(Excerpts from Yew San's book-in-progress, “Bambi’s Den of Discipline”)


I need to go to bed. It is 4:06 am. I have a headache and do not remember what stream I was showering in last night. Surreptitiously I raise my hooves and eat a big leaf from a tree; it is a big leaf; it has iridescent colors; how is it when I eat you in autumn you are yellow, but in spring you are green? It tastes delicious. There are more leaves hanging from the tree. The tree looks sacramental, pious. Does Buddha sleep in it? Does he yawn and look at himself in the mirror and brush his teeth in it? Does he exfoliate his face looking at the mirror and put pimple cream on the red spots where he feels looks the most ugly? Let me try to meditate in the tree. I will climb this tree trunk. My hooves are still wet from wading in the stream. The big trunk is slippery. I can’t get up. How do I climb? I forget how to climb. Where are my acorns? I’m enervated from pantomimed physical exertion. This is bad for my headache. I need to lie down. Let me lie down in the grass. It feels soft and sad on my face. Grass is sad sad is grass. Put me to sleep, grass, with your saddening natural powers. I am going to sleep now.




“The metropolis!” I thought, looking at it. The city, space-walking past airlocks and vectors and power lines and grids athwart grids, licking cold delicious feet into the clothing store RAYGUN – “The Greatest Store in the Universe!”  – tramping like bucolia-master Supertramp McCandless.

It was an astronaut toy with curly hair and a smirking face. I cradled the astronaut in my hands and lamented that I was a deer and not an astronaut.

In a flash of hyper-light, I became an astronaut. I was now stuck in a crystalline-clear glass-cockpit. I learned from reading the simple coordinates map that I was in a mechanically catatonic rocketship. The rocketship was travelling on an undetermined course to no specific place in the universe.

I was surprised but happy that I was now an astronaut, even though I was still a deer, only in a spacesuit. I sat back in my seat, smirking, not noticing the toy I was holding in my newly-formed human hand.




My childhood memories should have been the following things:

“Sorry” to police officer for co-complicit underaged buccaneering, Toys “R”  Us Elmo playing crib-only guitar riffs, touch of quadrilateral blocks of construction wood, chimera concerning the earthquake-proof state of my Lego, watching Batman: TAS on the DVD player, physically manipulating a myriad of cheap action figures bought in hole-in-the-wall dodgy establishments, unsecuring the secret push/pull bed-side compartment, getting arrested by Police Bear, running on plastic toy train tracks, feeling the figurative wind as trains whoosh by, kicking the soccer ball, grinning at boy laughing with salt in his eyes flailing by the ultramarine sea (my towel), lying, half-supine, fourth-birthday hands cradling an unwrapped, blue Logitech kids’ laptop.




Yew San Cheah (b. 1999) is a writer from Hong Kong. He was listed as a "Those Who Inspire Hong Kong: Inspiring Person" in 2016. His writing was profiled by local Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily. An alumnus of the Iowa Young Writers' Workshop, Yew San's work has appeared in Fjords Review among other literary magazines in the U.S.