Christine Shan Shan Hou

“We talk over each other all the time. We exchange ghosts in the details.”

– From Christine Hou’s “Family Teachings”

ghost of reason
collage on paper
6.02 x 7.67 inches


We talk over each other all the time. We exchange ghosts in the details. The ghosts are made up of oranges. All bent out of shape after interrupting a single thought. How does an orange dinner sound to you? At the beginning of a nation, fear surrounds the things you love. And though I am not defined by what I love, I believe I am defined by what I fear. I am scared most of the time. I crouch in the corner facing the wall. In the middle of the conversation, I am airlifted over a sea of freaks. The ancient Chinese believe the spirit of all dead ancestors must be catered so as to avoid any angry ghosts in the family. And the crime doesn’t stop there.

My grandfather, Hou Kang Hua, was arrested in 1961 at three o’clock in the morning. Unable to collect any clothes or supplies, he was blindfolded and forced to board a plane to Sikkim, then transported on horseback to the border. There, he was forced to cross through the Himalayan Mountains via the Nathu La. Nathu means “listening ears” and La means “pass.” He follows a mailman to Tibet. Waist-deep in snow. Never to be seen again.

Blood is thicker than water

An arrangement made by God

Treacherous is the land that devours the needy

To whom do you belong?

The states

“Family Teachings,” published by Poor Claudia, reprinted with the permission of the author.