Part Three: The Infamous Outlaw (江洋大盗)

Life Update: I’m tossing up whether I want to do a Masters in Translation/Interpreting.

I’m not sure if it’s worth it (time + money wise). It’ll be minimally helpful for my career (though deeply personally interesting) and I’ve been told by the course coordinator it is not a degree designed for part time study.

Surely 1-2 subjects a semester is manageable though? I’m not sure, but I’d like to at least explore this idea a little further – watch this space.

Start here for Part One.


The thief looked at the boy in contempt one last time, decides there is nothing worth stealing, and knows it’s finally time for her to head out and test her skills in the wider world.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter if her family is full of the poorest souls.

Now that she is making her own way in the world, the budding outlaw saw possibility around every corner. Why she could steal all over the globe from family and friends to complete strangers. The world is so big and much is ripe for the taking.

Filled with gusto, her fingers twitch with excitement.

《白云堂》an ancient Chinese poems gives her the ability to steal mountains and disguise water. Master Shao, a traditional artists gift her gardens filled with lush greens and a wide varietyof insects, fish and birds to catch. It’s rare to find 《制乐小集》, a musical album, at the market but she buys some beansprouts instead. “Taipei People” accompanies her to the United States as the thief stealthily chews on modern literature. She tip toes around Old Master Q, a comic-book character, as he snoozes, hoping the English poems jingling about in her rug sack do not wake him.

When Mr Cai, a famous astronomer was not paying attention to the observatory, the thief extends her crimes to the galaxies, stealing the stars and moon to illuminate her path of notoriety.

Fang Xinzheng’s “Sleep on the Gale” led the thieving girl to search for Linda’s last summer among the willow trees. She watches as a young man whistles out of tune and trims Whitman’s hair, grown into the grass on his grave. Homer began to sing blindly at some point, please don’t tell anyone else it was me who reached into the window and stole his soul. Aesop, previously a slave, I merely ate his flesh but skipped over the quack toad he speaks of.

Sha Linjie hunted in the fields, but he could never capture half these precious treasures I have. I justified it all too, why Hemingway, if I didn’t kill him now, he will kill himself in the future anyway. Picasso’s circus, Gauguin’s girl, Cézanne’s apple, Van Gogh’s sunflower, all were consumed by me on the grass for a well-balanced breakfast. I also pocketed Dali’s melting clock, a useful tool to improve the precision of my crimes.

That was not all. “The Brothers Karamazov” are all stolen one by one. “The Hunter’s Diary” she also took, though her guilty conscience made her refrain from “Crime and Punishment”.

Little by little, her diet became these squares, squiggles and lines that she could swallow whole.

You may ask why this thief is so focused on literature and art. These cheap and rotten things, what use do they have? Oh, don’t look down on her for her hunger, these are just to tide her over, the good stuff is yet to come.

Over the course of the next few years, the girl’s crimes piled up into a small mountain and she truly earnt the title of the infamous outlaw. One day, she stole a plane ticket, said goodbye to her family, crossed the oceans to embrace new adventures that awaited her.

“Oh lord help us, the infamous outlaw is coming!”

The thief chuckled coldly as shrieks from the people pierced the skies.

She meets a fellow thief in a cornfield. A lone wolf by nature, this was the first time the thief has met a colleague. She quickly gave him a handful of her popcorn.

The other thief bursts out in laughter at her offering, “It is not honourable to steal food, that is for the most squalid of creatures!”

“What do you steal if not food then? I am the empty-bellied thief, out to consume all there is for the world to offer.”

“Well you’ve spent all this time and effort to come here, why not steal… a doctorate?”

“A doctorate? What use does that have? Is it more savoury or sweet?”

“Hah, a doctorate is not food!”

“If it is not edible, it is not my style. I do not wish to steal it.” The thief takes a closer look at the man in front of her. Really he was just sallow skin holding onto sharp protruding bones yet on his back was a huge, bursting backpack.

“Is it a doctorate you have in there? Why do you not eat it?”

