On New Year’s Eve

In 2011, Ouyang Yu, from Victoria (Australia), won the Community Relations Commission’s award for his book The English Class. Picture: Adam Elwood.

Ouyang Yu reminds me, as I read,
of my lunch today
at a familiar Chinese restaurant.
In my mind’s ear
there are fragments of voices – familiar
sounds, yet incomprehensible –
the laugh-laced talk
of three young Chinese men
sitting down to eat
where usually they serve.
Today they are not in uniform: it is
holiday time, and they are relaxing.
I look across the room at them,
smiling and waving; they respond
with grins and greetings.
As I am getting up from my meal,
the boss crosses the floor
and we shake hands.
“Happy New Year,” we say.
“See you next year.”

(31 December 2012; amended 02 January 2013)


Ouyang Yu (born 1955) is a contemporary Chinese-Australian author, translator and academic.

Ouyang Yu was born in the People’s Republic of China, arriving in Australia in 1991 to study for a Ph. D. at La Trobe University which he completed in 1995. Since then his literary output has been prodigious. Apart from several collections of poetry and a novel he has translated authors as diverse as Christina Stead, Xavier Herbert, Germaine Greer and David Malouf among others. He also edits Otherland, which is a bilingual English-Chinese literary journal. (Wikipedia)


Ouyang Yu. 2012. Loose : A wild history. Adelaide, SA: Wakefield Press.

“The novel combines fiction with non-fiction, poetry with literary criticism, diary with life writing, with multiple stories weaving in between, told from different points of view by different characters.” (Wakefield Press)

One thought on “On New Year’s Eve

  1. Pingback: Yet to be proven « cross-ties

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