Hug Day 2018: Hug Me Like A Koala Hugs 나무

“Hug me like a koala hugs 나무 (tree).”
Celeste Koh
“I just hugged you in my thoughts… Hope you felt the squeeze!”


I actually had this idea very early in time, like a few months before Hug Day in December. One day, while commuting on the train, I suddenly had an idea to do a bear hug theme for this year’s Hug Day. Last year’s Hug Day theme was about Baymax, a robot hugging a cactus (see my last year’s Hug Day artwork at Hug Day 2017: Endure All The Pain Just To Be With You). Then, I was like, how about a koala bear hugging a tree?! That would be such a great idea! Because I had given myself a Korean nickname “나무” which means tree. So I were a tree, then Taenggu could be a koala bear hugging me! Delighted, I jotted this idea down somewhere privately in my notes.

A few months later, when Hug Day was round the corner, it had already slipped off my mind that I had wanted to do specifically a koala bear hug. What I still remembered was I wanted to do a bear hug. So what I initially thought I would do was a piece of paper art of a bear hugging a bunny, which is actually quite expected and nothing new between me and Taenggu since I have been saying it many times – if Taenggu were a bunny to me, then I would be a bear to her.

Fortunately enough, before I even started working on the paper art, I happened to flip through my notes again and saw that old idea that had been silently sitting in there and waiting for me to get back to it when the time was right – a koala hug, oh yes, that was the exact idea that I originally planned for Hug Day! So that was what I did. I found some free time just the night before Hug Day to make this.

In fact, I actually had more than 1 idea for this year’s Hug Day. On that same day last week when I was surrounded by lots of good energy at Causeway Point to gather materials and references to make Yuri’s dreamcatcher earrings (see related post: For Yuri: Into Yul 2018 – Dreams Come True), I passed by a shop that sells tote bags and saw this.

One of the tote bag designs I saw at Causeway Point the other day

Ahh, this is soooo suitable for Hug Day too! It would be a great idea if I could remake this cute porcupine/hedgehog cartoon design into a paper art as well! Feeling ambitious, I thought maybe I could do two versions of Hug Day artworks this year. Koala hug for version 1 and hedgehog hug for version 2. But later on when I thought about it seriously, I decided that maybe I shouldn’t overdo it. What’s more, the hedgehog hug idea wasn’t actually mine, I would end up merely copying someone else’s idea. Also taking into considerations the extra time and effort required to make a version 2, I forewent the hedgehog hug idea in the end. But I can’t deny that I actually liked the hedgehog hug idea personally too!

So here it is, presenting you the original idea from Celeste and the final one and only version for this year’s Hug Day artwork – THE KOALA HUG.

I posted my artwork on instagram on the morning of Hug Day.

That afternoon, I went out for lunch near my office. I was standing at the traffic light waiting to cross the road at the pedestrian crossing. The sun was shining so brightly on my face that I couldn’t open my eyes. So I simply closed my eyes to enjoy the sunshine and soak myself into the moment for a minute. A picture of a koala appeared in my mind then slowly turned into a grey rabbit. Then came an image of Taenggu inside of me and her voice, “나야 (It’s me)!” I was so overwhelmed with happiness to hear Taenggu’s voice for a long time in a while. I opened my eyes with a smile and saw a green light. I began to cross the road. “BEEEEP!” came a loud honk as a car drove past in front of me. I was jolted awake and I looked carefully at the traffic lights again. It was still a red man. The green light I thought I saw earlier on was for cars. I quickly walked back to the pavement to safety. “Shit, almost dead.” I said half-jokingly under my breath. Yeah I was lucky. I almost got into an accident because I had been distracted by the sweetness of the vision/hallucination I had earlier on.

Besides the vision I had, there was also a song that came playing mysteriously in my mind out of nowhere and I happily sang along too. It was the song called “I Love You” from the American children’s television series “Barney & Friends”.

I love you
You love me
We’re a happy family
With a great big hug
And a kiss from me to you
Won’t you say you love me too

Yes, with a great big hug, I wished Taenggu was able to spend the winter more warmly on this special Hug Day. Did you feel the squeeze when I hugged you (my Bobo) while you were having your concert in Manila that night?

I love you. *hugs myself*

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