Short Story: The Chopsticks Wizard

the chopsticks wizard

The Chopsticks Wizard is a short story I wrote that’s been published by Kaleidotrope in October, featuring magic, qilin, and environmental change. You can read it here [x], and I hope you like it.

Climate change has been an increasing feature in my work recently, particularly since wildfire season, droughts, and damaging winds have been becoming increasingly more common even where I live in Melbourne. It’s incredibly frustrating to live in a country run by a conservative government of climate change deniers, who don’t believe the Great Barrier Reef is dying, who have given earmarked funds for saving the Reef to dodgy companies. It’s hard to imagine all the problems Australia has to deal with and yet ignores, or exacerbates. Opening one of the world’s biggest coal mines with the Adani Carmichael project? Check. Cutting down trees sacred to the Djab Wurrung people to build a highway? Check. Remember when that Greens MP set a river on fire to highlight the dangers of fracking? Still an issue, even though it went viral:

When the nominally centre-left Labor party lost to the confusingly-named conservative Liberal party this year possibly because they alienated a coal-loving sector of Australia with their climate change plan, I was depressed. It’s resulted in Labor backtracking on coal, a frustrating outcome. There’s no other major party in the country, and the Greens can complain on the Guardian but they sadly don’t get much traction when the elections roll around.

The massive climate change school strike in Australia did give me hope. Hundreds and thousands of people showed up, and the Aussie kids’ demands showed they at least understood the stakes – and the issues, demanding that the government provide coal workers with training to transition to renewable jobs. I like to believe we can turn this ship around. In Singapore, where I grew up, the government has noted that it’d need to spend $100billion on climate change measures. A Climate Change Plan was launched in 2016, and this year’s budget looked at preparing for climate change in the long term, including Zero Waste initiatives. I’m surprised that other countries aren’t doing the same. Maybe it’s because Singapore is a tiny, wealthy, highly literate island country that stands to either disappear when the water rises or become uninhabitable due to its high humidity if the global temp rises a few degrees. Here’s to hoping other countries come to their senses. Including the one I live in.

Whew, that was quite a rant. Back to the story. I’m grateful to Kaleidotrope for giving this rather odd short story a home. It isn’t just about belonging and finding your place in the world, it’s about solving environmental problems by respecting the environment, all of which are issues that are very personal to me. As with every new story, I’m a little scared to see it take its first baby steps into the wild – a little voice in my head always tells me that everyone is going to hate it – but I loved writing this story, and I hope you love reading it too.

Stats for The Chopsticks Wizard

Submitted: Feb 16 2018
Acceptance and Contract: May 8 2018
Revisions: 13 Sep 2019
Final draft approved: 17 Sep 2019
Published: 2 Oct 2019