The short: Puppy= Xiao gou 小狗
was my pen name when I submitted comic strips to the papers in my teens,
52 looked like a heart shape so the meaning = puppy love.
The picture above is the scan of the cover of my first book, drawn in my late 16, published when I was around 17 years old. It was entitled “from puppy with love” and designed such that to look as if it says “Puppy Love”. It was my first attempt to draw something that over 100 pages, and there is countless mistakes in it which I am embarrassed to mention!
I’m not very proud of the standard of my work inside, but I am still to date thankful for the chance to have it published at my tender teenage years. I must also thank the countless people who helped me made it possible then, it was definitely an experience of a lifetime!
When I was a kid, I really loved dogs, my first home was not the tall apartment flats we see so much in Singapore, so we got to keep dogs and some other livestock until I was about 6-7 years old. I was very lucky to have been able to live among the sparse nature in Singapore back then. I guess the dogs gave me a lot of fond memories about my childhood.
Fast forward, I was about 13 years old, and started submitting my very childish and ugly sketches to a student paper, I kinda forgot about them until one day I realized that my art was published. Over time I started to send in more comic strips and felt I needed a pen name. I guess at the time I did not realize female puppies will grow up to become Bitches, so I decided on “xiao gou/ 小狗” Translated to Small dog or Puppy.
At around 18, I discovered the world of the dial up internet, I needed a nick name, and picked puppy52 since 52 is a pager code, which supposedly looked like a heart shape.
Back to the book, I flipped opened it nostalgically, to read the “foreword” I harassed my mentor to write for me. I dare say I did not pick the wrong person to write it (Even tho I have to agree with my mentor that a foreword is not necessary in a comic book LOL) to date I think the foreword is probably the best page in the book!
Here is the scanned foreword in Mandarin:
Hopefully this won’t seem a little too self centered, but I did a quick translation (not the best) in English for those who are curious about it:
The day Puppy called and wanted me to write a “foreword”, I was surprised, why would a comic book need a “foreword”? Thinking back and forth, I thought maybe I should write about the “person” I know, rather than a supposed “foreword”.
This person is of course Puppy (xiao gou/ 小狗).
While hanging out with her, the feeling is amusement, most of the time when you’re unaware, she will give you a surprise/shock.
The first time I chatted with her, felt that the eyes behind the glasses are very “manga (comic)”, evidently the eyes are as huge as lemons, but her gaze is always shifty, unable to focus on the face of the person she was looking at!
After knowing her a little better, she seems to be able to look straight at you, but you would feel that her gaze is somewhat tearful and wavering?!
Later on I realized, her eyes are actually pretty sharp, they remember the things she sees. Example, this comic book there’s a few pages where there’s a dog in the scene, Puppy says she doesn’t have any references, mostly are drawn from memory!
Puppy used to wish that I would lend her a set of comics, but she would emphasis more than once that I need to wait until she was 18 years old before I could lend it to her! (She was 15 years old at the time, hold old is she now? You ask her yourself.)
Because she said that that set of comics has some rather R(A) scenes, she is underage, can’t read it! Actually that set of comics you can buy it on the market without any problem.
You see, in her heart there is actually a form of “censorship” a very strict one too, “REALLY” exciting.
Puppy probably have a lot of “Pig and dog friends” (a Chinese idiom, usually referring to “bad company” but can be used in a humorous manner) — in her comic strips, she often has a “tortoise shell-patch” (a hokkien word) dog. But her catch phrase is often:”PIG—– YOU!” (where Pig is dragged for a longer time)
While you say the catch phrase, you need to open your eyes really wide, like your eyeballs are going to crack thru the lenses of your glasses, mouth is pluckered up, this is Puppy’s comic expression, copyrighted!
Coincidentally, me being born in the year of the Dog, often becomes the “Pig” in her mouth!
This definitely agrees with the saying of “Pig and Dog friends”.
Puppy’s “exciting” bits, also comes from her occasional blur-ness, as aside from school and home, I’m sure she hasn’t been to anywhere further.
Once, we were in a Bubble Tea shop, discussing about this book’s progress, maybe she drank a little bit too much bubble tea, she had to go to the washroom. The strange thing was, the toilet of the particular shop appears to be out of the shop.
After Puppy asked the waitress, she went on the quest for the washroom. As I watched her step out of the doorway, I drank my cup of tea, and asked for another cup, it felt like she had lost her way, and I started to worry if she had fell into the toilet bowl, she finally came back.
After she sat down and we chatted a little longer, she suddenly looked down and acted a little strange, I pressed her for the reasons and she said,” I forgot……”
…. Sorry, Puppy went to the toilet and forgot what… she asked me not to write, you can try to guess, I remember at the time when Puppy finished telling me, I almost drowned in my mouthful of bubble tea, and she kept saying “Pig” non stop.
Come to think of, such an exciting Puppy, her book would have some exciting parts no?
You be the judge okay?
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Thank you gordon for helping me with the script (which I hope I am using correctly!)