Dragon Boat Festival


The savoury scent of sticky rice dumplings filled the air as Mother lifted the lid of the pot. Each dumpling was meticulously wrapped in banana leaves and tied with a single cotton string. With precision, Mother sliced an unwrapped dumpling right into the core with her chopsticks, unleashing a steaming pork aroma into our eager little faces.

It was Dragon Boat Festival, and as usual, people flocked to watch dragon boat races at the by the beach. The weather was glorious; and the sea glistened under golden sun and clear blue sky. Crowds cheered, and the sound of drums accompanied the rapid rowing of energetic contestants. Rainbow-coloured boats streaked the sea and the arms of rowers dotted the sides, moving in unison like a vibrant caterpillar.

After the exhilarating races, everyone cools down, an icy cold beverage in hand and enjoys the rest of the evening with friends and family.


It’s now or never…

Writing 0013

I know it’s in here. Right here.

My eyes open wide. I’m tired but I’m not. Not anymore.

It’s too dark to see, but I can sense a presence. I was asleep in bed, but it must’ve woken me up… somehow.

My hands are clammy as I slowly pull my covers up to my quivering chin. Not that it makes me feel any safer. I am completely covered in cold sweat. I knew I shouldn’t have played that video game so late at night. It was so bizarre, and much too realistic.

The story goes that I was locked in an asylum. All the doctors, nurses and patients had died… apart from one, who wanted to rip my guts out with his large drill…

Zzzz. Oh god. I hear a buzz. This can’t be happening. Zzzzzzzzzz. I hear it again.

And it’s coming from under the bed.

Every cell in my body is screaming at me to bolt for the door, but I can’t move. My mind is numb, my body frozen. Do I wait for him to crawl out and get me? Or do I run and risk him catching me?

Grinning and bloody.

My heart thumps my chest like an angry grenade about to explode. I feel the vein throbbing in my temple… so hard I am getting a headache. I need water, I think stupidly. I am at my deathbed and I need water.

The buzzing continues. Nausea overcomes me as my throat becomes a desert and my insides tie itself into a knot. Do I have a weapon? I am scared to move but I need something… anything.

My eyes roll towards my table, on my left. It is about a foot away. I can easily reach my hand over and grab my pen-knife. I can easily slash that retard down. I can then run to freedom, get the neighbours, call the cops…

Am I going crazy?? It was just a video game…wasn’t it? The buzzing has stopped. Maybe I am hearing things. Maybe it was just a nightmare.

No. I am a deep sleeper, I know. I don’t wake up for no reason. Something is under my bed. And it’s going to kill me.

A drop of sweat dripped from my head to my ear. Then…the buzzing starts again, and I almost jumped out my skin, electrified.

It’s now or never, I know. But what if I reach across for the knife and the hand grabs me from beneath? Worse, what if he pops his head out to bite me? Or uses his drill?

I still remember his manic grin and bloody face. It will haunt me forever, but my soul will be free.

The buzzing isn’t getting any closer, any louder. It’s now or never. I make up my mind. In a split second I dart my arm across and grab the knife. Yes! I have it in my hand! Shall I run for the door or shall I stab whatever’s down below?

Critical thinking. I hear the buzzing. But it doesn’t sound directly beneath me, at the head of the bed. It sounds more like at the foot of – no. The middle. Directly beneath me.

If I move, he would know. I still need to clamber across the mattress whereas he could just attack with the drill and that is all. What do I do??

It’s now or never. Hurt him first quick. Any part of his body would do. A quick stab wound and that will buy me time to sprint for the door. And get help. And be sane again.

It’s now or never. Here goes nothing. One sharp intake of breath and I swing down, upside down, hanging from my bed. I stab forward so hard. So hard.

So hard at nothing.

Nothing but thin air. Thin air and my phone on the floor that was on vibrate.
I freeze there, for a minute. My phone? Yes, I have a phone. Yes, it does buzz. Especially when I have it on vibrate.

I breathe. I sigh. A sigh of relief. The pen knife still in my hand. Jeez, it’s just my frickin’ phone. I can really kill whoever was calling me there, but I can also kiss them. I am ok. I am ok. It is just a stupid game, for God’s sake!

Every muscle in my body relaxes. No tension. My hand lets go of the knife and I swing myself back up onto the soft mattress of my bed…just as something drops from the ceiling and lands heavily beside me.

A ghastly grin spread across its blood-drenched face.


To a very special person…


I’ll be gone by next year
We don’t have much time to spend
So instead of sitting with my face in my palms
Let me tell you something, my friend…

And I really don’t usually say this
My expressions are not that great
But the love and support you give me
I truly know and appreciate.

