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Substitute for a silent mouth of sorrow by Mui-Ling Teh

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Substitute for a silent mouth of sorrow by 


Self-portrait.

There was once a day during my internship in Japan when a co-worker came to me and said she had to leave because her grandmother had just passed away. Though my Japanese was okay, I was not familiar enough with the custom to know what to say, and I was not the best with words anyhow; even in English it is hard to know what to say in such circumstances. I said to her “cheer-up” but that was it, and she had to leave so that left little time for comforting.

I thought about buying her flowers or making origami roses to give her upon her return, but I wasn’t sure if giving paper flowers would be inappropriate. So I asked my mother’s opinion and questioned whether there were certain colors or types of flowers that are more appropriate for such occasions, or things I should avoid. She said in Japan they would use white for this kind of case, and if I could make white lilies it would be appropriate. So that is what I did, and I gave the paper lilies to my co-worker when she returned. So in the end, though my words could not come through, my sorrow was expressed.

My lips disappears in the back while the lilies light up brightly in front. My mouth is closed and silent, but the lilies made by my hands bloom a thousand words.

Taken with an Olympus FE-220 on July 14, 2008

views: 1000+

This piece has been featured in:
Colour Me a Rainbow
Light in the Darkness
Mourning
All Glorious Lilies

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Copyright notice:

© Mui-Ling Teh. All rights reserved.

MY IMAGES MAY NOT BE USED OR PUBLISHED ANYWHERE ELSE WITHOUT MY PERMISSION.

My art and writing do not belong to the public domain. Materials may not be reproduced, uploaded, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, copied, edited or published in any form or by any means without my permission. Any site using my images against my conditions have not sought proper permission and should be reported or brought to my attention immediately.

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Tags

death, feeling, self portrait face lips, japan, japanese origami, lily flower folding, mui ling teh, muiling flowers, passed away, words, white paper lilies, emotion, evoke, evocative

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Mui-Ling Teh – Art and Words from the Heart

© Copyright Mui-Ling Teh. All rights reserved. My art and writing do not belong to the public domain. Materials may not be reproduced, uploaded, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, copied, edited or published in any form or by any means without my written permission.

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Comments

  • Bev Woodman
    Bev Woodmanabout 6 years ago

    What a wonderful story and the picture now comes to life – thank you for sharing

  • Tahnja
    Tahnjaabout 6 years ago

    speechless beauty and powerful sentiment Mui Ling

  • butchart
    butchartabout 6 years ago

    what a beautiful gesture of support mlt….and you are right… sometimes there a just now words…. but you found a way……………… good on you…………b

  • Tara Johnson
    Tara Johnsonabout 6 years ago

    Spectacular image Mui-Ling!!!!!!!! Love it!!!! Words also great!!!

  • Midori Furze
    Midori Furzeabout 6 years ago

    Beautiful, Mui-Ling!!!
    Lots of loooooooooove and hugs!

  • Thank you Midori :)))

    – Mui-Ling Teh

  • linaji
    linajiabout 6 years ago

    My mouth is closed and silent, but the lilies made by my hands bloom a thousand words.
    your magic hands so full of expressive love.. wow you are so darn cool.

  • Thanks Lina. Yesterday I was trying to videotape myself folding a 5×5mm crane, but was of no success. I came to realize that I will definately need someone’s help. I’m always folding either in the air or on the surface so the camera would have to follow my hands. I’ll be lucky if there is anyone available to help me and who cam videotape well enough (during the time I was trying to tape myself I had to put a magnifying glass infront of the camera lens – would be more conveniant to find someone else with a better camera though.)

    – Mui-Ling Teh

  • kazcook1972
    kazcook1972about 6 years ago

    Wonderful story Mui-Ling. It’s very hard to know what to say when someone passes away, but the origami lilies were a perfect expression of your sorrow. So very beautiful.

  • Thank you Karen, for your understanding and thoughtful comment.

    – Mui-Ling Teh

  • cherylc1
    cherylc1about 6 years ago

    just gorgeous!!!

  • Thank you so much Cheryl :D

    – Mui-Ling Teh

  • Dayonda
    Dayondaabout 6 years ago

    I know she was touched, and that she realized your heart understood hers when you gave her these. They’re really beautiful.

    The imagry in your photo tells the story and speaks more words than any of us could bring to mind.

    You mother has a fine daughter. Please tell her so from Kiwi-san and myself, his wife.

  • Thank you Dayonda! Please send my regards to Kiwi-san, tell him I say “yoroshiku”. My mother also told me to say “Goshuuhshoosama-sama” desu when I give the flowers; this is what people say when somebody’s loved one passes away. If I knew that earlier I could have said it just before my co-worker left for the funeral.

    – Mui-Ling Teh

  • pinkyjain
    pinkyjainabout 6 years ago

    Such a wonderful & nice story, nice, too, that you put so much effort into making her feel better. The lilies are gorgeous, and the face outlined in the background is magical

  • Thank you Lisa. I usually don’t take good self-portraits of myself; but this is only half my face so wasn’t as bad lol.

    – Mui-Ling Teh

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