OTHER [ōtepoti chinese]
15 June–13 July 2019
Tūrei 31 Tīhema
Tuesday 31 December
A four-letter word
A confusing word
Where is my home?
Is it here?
Is it there?
Is it where my heart is?
But where is my heart?
Is home where I belong?
But where do I belong?
Is home a place or a state of mind?
When xenophobes shout, “Go home!”
I wish I knew where that is.
Somewhere I can go and just be
me… at home.
It was a cold winter morning. On the top floor of Studholme College, Mei was
reluctantly waking up. She slowly peeled back her blankets and got out of bed. Going to the
window, she opened the curtains to look out. Normally, she had a panoramic view of Logan
Park, but it was so cold that the window had completely fogged up, blurring the world
Mei opened the window and the cold air stung her face. It had snowed the night
before, the first snowfall this season. A thick layer of snow lay on the ground and over the
hills. It was as if the land was covered in a white blanket; everything was white for as far as
the eye could see. Mei leaned out the window breathing in the fresh air. On snowy winter
mornings such as these, it was always so silent, as if the white snow was a sponge that
absorbed all sound. Mei knew she would never see such a strange scene in her native country.
Mei also knew that numb fingers and icy feet would be the price to pay for this
beauty. She looked towards the rising sun, casting its bright light in all directions. The winter
sun was deceiving and Mei knew it was going to be a cold, sunny day. Even though the sun
shone brightly in the sky, its rays brought little warmth. Already Mei could feel her ears and
nose freezing, so she pulled her head back and shut the window.
Mei went downstairs to the dining room and poured herself a glass of milk. She took a
few sips before stopping to stare at the milk. She knew it sounded crazy, but she had never
noticed before that milk was so… white. Suddenly, she had a craving for a plate of hot
yellow egg noodles with lots of black sauce. That would be heaven! Mei could picture the
food right there on the table in front of her and she could almost taste it on her tongue.
Mei shook herself out of her daydream and looked at the clock. She would have to
hurry if she wanted to make it to her lecture on time. She thought of all the white faces she
would see, speaking a foreign tongue. She sighed; she really wished to see another yellow
face in the crowd, someone with dark eyes and black hair, someone else who spoke her
language. Then, she would not feel so alone.
Mei hurriedly gulped down her milk. There was no time for breakfast now. She
grabbed a banana, and headed out the door. Her feet were the first to break the fresh snow.
She trudged through the snow down Clyde Street, picking up her pace when she heard the
bells of the Clocktower chiming in the distance. As she headed deeper and deeper into the
white landscape, she left a trail of footprints behind her in the snow. As the whiteness
enveloped her, she looked like an explorer to a strange, new land.
What a billion people are
The only way of being that I know
Something that I’m proud of.
Yellow like a Banana
Yes I am yellow, like a banana.
Banana with yellow skin
But white flesh, I feel like a banana,
Yellow outside, white inside.
Walking alone down George Street,
Coming the other way,
A group of people I meet.
“Go home!” one shouts at me.
Feel like giving them the finger.
Stop. “You’re outnumbered,”
“Don’t stoop to their level,” I say
Someone says, “Ching Chong China—”
Before he finishes, I ask
“The hell’s wrong with you?”
“Can’t you speak English?”
… Then walk away.