“Oh you swine! All you know to do is to eat, do you really not know the benefits of a doctorate?”

“No, please enlighten me.”

“The stealing of this doctorate took all my blood, sweat and tears but now that I have it, it brings me plenty of benefits. At the very least, I can swap it for a beautiful bride. Do you understand now?”

The thief took a look around for eavesdroppers before she lowers her voice and whispers: “You see, yours truly is an empty-hearted thief. Things I cannot eat, are much too heavy and cumbersome for my tastes. Even if it may be used to purchase love in the future. Thank you for your guidance, farewell now.”

Continue reading “Part Three: The Infamous Outlaw (江洋大盗)”

Tiny Letters: to remind myself the pandemic will be gone and I will still be here

Written in Chinese, English translation below.

2020年5月28号晚上,当你在看什么乱七八糟的女团节目时,手机突然响了。

A letter from the past.

你已经完全忘记去年的你会把自己25岁的规划发给一年后,现在的自己。

22岁最后的一晚读这封信,发现现实和欲望和短短几个月前真的变了很多。 当然都是和疫情相关的那些事。

最近情绪真的很不稳定。动不动的就哭,或者从里到外的麻木。虽然每天坚持写日记但是差不多天天都一样的这些那些有的没的。 低沉的点点滴滴也没有什么营养,需要仔细的品味。 好久都没有写诗了。

那天Stephen问我有没有什么我真正热爱的事情,我居然头脑一片空白。 小时有真的有,摄像,写诗 等。疫情之前虽然没有我自认为可以被称作为热爱的活动,我也会为了我喜欢的事情忙碌 – 跳舞,攀岩,去美术馆,在大自然里发呆…而其中对我来说最重要的可能会是旅游吧。

‘18年本不应该发生的单行旅游 (本和新西兰高中同学约好一起游玩一个月,不了她最后因为找工作没有和我在曼谷碰面)。路上交的朋友,青游馆和沙发上的记忆…发现我好喜欢那时候的自己。也喜欢刚知道自己得到梦寐以求的工作后的自己。

几个小时前,我才和Darcy对话。当时真的很伤心。聊着聊着就说到了关于自己想要改变的部分。我给他打了一个(一点都不诗意的)比喻。 如果我是一辆车,现在我想提升和升级的地方太多太多了还不如换一部车。可惜要把自己完全换掉可没买一辆新车那么简单。

我真的很感谢这封信的到来。也许它不能完全的把我从颓废的几个月里拔出来,但是它提醒了我,我不是一直都这么不喜欢自己。 疫情不过是一个外来的因素。它压抑但不是一个永久的状态。

加油,马上就要turn 23岁的我。 而现在我也写一封信给十二月三十一号的你。

2020年,这个奇怪的一年马上就要结束了。如果你还没有定下名年的目标,那你就赶快想想吧。 希望这封信对你像对现在的我一样是一个惊喜。 希望你听到我现在的伤心和迷茫,可以笑着说你已经克服了。如果还没有,容我心疼一下下,然后告诉你我们真的没关系。 不管怎样,你已经很棒了。

我的一生至今很有幸 – 生活没有起过很大的波浪。(希望不会jinx自己) 目前我自身是一艘很小很小的船,微不足道的波浪和风就能把我的船身震动,行程搅乱。但不是还没有翻船吗!怕什么! 活得好好的话在可能的情况下能开朗点就开朗点 。主动权要放在自己的手心里然后握紧它。 世界上最无条件的永远支持和懂你的人不就是你自己吗…一定不能忘了对她好点。

Be gentle with yourself。 2021,新年快乐~


It’s the evening of 28 May 2020. You are watching some awful Chinese girl-group competition and an alert pops up on your phone.

A letter from the past.

You’ve completely forgotten that past-you has sent a copy of your ‘goals for when you turn 25’ to today-you.

