Overwhelmed student turns tears into weapons with unique tear gun

Loneliness, fear and sadness - these are emotions overseas students are all too familiar with. Thrown into a world where everything is foreign, such darkness can overwhelm young students, causing them to feel helpless and break down in despair.

But that doesn't mean that they have to let their fears stop them from achieving great things.

Taiwanese designer Yi-Fei Chen, a Master's programme student at Design Academy Eindhoven in Netherlands, was so defeated by her circumstances that she even broke down and cried during a midterm presentation.

Design magazine website Dezeen reported that Chen was under pressure as the learning culture at the European institution was drastically different from what she was used to back home.

She had grown up learning to respect authority and follow instructions in Taiwan, and could not adapt to the outspoken nature of students in her host country. As a result, she was unable to voice her thoughts and became misunderstood by her tutors.

Yet, instead of letting the negative emotions defeat her, Chen decided to incorporate the experience in her art.

For her graduation project, the designer conceptualised a one-of-a-kind weapon that would turn her weakness into strength.

The result was a sleek brass gun which is loaded as its user cries into a mask. The tears are then frozen and can be fired with a simple pull of the trigger.

Video: Tear Gun from Yen-An Chen on Vimeo.

The beautiful design of Chen's tear gun and its message of empowerment earned her the praise of many who saw her work at the Design Academy Eindhoven graduate exhibition last week.

Her unique tear gun has since been featured on design websites such has Dezeen and Inhabitat, and Dutch newspaper NRC Weekend.

Whoever said crying was a sign of weakness?

ljessica@sph.com.sg