On February 1st, EmpowerU, in collaboration with HKU professor Pei-yin Lin and Elephant Community Press, launched a class called “Life Writing: Telling Our Untold Stories”.
Led by Christine Choi and Vishal Nanda from Elephant Community Press, this dedicated group of students met virtually every Sunday from February through mid-April to explore the art of writing about their lives. Together, we read and discussed model texts, experimented with different writing exercises and dove into our memories for inspiration. Besides attending the writing workshops, the students managed to squeeze in hours after busy work days or on their day off to write and revise one story they wanted to tell the most. Three reviewers, Kate Reilly, Nathan Lauer, and Cecil Calsas, then graciously spent time reading each piece and giving feedback to the writers. In our last class, students shared their final pieces with the class, our reviewers and workshop facilitators.
Many students joined this class because they wanted to become better writers. The class was envisioned not only as a way to help students improve their writing, but also based on the philosophy that individual voices, given a chance to be heard, create a powerful collective history. The goal then was to provide a space and avenue to share the stories of our students.
To celebrate the final products of our students' hard work, and to thank them for sharing
their stories with us, we present this online exhibition. We will be posting short videos of each student reading aloud their work, along with the original text of their writing. There will be three posts a day starting May 28th, with the final three videos posted on May 30th, Hong Kong’s first annual Helper Appreciation Day. There are many ways to get involved and share your appreciation this May 30th, check out our page for more information.
We believe this life writing project perfectly exemplifies one of the ways we can honour the domestic helpers in our community in the spirit of Helper Appreciation Day on May 30th. In the nine videos shared here, these writers share stories of family and childhood, of work and fun, and of love and loss. We hope you enjoy this exhibition of our students' work, and may it encourage you to seek out more stories from members of our community, and perhaps even share your own.
Instructor Christine Choi's Introduction