18/11/2013 (Mon)

We are very pleased to announce the two winners of our first alumni writing competition: Kelvin Au, who wins a copy of Chinese Architecture and the Beaux-Arts (HKU Press, 2011), and Aaron Zhang, who takes away Original Copies (HKU Press, 2013). Congratulations, both!

As you’ll remember, the theme for the competition was “HKU at Night,” and entrants were encouraged to write a short story, poem, etc., on this theme. We’re very happy to present the winning entries below.


Kelvin Au is a student in the School of English’s MFA programme in creative writing. He holds an MA in English Studies from HKU and a BA from the University of Western Ontario, Canada. He has worked as an advertising art director and copywriter, and is currently a writer in the HKU Communications and Public Affairs Office.

You notice a change in the air this evening, the sweltering closeness is gone, although you do not yet know that a curfew has been imposed across the territory. As you make your way from the library down to the Main Building, your head still reels from the gruesome death of Piggy and the destruction of the conch. It is dusk, and even without the buildings, you could find your bearings from studying the sky alone, epic Rothkonian canvases stretching from west to east – Orange, Red, Yellow following Rust and Blue behind Black on Grey. The dense foliage blanketing this northern face of Lung Fu Shan is mostly invisible now, as are the cicadas, though they are far from silent. Through the shadows, encircling you, their klaxons sound, a pounding, pitiless aural assault; an insistent mating call.

But intermittent clinks, chuckles, clanks, coughs, splashes and slurps coming from the canteen interrupt this natural order, and you wonder if you should stop in for a mug of tea, milky and tannic, as the walk back to your room will be a long one. First, down to the Main Building, and then back up the steep stone staircase that vines its way through the trees and craggy hillside, erratic lampposts puncturing the dark with moth-lure, meandering skyward to the three Halls. From your room there, you will be able to see across the harbour, where a wave of rioting, looting, arson and killing continues, sparked two days ago by a hapless official at a public housing estate, who pulled down a Kuomingtang flag, flown to herald the Double Tenth.


 Aaron Zhang is a first-year Ph.D. student from Mainland China. He is studying George Orwell.

 One Night in HKU

I came from the haunting faces at the canteen and saw another tragedy
The Delifrance vomited the light all over the girl in white and blue
She backed a step or two, and fetched a deep sigh, black hair to waist

He that drenched half in darkness drifted forth with a pad bag around his neck
He tore off his smile from his face and pasted it on mine
I looked at the sweaty texture on his hand, a labyrinth of violent lines

I caught a bird in the yard and ate it
It flew in, and feathered my heart
Forced nine wings out of my back
I soared to the top of Run Run Run Run Tower
A loud night, the sea in port without a Shore

The white-uniformed guard threw her suspension at me and left
I fell alongside the pond, broken faces, broken eyes, scattering visions
Will She come this watery way and take me away
Out of the halls, through the glassy doors, to mountains and rains
And would you away with me, my dear old stranger?