Ongoing Moments: Tiffany Tsoi Wing Yan

Ongoing Moments: A series in which teaching staff and students from the English Department respond to a photograph of their choice. [Read all entries.] [Revisit the “Interrogative” series.]
Back Pain

After years and years in school, I am now classified as ‘Fresh Graduate’—a concise oxymoron revealing the trick of age. I am now old enough to be a regular student, but still young to be a part of the workforce. I wear formal suits to show my maturity, but I put on a vest and skirt to exemplify my youthfulness. I work more than eight hours a day in an office, though I spend all the remaining hours wandering, exploring, and shouting joyfully. My life, at this point in time, works in a perfect parallel; as the unpredictable future might eventually seize my youth in a brutal and ruthless way, I must hereby record my teenaged years through photography and words, so as to allow my favourite moments to go on and on.
The photo above and words below will hopefully capture a moment, a story and a period of mine, which I hope so much will last.

It was my birthday. I got a call from my friend late at night, urging for meet up at the top of Shek Kip Mei. It is a place known as “Garden Hill”, although this is an unofficial name understood by people living in the Sham Shui Po neighbourhood. It is one of the meeting points we used to go to for some quiet moments in the city. At 23:30, I found myself struggling to keep going as it was too late to climb up a hill. Still, I was dragged there, by the passionate tone and encouragement of my friends—“Come!!! Quick!!!!”. (I could have written more and more exclamations to express the shouting and urgency.) It is never, at least for me, an easy job to climb stairs at a really quick pace. Getting extremely short of breath on the hill, I spotted a small candle being lit rapidly in the dark. As anticipated, a birthday cake was brought out.
“Hey, did you know it would be a surprise party? I don’t think you know all of us are here,” one of them asked me with full confidence.
“I knew that there would be something strange tonight!” I rebutted.
“Great! We made the surprise! Hurray!” My friends responded among themselves excitedly, ignoring my “insight” into this birthday surprise.
When it comes down to it, no one really wants to know if a surprise was successful. And none of us thought about how late it was. What mattered at that moment was the companionship and togetherness we enjoyed among ourselves. We regrettably broke the normal tranquility of Garden Hill, but we could not stop our jubilant voices from interplaying with each other. We ran around, screamed in those priceless moments. I found unlimited passion tumbling out from my body and it could not be easily stopped.
“Time for snapshots! What pose should we make this time? How about pretending to have toothache?” My friend took out her phone and was ready for a selfie.
“I’m not going to do that. It looks really stupid to put one hand under your chin,” another firmly rejected.
“Maybe not toothache but BACK PAIN! Let’s put our hand on our lower back and take a picture! Come on, ready in five seconds!”
That was how the picture was taken, random but perpetual. I promised myself the captured moment was going to be sustained. It is a pleasure to be haunted by age and time, so that I can appreciate the profound beauty of youth and friendship.


tiffanyTiffany Tsoi Wing Yan is a BA graduate in Stylistics and Comparative Literature (Class of 2015).

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