Coco Hong is in Good Company
In this month’s edition of Yew Chung International School of Beijing’s (YCIS Beijing) student blog, we have the pleasure of featuring Year 8 scholar, Coco Hong. Coco is an EAL (English as an Additional Language) learner who has recently received the honour of having her work published in InkBeat, a youth journal that is dedicated to supporting and promoting the writing and art of students in the Beijing area. Coco’s achievement puts her in good company, as she joins the ranks of YCIS Beijing’s other published student creatives, such as Amy Yin and Sydney Lee (both of whom had their work published in InkBeat last year).
In our interview with Coco, she provided insight into how she came to be published in InkBeat and gave a bit of advice for developing writers looking to improve their work. Coco was assisted during her interview by Secondary English Teacher, Gillian Wong.
Please introduce yourself.
My name is Coco Hong. I am twelve years old and a bit shy. I was born in Hong Kong, but I have lived in Beijing for 12 years and I started school at YCIS Beijing in 2017. I really like basketball and music. I play on the under 14 girls school basketball team, and I’m in a band at school called Shadow Project.
How did you come to have your work published in InkBeat magazine?
[Simon Shieh, Director of InkBeat Arts and a member of publication’s teaching team, visited Coco’s learning community last year during their poetry unit. During his visit, he invited students to submit their works to the publication for consideration].
When we finished our poems [as part of the Year 8 Learning Community’s (Y8LC) unit on poetry], Ms Flavin and Ms Wong encouraged us to go to a website to submit our poems for a chance to have them published in a magazine.
What did you write, and what was it about?
[During the Y8LC’s unit on Identity and Perspectives, the students were asked to write from different outlooks. Coco chose the viewpoint of a lonely person.]
I wrote a poem. The title of my poem is ‘Lonely Person’. [It] is about a person who repeatedly does [the same monotonous] things every day, and he is very lonely. No one wants to be friends with him. And some people also [tell] their children [to stay away from] him.
What was the inspiration for the piece?
I’ve heard about these kinds of people before. I think they are always insecure and believe no one wants to be their friend or something like that. So I tried to write what I thought a lonely person would feel, to capture that gloomy mood.
How did you find out your work would be published?
First, they sent me an email about publishing my work. But I did see it in print or anything. So next, I got a text message one day telling me it had been published and that I could find [a clipping] of it in my email.
Any advice for other aspiring young writers?
Yes, I have three pieces of advice.
1. Be more imaginative.
2. If you have some good ideas, write them down. It doesn’t [have to be perfect].
3. Read more book and do more interesting things.