Issue 43 (September 2018): Special Feature “Young Voices”

Photography by Yuen Chi Him

POETS featured in the YOUNG VOICES section: Christian S. Baldomero ◍ Troy Cabida ◍ Jessica Chan ◍ Cheng Tim Tim ◍ Lawdenmarc Dacamora ◍ Tiny  Diapana ◍ Shehzar Doja ◍ Dave Drayton ◍ Juan Miguel Estocio ◍ Angela Gabrielle Fabunan ◍ Pinky Ho ◍ Priyanka Kapoor ◍ Rachel Mendis ◍ Gino Pastoriza Paradela ◍ Mayumi Paras ◍ Zoria Petkoska ◍ Phoebe Poon ◍ Rohith ◍ Mitsu Sahay ◍ Jaime Santirso ◍ Aishwarya Shrivastav ◍ Lakan Umali ◍ Dexter G. Yim

Editorial: A Clock Glimpsed in a Dream 
by Tammy Lai-Ming Ho

It is said that the young don’t really know what sorrow is, that they fashion imaginary worries to needlessly wear their hearts out; that they do not know how fortunate they are to be young and to be able to afford to be a bit foolish. I was once young, and I suppose I too was guilty of these things.

But, truth be told, I cannot remember precisely my thoughts and moods. I wish I had recorded more diligently every important ‘theatrical event’ of my youth: first love, first sexual encounter, first real moment of rage and anger, first argument with an authoritative figure, first time I truly felt proud of my work.

Had I recorded things systematically, methodically, it would have granted me an acute insight into my current being—how I have evolved from then to now. But past events are blurred and yet at times sharpened in my mind—a strange feeling.

I also wish I had written more about my city and the world at large when I was young. What did I think of a particular incident? What was my opinion of that Governor? How intensely did I hate wearing the face masks during SARS?

One of the frequently asked questions about the Call for Submissions for the Young Voices section was ‘How old is young?’ (A peculiar question. How sweet is bitter? How transparent is opaque? How heavy is light?) My answer was always, ‘If you consider yourself young, who am I to say you are not?’ Most definitions of ‘young’ are artificial and convenient. Although we asked poets to tell us their birth decade when they were submitting works, in the end we decided this was extraneous information.

The intention of the following pages, then, is to provide some snapshots of what self-identified young writers in different parts of the world are experiencing, are preoccupied by, are subjected to. If they are given voices, what would they articulate, mourn and praise? The selected poems tend to focus on realities of the poet’s home or city. Some are about the exhilaration or predicament occasioned by the formation of one’s identity. The message I found the most uplifting: ‘Do not hate the era you were born into.’

Note: The title of this editorial comes from Borges’s poem “A Compass”.

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