Outstanding Awards

Senior Secondary

A visual representation of "City" by Louise Ho

LIN Weize
Shek Lei Catholic Secondary School

I have chosen Louise Ho’s “City”, a poem which explores the life of street-sleepers in Hong Kong. After I read this poem, I felt sorry for street-sleepers and it is horrible to imagine having people living such a miserable life in a developed city like Hong Kong. People usually ignore the rights of the homeless in Hong Kong.

The painting presents the shadow of a wanderer who remains unknown and has no face. This shows how street sleepers are ignored by society. In this shadow we can see a busy city at night, with vehicles moving on the road and people waiting for traffic lights. However, the wanderers are ignored in this scene. The painting as a whole questions whether there is a place called home for them anywhere in Hong Kong. The focus of the background is the question ──‘Where is home?’

I have left a lot of white space in my painting because I want the audience to focus on this problem in Hong Kong. As in Chinese painting, a lot of white space is used to bring out the subject. I have also used a lot of dark blue in this painting because I want to convey a sense of sadness and weave the despair and sorrow of the homeless into the deep blue.


No fingers claw at the bronze gauze
Of a Hong Kong December dusk,
Only a maze of criss-crossing feet
That enmeshes the city
In a merciless grid.

Between many lanes
Of traffic, the street-sleeper
Carves out his island home.
Or under the thundering fly-over,
Another makes his own peace of mind.

Under the staircase,
By the public lavatory,
A man entirely unto himself
Lifts his hand
And opens his palm.
His digits
Do not rend the air,
They merely touch
As pain does, effortlessly.

Louise Ho

“City” was published in Incense Tree: Collected Poems of Louise Ho by Louise Ho, p.45. Copyrights © 2009 by Hong Kong University Press.