Commendable Awards

Junior Secondary

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

YIP Hong Kiu
Sacred Heart Canossian College

The poem ‘Lamma Island Tofu-fa’ quickly evokes in my mind an image of a tofu-fa store, a big fridge with cold drinks, a trolley and a big notice board. These are the things that I can ‘see’ in this poem, and of course, with tofu-fa! The reason why I have chosen to work on this poem is that I want to get more people interested in learning about the local culture of Hong Kong – Lamma Island in an important part in it.

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.