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    By April Tse (Hong Kong) 文:谢皓婷(香港) T he pandemic has caused many people to feel a great sense of unease, but social distancing has made seeking solace from outside difficult. Fortunately, Hong Kong comic artist Bigsoil has published If We Don’t Give Up with Ichiban, offering readers comfort through beautiful illustrations of this city. Cheering Readers On The White Bear and the Boy are the most popular characters of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s graphic design graduate. Bigsoil reveals that as the only child, he used to play alone by acting out different roles. This eventually led to the creation of his illustrated world. To some extent, the Boy has become Bigsoil’s vehicle to contemplate larger ideas like the absurdity of life and the unfairness of the world. The White Bear is the Boy’s saviour. As he continued drawing, Bigsoil discovered that each character reflects himself in some way. Even more remarkably, readers seemed to be able to find their own voices in them too. In this difficult time when waves of bad news have resulted in all kinds of negative emotions, Bigsoil hopes that this book can be like a friend to its readers, keeping them company and providing an outlet for their emotions. “Don’t Say ‘Hang in There’” We understand the importance of companionship when facing the challenges of city living, but how can one offer encouragement correctly? The “Don’t Say ‘Hang in There’” chapter offers this word of caution: “I can usually face bad situations in life on my own. I am only afraid that others presume that by giving superficial encouragement, they have done their part to help.” Let us put ourselves in the shoes of those feeling down, as careless encouragement will only make them feel even more uncomfortable. The White Bear becomes the Boy’s confidant because he holds up an umbrella when it rains, hugs the Boy when he sheds tears, and quietly keeps him company when the Boy encounters difficulties. These actions seem insignificant but are enough to rekindle hope in others. Feeling the Beauty of Life Bigsoil titled this book If We Don’t Give Up with the intention of comforting this city and the people within. As long as our lives are not over, we can still look forward to what the future has in store for us. A few years ago, Bigsoil came down with a serious illness. The long treatment process brought along pain and suffering, but it also had a sobering effect. He remembers discovering the beauty of 20 - popularnews 131 

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