By Bobby Gordon,2014-02-11 10:03
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Project B CA02 50758462 (TST-HSBC entrance across the Muslim temple) A tidy little sketch of a place that is full of drama. Even though you piece is short, it manages to convey a full overview of the place and its character. Also, your voice as the observer is very prominent, injecting into the little sketch your own unique personality. Here and there, you coul..

Project B CA02

    50758462 (TST-HSBC entrance across the Muslim temple)

A tidy little sketch of a place that is full of drama.

    Even though you piece is short, it manages to convey a full overview of the place and its character. Also, your voice as the observer is very prominent, injecting into the little sketch your own unique personality.

    Here and there, you could have spent more time to provide more fine details. For example, I can’t see the woman in your story the way you saw her because there is not a single detail. The woman’s drama is interesting, but you could

    have followed up on that with a few more “waiting” stories. Also give us a

    sense of how the “stage” differs one day from another.

Need to exercise the “show-not-tell” principle more elaborately. Also, you

    want to learn to make your own judgment on which part of the story should have thicker details than other parts, based on how significant each part is.

    I also feel that you’re still a it afraid of using words… But your writing is really fine and it carries your personality.

    In sum, this is a good piece with lots of potentials, except that right now it looks more like a promising “draft” than the final writing. Hope you’ll be writing freely and courageously in Project D. Don’t be so restrained with words. You already have good ideas, just let them come out onto the paper in full. Don’t lock them up in you mind.

50814648 老地方

    As a narrative poem, it fully communicates you sense of loss and acceptance for being a city person. Very procedural, and articulation of emotions concise and to the point…

    You’ve done a great job turning a brief moment into an elaborate drama, unfolding the fine movements of the crowd and the activities of the fountain.

Project B CA02

    Perhaps because your focus is so much on articulating your views, a lot of what’s written down is more a thought process than an account of the physical details of the place. The beauty is in the flow of thoughts and present continuous tense of thinking. So even though this is a fine piece of writing, it hasn’t exactly embraced the task expected of you in exercising the power of seeing via providing a place a unique personality via details.

50852296 巴士總站

    A highly focused moment treated with minimalist rigor: one brief moment, a sudden state of mind, a single mood, minimal seeing…, all of this hang together very well to form a unique style.

    The personality of the observer can be further materialized through the details captured. Minimalism can be pushed to further extreme. Vision can be further de-familiarized. This is a nice little poem with a strong sense of presence.

    This assignment expects you to show the magical effect of time: different place same time, same place different moments. How would you address this requirement?

50872572 “Kok Chi Lai Medical Report”

Done with great care…and your recent appreciated.

    Yes, in retrospection, your description of the patient makes sense for Lai Chi Kok. The use of footnote to make the parallel between a body and a place is effective, but something is missing in order to make Lai Chi Kok’s personality come out a bit more. The details of the patient seem to me to be applicable to a few other districts as well, such as certain parts of Quarry Bay, Kwun Tong and Kowloon Bay. Perhaps you could invent more details on the daily habits of the patient to make Lai Chi Kok more unique.

Project B CA02

Very clean writing, and you’ve demonstrated your ability to stick to details,

    which is more than “show-not-tell.” Credits, too, for rigorous writing, a

    strong sense of order for the use of details, and methodical organization…

    One key strength of this piece is your providing a purpose (background, motive, explanation) to the activity of thick description, and in your case, “diagnosis” and the search for possible “prescription,” which you have taken care of towards the end of your report. Without that, the entire activity of providing details for a place will become pure gesture.

    I also think you can translate a bit more of the pathologies for each organ and its (mal-)functions, which you have researched, into the furthering of the case of Lai Chi Kok for cure and experiments. But given the requirement of this assignment, I think you have already done enough.

    Lastly, there’s always a limit to how an analogy work for an object of description. Have you considered this? At what point do you think the metaphor of a person with multiple sicknesses would stop serving your purpose? And how would you highlight and turn such limitation into self-conscious creative resources?

Good work.


A voice with a definite personality flows through the piece.

    Youve demonstrated your ability to see differently and with insight. Your writing has successfully brought the place to life -- it is full of energy, congratulations. You’re able to see different strands of activities going on at the same time: activities, persons, objects and so on flow into one another. There’s also a delicate sense of the passing away of time. Attention to noise is

    a strong point of your work.

    Your focus is now on people, which is what makes the piece worth reading.

Project B CA02

    You also want to imagine bicycles as another unique character and concentrate on giving the many bicycles and the few cars some kind of personality. So, you may see that your story is potentially a combination of two stories: the flow of human activities alternating with the flow of vehicles.

    From a social, cultural point of view, your piece provides a lot of insight into an ordinary local place that is often not so “singular” in terms of its human activities, land usage and identity. So it is good that is almost impossible to summarize your place in one word, or in one or two adjectives. Therefore, I’m

    wondering if your title, which means prison, is reducing the richness of the place into one single quality.

