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Anna: “ My house is a special place for me. At night, it’s T.V. time, my neighbor would came to my house to watch ball games with my family. I have a father, mother, 2 brothers and 2 sisters. Next to my house is an over 100 years old mango tree. Its branches are very fragile. I remember the days when i and my siblings love to eat skyflakes crackers. I remember going to to school my mother give me 5 pesos for our daily snack. I want to buy more, but i need to budget it for the whole afternoon, so i bought only bought ice candy and skyflakes. 


When i was at the agency, my friend was hungry, so i hand-over my crackers to her so that she would have energy for our interview. I first worked in the Middle East. Every morning i wake up with a dusty smell. When i open the window the dust smell was everywhere. I remember one time there is a sand storm. Oh! The whole city is covered by a golden sand. They goes inside the house through the small opening at the door. The next day i looked at the balcony, it was covered with 1 inches thick golden sand. Again, I'm gonna spend an hour to clean the dusty balcony. 

I like to talk and don’t want being alone. I would need to die back to my lovely environment.”


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Caroline: “Happy, joy, i feel calm. Happy, seeing the sky. Colourful. It was a slow breath, betraying eyes, but…...Sweet, maybe i am sweet, maybe not. They call me sweet. What is my responsibility in this pandemic ? I have to wear masks. I have to keep social distance. I have to get vaccinated. I can never imagine that i am the people who experience a pandemic. This word is new to me. Now, everyday my life is ‘wash hands’, ‘Don’t forget to wash hands’ and ‘Always wash hands’ ! The image of the hand sanitizers are always with me. 


We are cheerful Filipinos. We allow our kids to play after school. Our children, adults and old people smile a lot on the streets. I grew up in the countryside of Cedu where have a lot of mango trees. They are so big and easy to climb up. The mangos smell so good and very sweet and big.

Sunday! I love Sundays! It is a rest day after 6 continuous days of working. I have been joining a lot of workshops and classes. I also do voluntary work on Sundays.  I want to learn how to write better, learn to dyeing a cloth and learn to make special festival food and ……”

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GBM: “This is a mango tree that grown up in my grandparent’s house. I don’t exactly know how old it is, but for sure it was already there when i was 5 years old. It brought us a lot of memories with my cousins and family. It stands by a river that we used to swim and play. Grandparents are nearby that’s why we used to have a night gathering under the moonlight, under the shadow of the mango tree.


I remember my brother fall from the mango tree bruised and bloodied nose staring at me. I feel like the world stop spinning knowing what awaits us at home. My father is a disciplinarian. As expected, cold and pierce eyes are waiting for us....

Domestic helper is a job that are being look down. As i remember one acquaintance kept on boasting about her job or position in the Philippines and hesitant to admit that she is a helper in Hong Kong. When i first accept the job offer, i admit that i was reluctant but i didn’t have a choice during that time. I can say that at first it was just a way to escape from home, to escape in order to protect my parents from the bad decision i’ve made. Working as a domestic helper at that time help me to cope with the betrayal i received from a friend. A betrayal that lead me to a dead end. The only way out for me was to leave my country as soon as possible and to leave my family and abandoned my dreams and plans. i felt that iciness drowned me....


During my first 6 months in Singapore, toilet was really my comfort room and i think most of the helpers as well. During that time, i don’t have a holiday and phone was not allowed. The four corners of the comfort room was the sole witness of my agony and battles. I remember one helper opposite our block before, we manage to communicate through sign language. 

In 2010, i surrendered my work permit in Singapore and bound to Hong Kong……

COVID-19 caused a great dilemma to most of the helpers in the city. I remember one helper crying desperately who lost her father but can’t go home to attend the funeral because of the lockdown. I remember….

I hope that COVID-19 will go home so that i can go home.”










閱讀Joe BrainardI Remember,她們都在猜猜他的意思。

稍稍感受The Diary of A Young Girl,她們屏息靜氣。

輕輕快讀Exercises in Style兩三章節,她們讚嘆。

細細閱讀"The Gift of the Magi",她們與我們討論。




「藉着寫作,再活一次。」是 Writing Down the Bones 內的一句。這個創意寫作坊雖然未至於能讓參加者體驗「活多一次」,但我們鼓勵參加者籍創作回顧過去,亦算是把生命快速倒帶一次吧。我是有點驚訝在進行畫屋、樹、人的環節時,她們除了畫下屋樹人外,還有小橋流水白雲和鞦韆。她們畫出出乎我們意料的圖畫,也願意分享內在故事和情感。每位參加者的個性都北轍南轅,讓我們體會活力流動的互動。

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Anna個子小小,樣子像個小女孩,原來她在香港已經工作了十年,亦曾在中東國家當家傭。她有點像那種乖巧學生,每次上課都最早到,有時甚至比導師們更早到。導師給予的指引全盤接受,更不會嘗試挑戰導師們的說話。第二堂我們探討夢境和潛意識,在自動書寫練習內挑選重複出現的字眼來寫短詩和短句。聽說在自動書寫期間,一些潛藏的東西可能會浮現。GBM多次出現的字是dying 、runningchasing;Caroline多次出現的字是happy、 joufulfun,而Anna多次出現的字則沒有明確傾向任何一種情緒或意識狀態,而是一種語氣。那些字眼是OMG、Oh no Oh my,其次是What 、this 和 think。選取了多次出現的字後,Anna寫了一首 “The Poem”

I keep chasing on my time

i keep thinking of buying clothes

I keep thinking of my budget

But i then i used a lot of my money

So its time to spare

maybe next time if i have extra cash

Oh i ‘m dying to buy it, that lovely dress

OMG that’s keep pop up on my mind

But those betraying eyes is what i ‘m thinking

Does it serious

If i am you what can i do

If i am in your situation do can i survive.

