[Fairy Tale - The Shifting Land]
Type: Competition | Architecture
Location: Imaginary Site
Organizer: Blank Space
We believe in the power of imagination and story-telling.
“Everyone has a story. You only have to believe in yours.” – Anonymous
2 February 1986
Weather: Sunny, Light wind
I made a new friend today! I met Prince George at the house just two blocks away from my home. When I walked past his front lawn this morning, he gave me a strawberry candy and said, “Hello, little boy. My name is Prince George and I am new to town. What is your name?”
“Welcome to here, Prince George! My name is Sash and I am five. Thank you for the candy. Where did you come from?” I love strawberry candy best!
“My homeland is far away from here, my new friend.” He laughed.
“Friend...? I have many friends, let me show you to them!” I hold Prince George’s hand and took him to see Alice and Joshua.
Though Prince George looked quite old, he smiled softly. We like him! Good night.
9 April 1992
Weather: Rainy, Hot
We went to Prince George’s today! Alice, Joshua, Eden, and I hung out at his front lawn for the whole afternoon. Prince George was such a comedian! He always has so many exciting stories to tell us.
“Sweeties, do you know? Your land is much bigger than my homeland. We had very limited space out there. There were three islands, each living 5-million people,” said Prince George, seemingly homesick.
“How much is 5 million? How small, how small? This small?” We tried to hold our arms together to form a circle.
“Ha ha! Yes, more or less that small. But it will grow bigger and bigger just as your arms grow,” giggled Prince George, bringing out more of his strawberry candies. He said he would teach us how to make the candies in the summer!
Today was a great day! Good night.
2 Jun 1998
Weather: Thunderstorm, Cold
Yay! The storm was so bad today that school was cancelled! I wanted to sneak out to meet Alice, but Mum got really mad and so I dashed to Prince George’s instead. I was so bored by the rain.
“Where would you go on a rainy day in your homeland?” I asked Prince George.
“There were a lot of things to do. When the rain was light, we would unfold our towers and restore the city plaza. It was a very spacious piazza with floating trees and dining tables. We would hold feasts in the plaza, while enjoying the light shower,” said Prince George.
“There was no need to drive in our homeland; we walked and cycled. Our buildings shifted from day to night. High-rise buildings would fold after business hours and unfold when the day came. It was super convenient!” he sounded as if it was true.
“Shifting buildings? Aha! I saw that on TV drama last week! Prince George, you can’t just copy other’s plot!” I laughed. I can always rely on Prince George to fill my boring afternoons with funny adventures.
I dreamt of cycling around a changing landscape tonight, it was quite scary! Luckily, that was only a dream.
31 July 2003
Weather: Warm, Humid
It was a strangely humid September, and it was the last week before the new school term to begin.
“Prince George, are you in?” I screamed. “Oh, yes, Sash. Come in,” said Prince George.
“I am going back to campus tomorrow and want to say a good-bye to you.” I hugged him.
“My dear, you look a bit sad. What’s happened?” asked Prince George, as softly as usual.
“Um... I don’t like my class. They keep asking me to imagine a city. How could a city be imagined?” I muttered.
“Of course a city could be imagined! Remember my homeland? We changed our city every day and every minute. We loved constantly imagining and changing our city. It helped us to create a lot of useful space. We never had to argue for space. We could fold and unfold rooms conveniently as we needed and when we wanted to...” said Prince George delightfully, but interrupted by me.
“Please... stop telling me about your homeland. I’m a grown-up now. I don’t need this sci-fi anymore. See you in semester break.” I waved and left.
“Hey, Sash....” murmured Prince George. I could hear him calling my name, but I didn’t turn around. I knew I was a bit rude. I will bring him a nice bag of crisps when I see him next time.
29 Nov 2006
Weather: Sunny, Warm
Today was my best day of life! I am finally graduating from university! Apart from my families, I have also invited Alice, Eden, and Prince George to come to my graduation ceremony.
I dragged Prince George towards my studio desk, and pointing to him all the different parts of my model.
“This is an urban design for a dense city. My research was based on Hong Kong as my blueprint.” I explained to Prince George every idea about my design.
“My dear, your design looks amazing! In my homeland, we needed to share every resource and minute, and an equal......” I stopped Prince George.
“Let’s take some more pictures!” I could see him frowning slightly, but he still smiled softly into the camera.
16 Mar 2009
Weather: Cool, Occasional Rain
I received a letter from Prince George today, attached with it a photo of mum and dad together. I haven’t been home for 2 years.
“My dear Sash, hope you are doing well in NY. I always wonder how the skyscrapers out there could stand every day without getting tired. Back in my homeland, when I
looked outside of my windows, all the skyscrapers would keep moving. We did not have a moment of stillness .... Forget it, I know you are not at the age for stories anymore. With love, Prince George.”
I was frustrated with work today. A client came in and yelled at us saying that our design wasn’t efficient enough for the real estate market. I wish I were in Prince George’s imagination, where there were a lot of exciting spaces and an ever- changing landscape. How fun it would be if you could fold up your own home!
I hope tomorrow will be a better day.
14 Dec 2016
Weather: Raining, Mild
We took the earliest flight back home this morning. Mum called last night saying Prince George had fallen down the staircases and was in critical condition. We were not family, but Prince George had already been like my grandpa and my kids love him.
“Papa George, I learned how to ride a bike yesterday. We can ride in your homeland together!” yelled Joshua.
“Joshua, Papa George needs to rest.” I gently pushed Joshua away from the bed.
“No, no, it’s okay. Josh, come here. When you brought your bike to our Parc Vic and started cycling, the path and trees would start shifting and...” muttered Prince George, his voice getting softer and softer. “.....I miss .....”
Good night, Prince George.
16 Dec 2016
Weather: Showers, Cold
Today I was helping mum to tidy up Prince George’s house. It felt like it had been years since I have been to his house. It smelled the same, but a bit dusty. Prince George was still keeping our favorite strawberry candies on his dining table.
“Sash, can you help cleaning upstairs?” asked mum.
“Yes, I am going up!” climbing up the stairs, I realised I have never been to the upper floor before.
I opened the door to his bedroom carefully. The door made a cracking sound, disturbing the quietness in the house. In front of the bed was a pair of mountain
boots, cleaned and tidily placed. And there was a full backpack, with a roll of papers on the floor. It looked like Prince George was ready for a trip? A few photos fell off from the reclining chair on the side. The photos were very old and yellow tinted... and they were photos of...
I thought I have been with Prince George’s imaginary stories for 20 years. Not until today that I realised there has always only been one story, and that was the story of him.
Sorry, Prince George, and I believe you now.
One Biters: Alan Cheung, Sarah Mui, Suet Yan