Commendable Awards

Junior Secondary

A visual representation of "Lamma Island Tofu-fa" by Kate Rogers

LIN Wing Kei
St. Paul's Convent School

The tofu-fa on Lamma Island is very special. I had the experience of enjoying it when the 8 year-old me visited the island. I could still remember the time when I went there with my parents. I would never forget the crisp fresh air which I didn’t get to experience elsewhere. People there were nice, and they didn’t hesitate to chat with me, creating a friendly atmosphere.

For my painting, I tried to portray the “tiny woman with a toothless smile, trembling, blue-veined hands, carries a tray” in the poem. By placing the woman in the centre of the painting, I wanted to bring out her kind and gentle character.

At the shop, the old tradition of making tofu-fa still continues, and to express this, I included in the background some subtle greens and a mix of natural colours to deliver the humble atmosphere.

I chose watercolour as my medium because I feel that the fluidity and translucent effect of watercolour suits the theme of my painting. It also reflects the soft texture of tofu-fa, welcoming all visitors, delivering warmth and love to all the people passing by.

Lamma Island Tofu-fa

On the broken trail to Mot tat
a field of white ginger lilies
flags us down.
We shrug off our packs.
Huddled among ruins to our left,
a stone house
red clay roof sloping,
doorway gaping
like an old man sleeping.
A wriggly-tin shed
shades wooden tubs of tofu.
We sit at a plank table.
A tiny woman
with a toothless smile,
trembling, blue-veined hands,
carries a tray. Tofu-fa
is heaped like soft snow
in turquoise plastic bowls.
I love the tofu’s smooth surface
but crave the sight of golden sugar
pocking its face,
tofu puddled in ginger syrup –
its sharp scent,
clearing my nostrils
with the first spoonful.
Dusk creeps under our table
grey as the old woman’s dog.
The old woman dozes
on her low stool beside the shed,
bathed in the milk of the moon.

Kate Rogers

“Lamma Island Tofu-fa” first appeared in the American Literary Journal, World Literature Today, Spring 2019 issue.