Continue reading “Tiny Letters: to remind myself the pandemic will be gone and I will still be here”

可惜不是你 – If only it was you

I was in a long distance relationship when I heard this song live in late 2016. I instantly felt a pang in my chest, and it was in that moment that I consciously came to terms with the end of the relationship. There’s really no coming back from mourning a break up that hasn’t happened yet, so that’s why this is a really special song for me.

I tried to remain faithful in my translation but I’ve prioritised capturing the essence of the song first and foremost. I hope it makes you feel something. 


Suddenly, this moment fills with familiarity,
yesterday’s memories playing over reality.
The way I speak is more like you than me,
evidence of the love that used to be.

Almost believed my own lies,
and maybe fooled you too.
loving and being loved don’t always
balance to the same degree.

Being in someone else’s thoughts
is a type of luck, I agree, but I don’t know
how to give myself over completely.

Tried my best to change but I can’t
shift these pre-set boundaries.
I thought being by your side
could be the start of eternity,
but it feels like yesterday,
and yesterday feels so very far away.
Yet when I close my eyes, I can still see –
If only it was you, by my side until the end.
Don’t you remember when we walked and
our shoulders would collide?

But we lost our way, parted at fork-roads,
thank you for being there and holding
my hand, even now your gentleness
lingers on my palms.

That time when our hearts beat as one,
I wish I’m still allowed to care for you.
except you are now part of someone else’s
scenery, I hope in her world you can see
the shadows of night stars.

Tried my best to change but I can’t
shift these pre-set boundaries.
I thought being by your side
could be the start of eternity,
but it feels like yesterday,
and yesterday feels so very far away.
Yet when I close my eyes, I can still see –
If only it was you, by my side until the end.
Don’t you remember when we walked and
our shoulders would collide?

But we lost our way, parted at fork-roads,
thank you for being there and holding
my hand, even now your gentleness
lingers on my palms.

Thank you for being there and holding
my hand in yours, I can still feel your
warmth burning in my chest.

Continue reading “可惜不是你 – If only it was you”

莲花 heart

In 2017, hip-hop took over China, in a large part due to a popular internet-based reality talent show called 中国有嘻哈 (Rap of China).

I was really late to hop on the bandwagon. So late in fact that by the point I binge watched the entire show earlier this year, rap has essentially been soft-banned in China.

Nevertheless, I was inspired to try write something myself, with the idea of mixing Chinese & English being something I was particularly interested in doing.

As some of the contestants said in the show, the most important part of rap is to “keep it real” and tell your own truth so that’s what I tried to do. If I couldn’t incorporate any complex rhyme patterns or have sophisticated flow changes, at least I could take a snapshot at my life in 2018.

I feel like this attempt is very juvenile and rushed but it was from the heart and so much fun so I wanted to share it anyway!

Now to be clear, it’s pretty evident, even if you don’t understand what I’m saying, that my musical background isn’t the strongest and I tried to force my lyrics into a backing track that wasn’t tailored for it (& therefore about 1/3 of the through I’m painfully offbeat) so that’s my bad, I didn’t have time to make it better/was too eager to put something out even if it’s really rough.

That’s my longwinded pre-amble, I hope you can find something in here that speaks to you.


Original lyrics & translated version (English) below:

You know, I used to be so scared of dying.
It was the rounding of a circle, the fade to black, permanent non-existence if you will.

Nowadays, death seems less daunting, more like a spoiler alert, you know? At first I thought it meant I grew up but maybe that’s not it. I used to want to leave a legacy, now I just want to stop feeling so… numb.

Continue reading “莲花 heart”

Eclipsed 心

IMG_6159
Photography: mxqqy (self)

I learnt my first 儿歌 over a
long-distance phone call as 妈妈
sat under the southern cross,
halfway around the world.

she sang about 一闪一闪的
小星星and I wonder if she
ever wished upon these flickering
lights to 再次 share the same sky
with the mother and daughter
she was forced to leave behind.

almost two decades later,
three generations 团聚在,
the same roof 下, but my
memories of 金色的 stars
cast across 陌生的 sunset
have become hazy, even
in slumber, my anglicised tongue
has become better at tying
knots into cherry stems than
imitating my grandmother’s songs.