I’m full of flaws, you see by now
And yet you stand by me.
I’m cold and strange and insecure
Still, you try to keep me happy.

The times I drown in depression
You seek countless antidotes
While I don’t know how to make you smile
The words get caught in my throat.

I’m bad at praises and romance
But I’m scared it’ll be too late…
So I’d love to take this time to say
a thank you for being my soulmate.

(Mr Seal’s coming with me
I’m sure he likes the sea)

Us (part 2)


The water is icy cold, like the veins of those people.

For a second, I feel numb. But I shake it off, fuming at myself for being so weak.

What is this, compared to the torture they had to endure?

I dive even deeper towards the bottom of the ocean, so dark and deep that I cannot see. Memories flash… her eyes of despair as she was taken away, stripped bare and chained in a hut with the other women.

Monsters. How do you sleep at night?

Suddenly, I feel it in front of me. I feel the gate! I can hear them crying inside.

I’ll let you all out.

I’ll save us all.

I fumble around desperately, and tug. The gate flings open as cows, sheep, pigs, goats, horses, chickens, ducks and all the other animals swim towards their freedom.

A glimmer of hope in this world of darkness.

Us (part 1)


Peering down into the dark depths of the water, fear tugs at my heartstrings. Uncertainty fills every cell of my body.

I don’t want to do this.

I don’t like water.

I’m not a good swimmer.

But now is not the time to think about that. Now is the time to think about what fueled you to be here. Remember your friends and family? The cries of sorrow as they are dragged ruthlessly apart from one another? Some, slaughtered immediately, right before your eyes, their blood splattering and painting the floor crimson. Others, put in chains and turned to slaves, doing things no one should ever have to do. People made money from their pain, and laughed joyously as they themselves enjoyed their suffering. Eating, joking, living like normal.


I’m not afraid anymore. I’m seething. I can see red, the passion of my soul as I plunge right in…

Part 2 ➳



The night was dark and still. Not even the gentlest winds would blow. Stars dotted the darkness like playful coloured chalk on a blackboard of discipline. Yet the most stunning of all was the pale luminous moon, that rose high in the sky, lighting up the faces of little girls and boys in their warm, toasty beds. But not a single child awoke from its brightness.

Suddenly, a star fell.

It didn’t drop like a snowflake and melt to the ground. It fell, travelling along the line of light lit up by the spherical brightness above. It entered effortlessly through the glass window towards a little boy’s bed, and like a soothing palm, rested itself upon the child’s head. One by one, the stars fell, delivering dreams to the children. Smiles spread across faces, as memories of parents, hugs and kisses arrived. Memories of love.

Bittersweet comfort, for the orphans.




One of the greatest achievements
in all of history
To launch this ship into the sky
With cheers and cries of glee
I wish to see so many things
Not just the stars and planets
Perhaps catch a glimpse of aliens
Their food and clothes and pets
Now past the birds and treetops I soar
Past the clouds and mountain peaks
I’m on this journey to explore
For years and months and weeks
Here I go through the edge of the atmosphere
One hundred kilometres high
I turn to look back at Earth once more
And to say a final “Goodbye!”
Then ever so suddenly, I stop
I feel myself start to float
In the darkness I see the stars
Glittering around my boat!
But the more beautiful I find this view
My heart gets increasingly empty
For what is it to call this home
Without a friend beside me?



No sooner had I sat down on the bus, did I feel someone prop down beside me.

With a tug across my chest, I turned to look. Beside me sat a young man. Is he getting off soon? I stared at him, not quite knowing what to do. Suddenly, he turned, looked at me with his friendly eyes and smiled. I blushed and tried to turn away. But I couldn’t move at all.

The bus stopped. The doors open and my heart raced as the man got up slowly, moving his way towards the door behind the other passengers. He got off and disappeared among the crowd. The doors closed. I will never see him again.

I sighed as I pulled my now crumpled dress from the seat next to me, where he sat on. Thank goodness he’s gone. Any longer and the creases will be harder to iron out.

Mum’s Hot Chocolate

Growing up, we’ve always had big breakfasts – congee, noodles, or toast, cereal AND egg. With our big appetites, no portion is ever too much for us; we would gladly wolf down anything.

Ireland can be a very cold place, especially in winter, so sweet-toothed little me always indulged in a nice cup of hot chocolate. Mum’s was always the best. I could never make a more delicious cup to suit my own taste, even if we used the same ingredients! Maybe it was the slight differences in the ratio of milk to chocolate powder, or the speed and height of pouring hot liquid. Perhaps it was the temperature of the milk or even her technique of swirling the spoon…

Either way, to this very day, Mum’s hot chocolate undoubtedly remains the tastiest, creamiest hot chocolate I have ever had. Halfway across the world, I still remember.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mum 💖