TO ARTIST ELAINE HO (2017)
I met HK/Berlin/Shanghai-based artist Elaine Ho in 2013 by striking up a conversation with her in an elevator of an old industrial building in Kwai Chung, Hong Kong.
It was after an experimental music showcase that was attended by perhaps less than five other people. The air was punctuated with clunking sounds and thuds as the elevator descended as I pondered furiously whether to say something - anything, really - about the show. At that time, I was familiarising myself with my new modus operandi of social survival - I was and had to always ready myself to start or launch into conversation with others, including strangers, in hopes that such strategies (and sincerity) would spark friendships, of which I was severely in need of, having moved to Hong Kong recently and knowing close to no one. I said hey, and probably made some passing review of the show. The elevator still took some time to reach the ground floor (G on the lift buttons, not 1 as I was accustomed to in Singapore).
We ended up walking to the MTR station together. The next time we met, it was probably at Wooferten 活化廳, a community art space at 404 Shanghai Street - a venue I would eventually frequent often in the months ahead. After I left Hong Kong, I met up with her again once in Shanghai where she had moved to.
I always feel lucky that my startling entry into conversation with a stranger in a lift has been appreciated by Elaine. This doughnut comic was crafted on 14 January 2017 and in spite of my reservations about the shakiness of my hand and how it screwed up the panel with the planets, this stickman doughnut postcard was gifted to her by mail.