Smoky smoke light and fleeting
But what is it compared to a bird’s soaring high and free?
It’s lit. It’s lit… ‘No smoking’ says who?
Strictly forward and no return: I sail on and on
Clear sky brisk air broad sky broad sea…
I care little of who sheds a light to lead my way.
I steer my own direction. I set my own orientation. I can, I can and I’ll manage please retreat.

A ring is light. A ring is a chain-lock. Light is a kind of chain-lock?
No, no, not quite right. Logical fallacies to right
a –> b
a –> c              ≠>    b –> c
Once more!
Light is a ring. A ring is a chain-lock. Light is a chain-lock.
A halo is a chain-lock.

Ah bottle – you’d best be made of glass
A bottle of no transparency is not worth a bottle.
[Bottle: … … … (Too muffled, I can’t hear you!)]
What are you, bottle, doing in this picture? And what should I do with you?
[Bottle: … … … … … (Too muffled, I can’t hear you!)]
If this is where you inhabit, what about me and where should I be?
If you may, keep me, hold me… do not let me
Fall and keep falling…
Whatever you may do, allow me to stay within this frame’s visual field
— fine if I don’t ascend and don’t descend, keep me within frame
Best if I may get a window view to see what’s out there and please tell me:
Is my little master still out there?
(1999, Linda Lai)

Now with hindsight, I seem to understand better the yearnings hidden in this drawing. The struggle to be free and following her own paths without hurting those who cared finally led to her infinite drifting through Eastern Europe. Joey was murdered, in June 2003, while taking an accidental stop over in Moscow, as she struggled to steal a brief trip home to Hong Kong to see her Mom before starting a Master’s program in travel literature in Belgium, which she never did.