    In terms of writing quality, you have demonstrated the power of seeing via the interesting details you’ve picked. On a more micro-level, you need to

    learn to clean up your own writing via a few rounds of re-reading and editing before submission of final version. More thoughts could be given to organization: the details are there and they are interesting, but how you arrange them will definitely make significant impact on the ultimate effect of the piece.

50929476 The Fountain

    A focused portrait, turning a fountain into something more than an ordinary fountain…

A bit too balanced: water, its speed, the fountain’s structure, and its variety of


    In order to give it a stronger personality, you want to work more on the “monster underneath,” thus playing up the contrast of the potential and the kinetic energies of the fountain as a character. Another possible focus to explore would be the physical aspects of water and its flow. You’ve got some nice attempt here, and the reference to physics is in the right direction. You want to push such possibilities further: water flow is the key drama of your

    portrait, and you need to go beyond the level of normal perception to bring it to life.

Project B CA02

    Also something seems to be missing: what do you want you readers to feel? What impact? Any point of transformation? Why do we care about this fountain?

50926609 我寫我城堡

Very fine details…, which show that you’ve studied the place very intensely.

    You have also demonstrated your effort to exhaust the five senses.

    The nicest aspect of the piece is that the very material, physical description and the detached voice of writing do convey a sense of humanness and many fine traces of human presence, or human destruction towards the end.

This castle is yours…you want to show us more unique, personalized

    experiences so that it is not just another game structure in another park.

    Nice sense of procedures…however, it is still like a very fine outline. Here and there, thicker details are required to transform the place into something with a stronger life, as if it were an organism.

50928467 農圃道

    Very confident writing: every word and phrase is carefully considered. There’s also a fine sensitivity to tempo and rhythm: you understand how to moderate the reading speed of your potential reader via a highly personalized voice.

    The piece in general illustrates your fine observation of general atmosphere, forms and shapes, and the overall visual landscape. The sectional division also helps to give the piece a greater sense of order.

Nice drama via sound…, which is a key component of rhythm to the whole

Project B CA02

    piece. The attention to sound also helps to achieve the “dream” quality of this ordinary road, which I believe is one of the objectives of your piece. Your intimate emotions for the whole place communicate finely. You should also be complimented for the last few paragraphs: very fine closure without overdoing your emotions.

    If there were areas to improve, I think it should be the effort to “vary the distance” you take from what you’re observing. Borrowing the analogy of a camera eye, you’ve done a good job in providing us with full shots and broad wide views. The camera angle and framing remain more or less the same throughout. But here and there, you may consider applying a “close-up”

    shot, or perhaps devote some of the paragraphs to up-front studies of finer details. Of course, one needs to think of the motivation in doing so.

Great work and fine craftsmanship…

50930070 (toilet)

    A nice visionary portrait of the skyline of HK Island from Kowloon… Visual experience plus fantasy properly housed in a simple action sequence provides a unique perspective that someone living on the Hong Kong Island would not be able to entertain. There’s also a good blend of the subjective and the perceivable.

    Need to pay closer attention to your own rhetoric. Here and there, I find the use of analogies (metaphors, simile, comparison etc. ) a bit excessive. You could have spent more effort on providing us with the visual details you’ve experienced so we are able to see exactly what you see.

50943380 守株

    Your portrait of the airport is capable of providing a broad view of the variety of activities there and the general landscape of atmosphere.

Project B CA02

    Some more work is required perhaps through one or two re-writing

    exercises to break down broad-level descriptions into details… details that

    are sufficient to make us hear what you’ve heard, and see what you’ve seen.

    (See my margin notes on your manuscript.)

    The switch from general portrayal to focus on one person (yourself?) is a good move. I can see the difference between what “I” see and what “he” sees: broad overview Vs eye-level observation, or focus on sound Vs focus on human activities. However, there should be stronger and more marked difference in the “thickness” of details: “I” is taking a broad view and so it would be good

    to deliver outlines, contours and broad profiles, whereas “he” should be able to see very fine details of all the people around him.

    No matter what, I like the self-reflexive touch of your writing/observing process, which you have deposited towards the end of the piece. I like the methodical approach you’ve put in, and in your next project, you want to work on details and how to vary “thickness.”

50944688 我與她

    You have chosen to subjugate the task of description to that of story-telling. The event of the first date is cleverly designed to provide a lot of room for you to unravel the street. It is amazing how the power of thick and intense description turns a single street or two into an inexhaustible world. As a reader, I feel that the street has endless things to look at and to discover, and endless new events happening. There’s also sufficient variety in the details

    you’ve crafted.

    Thanks for taking me through these familiar streets and via three different seasons. I felt I’d never been there.

Strong story sense, and wholesome narrative… Everything flows naturally.

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