Continue reading “Eclipsed 心”

Last Night [昨晚]

hourglass-620397_960_720

the morning after
she pretended vodka was water
all sleep deprived
and out of her mind
she tried to purge herself of regrets
even if it was mixed in
with chunks of last nights dinner

sticking shame-stained fingers
down her throat
she could not quite reach
any semblance of redemption
she was stuck with the potent perfume of bile
for the rest of the day
and she vowed to not touch smirnoff
ever again

Continue reading “Last Night [昨晚]”

Family Tree[家谱树]

pine-273826_1920.jpg

mother says blood is thicker than water
and I wonder if rose-tinted viscosity
obscures reality and feeds
deep-rooted problems
into gnarly family trees

twisted canopies seek sunshine
in carefully constructed forests
filled with fake dew-drop perfection
and find no nourishment
in tired soils, overturned

we can’t just bury
the wretched hatchet
we must use it
toil until the sun rises
and the earth heals
let the rain wash us away
then we will finally be
free

Continue reading “Family Tree[家谱树]”

CLICK [键盘的沉默]

IMG_1475.JPG

CLICK

maybe in five years time
I’ll suddenly cross your mind
and you’ll wonder
what that starry-eyed girl
(who was so desperately in love with you)
is up to now

your finger will hover over the green dot
next to my name…

click.
you didn’t know that I cut my hair

click.
or that I left the suburb next to the sea

click.
to make a life in the city that never sleeps

your finger will hover over the green dot
next to my name…

but you do not
click.

Continue reading “CLICK [键盘的沉默]”

FISH

Chinese sing Yao Beina recently passed away after bravely fighting against breast cancer for the second time. In memory of her, I have translated the last song she sung to the public – fish. I can only hope that I have captured the essence of this beautiful, sad song. You can listen to the original here. Rest In Peace, Yao Beina.


Artist: 姚贝娜
Songwriter (music):孙嫣然
Songwriter (lyrics):孙卓然

591922_7428890_pm

I am just a fish, (我是一只鱼)
staring out of the aquarium, at you (望着鱼缸外的你)
knocking on the glass, (敲了敲玻璃)
you smile at me, as you leave (你对我微笑离去)
swimming, swimming, you almost slip from memory (游啊游啊我却快忘了你)
first I forget the distance between you and me (甚至你和我的距离)
nestling into your shadow, cast onto the water’s edge (依偎你在水中的倒影)
I can’t wait for you to come closer to me (我会期待你再靠近)

yearn to lie in the warmth of your palms (渴望躺在你温暖掌心)
feel you, hug you, kiss you (感受你 拥抱你 亲吻你)
It’s a pity I can only swim, swim, swim (可惜我只能游个不停)
pretend that fish (装作鱼)
only have (只有)
7 seconds of memory (七秒记忆)
I am a fish, a fish (我是鱼 是鱼)
I am just a fish (我是一只鱼)

I don’t understand your language (听不懂你的言语)
so I stay silent in the water and just breathe (沉默在水里呼吸)
can’t bear to close my eyes (舍不得闭上眼睛)
swimming, swimming, I will commit you to memory (游啊游啊我会再牢记你)
and every single one of your expressions (还有你每一个表情)
water pools in my eyes, snucked up unexpectedly (水灌进眼底无声无息)
it blurs you, separates you, from me (却模糊了你 隔开你)

yearn to lie in the warmth of your palms (渴望躺在你温暖掌心)
feel you, hug you, kiss you (感受你 拥抱你 亲吻你)
kiss you (亲吻你)
yearn to lie in the warmth of your palms (渴望躺在你温暖掌心)
feel you, hug you, kiss you (感受你 拥抱你 亲吻你)
It’s a pity, I can only swim swim swim (可惜我只能游个不停)
pretend to be a fish (装作鱼)
only 7 seconds of memory (只有七秒记忆)
I am just a fish (我是一只鱼)
only 7 seconds of memory (只有七秒的记忆)