第三堂,Anna 的回憶錄 “My memoir: Skyflakes Crakers” 以堂上帶來的菲律賓餅乾Skyflakes Crakers作為軸心,扣連出她的家庭背景和家鄉的貧窮問題,並連繫到長大後的她要面試見工的情況。在第四堂寫短篇故事時,Anna打算寫疫情期間人們瘋狂搶購廁紙的故事。(這件事在第一堂時,Anna曾經訴說過。) Anna 結合自己要幫雇主購買廁紙的經驗,和在社交媒體看到的一則攪笑短片,寫出了 "Tissue in the Black Market”

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Caroline是位反應快,喜歡即時表達自己,亦興趣多多的菲律賓宿霧人。她在第一堂還未開始自我介紹的時候已經主動發問︰What are we going to do?每一個練習她都是最快明白指引,也是最快「完成」任務的。當她知道要畫樹、屋和人的時候,她的反應很大,多次說自己不懂畫畫,已經幾十年沒有畫畫云云,一邊畫,一邊喃喃低聲「叫苦」。然而,到第二堂的時候,她卻一邊聽書,一邊無意識的隨意在畫冊上畫畫!到第三堂,她忘了帶家鄉食物,竟主動提出︰I will draw the food。就這樣,她的畫冊內有幾個大宿霧甜芒果。

Caroline同時是三位參加者中,最難執筆進入寫作狀態的。她說話多多,主意多多,但下筆時卻總是猶豫。特別是第四堂教寫短篇故事,人物和主題她都想到了,但仍「不敢」下筆。( 當然,這是我們的責任,引導她如何把想法,成為文字。) 當時,我們三位導師建議她以日常生活,那怕只是一件微不足道的小事為題材。課堂完結時,她寫出她想說的故事,但沒有寫出故事。就在第五堂時,她交出了一篇短篇故事。故事主角原型應該是她本人。在其中她寫出了主角的性格、菲傭的生活形態以及主角得知疫情的刹那反應。


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雖然GBM聽到我說屋、樹、人練習是有心理分析成份,就立即用手合上畫;雖然她第一、二堂都比較安靜,閱讀得比較慢,寫得比較慢,但她在課堂完結後回到家,卻寫了一篇令人驚喜的短篇故事“Unwanted Gift”。整個工作坊課程結束後,更主動再多寫了一篇有關疫情的“The Mask”。

GBM叫自己做Japan,因為她喜歡安靜和有禮貌。可能因為第一、二堂她跟其他學員還未熟絡,分組活動的時候顯得有點緩慢。到第三堂,令人驚喜的是,GBM帶了三種不同的家鄉食物與我們分享。其中一樣是Indian Mango,更是她特意去中環買。她介紹那個芒果的「來歷」時,表情有點靦腆的說︰「It's expensive….」另外兩款食物是菲律賓Happy Less Grease Peanuts和在Salazar 牌子的蓮蓉糕餅。GBM首次開口說很多話,介紹為何她帶了這三種食物。 這款Happy Less Grease Peanuts的包裝細小,在菲律賓的店舖老闆容許獨立分拆一小包買,使很窮的小孩子也可以買到一兩包。Salazar始於1947年,是一間位於馬尼拉的糕餅老店,專賣中式麵包糕點。GBM說這款小小的正方型糕餅,只需吃一件已經很飽肚,在她讀中學的年代,吃一件可以撐到一整個下午,十分經濟實惠。雖然在GBM的回憶錄沒有描述Happy Less Grease PeanutsSalazar 糕餅,但是透過綿綿不絕的訴說陪她成長的食物,GBM比起第一、二堂更放鬆和願意表達自己。

閱讀了 I rememberThe Diary of Anne Frank後,GBM沒有立即採取比較容易入手的方法,運用“I remember 作為每句句子的開始,而是嘗試慢慢記下兒時舊事。當其他學員已經停筆的時候,她仍緊緊皺眉握筆。

在第四堂的短篇故事創作,她寫了一對母女的故事。( 靈感的來源可能是多年前GBM的弟弟嚴重受傷入院,但身在香港工作的她不能立即回國探望弟弟,同時很懼怕當自己可以回家的時候,弟弟已經死了。) 故事內的母親是在港工作的菲傭,因為疫情,無法在原定的假期回國探望女兒。GBM或許用了堂上介紹的短篇故事程式,要有一個意想不同的結局。故事中,媽媽終於可以回到菲律賓了,但女兒見到的,卻只是一盒「禮物」。

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