Commendable Awards

Junior Secondary

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

Sha Tin Government Secondary School

I chose the poem ‘His t-shirts’. The poem shows the strong family love between the father and children and that love is unconditional.

My painting narrates the everyday life of the poet and her father. She observes that her father has aged and he is getting old. Meanwhile, "medium sized t-shirts" symbolise the love and bond between the father and the daughters, as well as the aging of the loving father.

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. Reprinted by permission of Chameleon Press.