天空膠雨 Tin Hong Gaau Jyu (Plastic, plastic, every where!)
Tin Hong Gaau Jyu (Joint Publishing, 2017. Hong Kong) was a winner of the Young Writers’ Competition (Hong Kong, 2017) and was selected as one of the 50 Best Books for Secondary Students by Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union (2018.)
The dystopian cautionary tale tells a future where the frenzy of human plastic consumption (as in lifesaver donuts, telephone hotdogs…) has led us past the point of no return. This global craze originates from the 2084 annual meeting of the Great Five Industrial Nations. At the meeting, imaginary country Contradictoria (in the form of a pig) proposes that if animals can learn to eat plastic, why can’t children?
The artist creates a fantastic world as a site for the readers to draw their own conclusions on the consequences of modern society’s feverish consumption and irresponsible disposal of plastic. Miss Dodo, an heiress-cum-young-teacher, meets a hundred-year-old sea turtle (possibly the last one on earth) on her saga to seek a world with no plastic.
The book features an 18,000-word story (in Chinese) and roughly 80 hand-drawn images.
"Plastic adorns modern life. It is ubiquitous in the Anthropocene. In her dreamscape of plastic dystopia, Michelle Fung denaturalises plastic’s invisible materiality, through scarred animals and plastic-eating children, showing how our consumer desire and inaction hide the horrors that are yet to come. Fung does not simply advocate for going beyond capitalism, but rather goes deeper to trace how the enigma of plasticity is embedded within the capitalist ideology of manufacturing insatiable hunger as natural impulses. How do we break out of the curse of plastic? Are we enjoying at the cost of what is promised? Fung’s extraordinary project is a visual and aesthetic feast that compels us to embark on a journey of seeking futures in a climate-changing environment."
Dr Emily Zong, Literary studies and environmental humanities, Hong Kong Baptist University