Hands that Talk!

Submitted by: Ms. Ng Wei Chern

About a year ago, I took a photography class in Singapore. The instructor told us to create our own set of photos with a theme, as a form of practice to tell a story using our newfound photographic skills.

I took an interest in hands. 

Among my “portfolio” were my grandfather’s wrinkled hand with its characteristic brown age-spots, a man gently caressing his wife’s hand while dozing off in a long bus journey, a 55-year-old man holding his grandson’s hand guiding his movement on an ipad, a teenage girl’s hand holding a cigarette, and a Korean lady’s pair of manicured hands with red-hot nail polish.

My theme was “Hands that Talk”. Those hands said so much about the history, personality and character of the person in that unique context when their hands were put in focus and framed by the camera lens, even though those hands were usually inconspicuous in ordinary life.

Our hands are silent, but their expressions are loud.

This year, I had to literally use my hands to “talk”. I did not flex my own hands to create my own masterpiece.  I was part of a group of hands “talking” together. 

It was a unique experience to be a member of a group of 20 youth from Tea Talk to present at the event of Singapore’s 48th National Day Celebration and the 40th Anniversary of Singapore-Vietnam Bilateral Relations organized by the Singapore Embassy in Hanoi. Using the artistic approach of hand-mime, the scene of commitment and friendship to the tune of “Love Never Fails” was enacted creatively.

The smiley faces, heart shapes, and stick figures holding hands, may just be simple symbolic formations, but the meaning and significance go beyond that. The practices before the actual event were a test of cooperation and coordination. The merging  and clasping of big hands, small hands, flexible hands, stiff hands, to recreate the imagery of commitment and friendship, was in itself, a picture of how different we are, and how we have to make the effort of overlooking those differences for the sake of love, unity, cooperation- simply, just being together.

Hands that talk. Hands that do not fight, do not hit, hands that are not thrown up in despair, hands that are not helpless and limp.

This also reminds me of the objective of Tea Talk--where precisely it is the platform where hands can reach out to talk, and to heal. 

Tea Talkers and Mr. Ng Teck Hean, Singapore Ambassador to Vietnam