Commendable Awards

Junior Secondary

A visual representation of "His t-shirt" by Tammy Ho

CHAN Pik Tan
Sha Tin Government Secondary School

The main theme of my painting is father's love. I used different colours such as blue, pink, green, purple, and a black green checkered pattern for the T-shirts to represent the different ages of the father in my mind. The background colours I used are orange, blue, red, green, and purple, which are the complementary colours to those of the T-shirts. The contrast between the colours of the background and the T-shirts makes the images of the father stand out.

Through the picture, I want to express my gratitude for the love my father has given me in different stages of my life: as a baby, a little girl, a primary school kid, and now a secondary school student. While I am growing up to become a young woman, I realise too my father is becoming an old man. His love for me, like the father’s love for his children in the poem “His t-shirts”, is never-ending.

His t-shirts

Medium-sized t-shirts on his dark body.
He’s totally Chinese - more so than me.
But in periods when he’s building bridges,
fixing window panes or drilling roads,
I think he’s from Africa.
Yellow skin is black in the sun.
Who said colours are God-given?

Medium-sized t-shirts he has aplenty.
Elated, in countries foreign, we do not forget
at home he’s suppressing his worried lips.
He wants nothing from us, but
we like the idea of giving. And so he’s
wearing t-shirts from London, Thailand,
Auckland, Japan, Finland, India,
Malaysia, Poland, Korea...
‘Where are you from, father?’ We are
teasers. Names of places bold
in English on his chest. He doesn’t know.
‘China,’ he answers. We laugh.
We laugh. Bad daughters.

Medium-sized t-shirts on top of Large
-sized ones in his drawers.
He once stood huge
in front of a snack bar,
buying us coca-colas,
and we cheered.

Tammy Ho

“His t-shirts” was published in hula hooping by Tammy Ho Lai-ming, p.5. Copyrights © 2015 by Chameleon Press.