Umbrella Revolution Wall 2014

Umbrella Revolution Wall 2014
Admiralty, Umbrella Revolution 2014

Friday, December 19, 2008

More on our OBGB (Our Beloved Green Bog)

Went to the Island District Municipal Office today to get a copy of the ordinance that approved this horrific new drainage system.

There was a bit of beating around the bush about handing it over, but it was the law, as I told them, to provide a copy upon request (the requester paying for the copying) so it was given.

Huge walls of loose rock that will be encased in wires like the walls in the back beyond our yard diverting the stream towards the mountain will be doing the same right off our bike path. Awful.

So the noise is constant. Stephen picked out this place, Mui Wo, because it was one of the few places that didn't have constant construction, unlike the rest of HK. HK suffers from severe levels of noise pollution. But now, all day long the sounds of trucks and rubble, of drills and cranes and all types of equipment necessary to destroy the earth can be heard. The first loud drilling was so sudden that Keohi cried and ran to find me. That's how loud it is, or maybe, that's how unnatural the sound is.

Burnt out from the Grand Cookie Baking Marathon last night that commenced at 11AM and went for 12 hours. Oatmeal raisin cookies, chocolate chip, Russian teaballs, and chocolate cheesecake brownies were distributed to the bike shop, the grocery store manager (who kindly dealt with the eggs that Keohi had grabbed out of the carton and threw on the ground), Stephen's office, and some neighbors. Most went back with C to the Philippines to give to her family. I was doing a lot of conversion from grams to ounces and some intense fraction work. I am glad that I had some good elementary school instruction. What do you do if you only know how to use a calculator? I admit, I had to do a lot of conversion on paper because I couldn't be bothered to boot up the computer and then couldn't find the calculator and it didn't seem to be a big deal. Then when it turned out I had to do more math than I thought, I became more determined to do it in my head or on a piece of paper.

I am only now realizing what an intense year 2008 has been. If you would have told me that I would be living in a tiny village in HK a few years ago I definitely would never have believed it. The moral is you never know what life will throw you and you never can be too sure of where you will end up geographically. Or maybe this is just the case if you're married to someone like Stephen...:)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Another Thing About Our Beloved Green Bog

It's not just that OBGB (Our Beloved Green Bog) will be ugly with concrete (pictures to soon follow) but doing this development and supposed flood drainage system will destroy the entire eco-system that is there. All plant and animal life.

Recently, there was large outcry in HK's Clearwater Bay. In this area of HK there was an older building on the beach that will now be destroyed making way for a standard concrete shopping plaza with McDonald's. This artificial rec area will destroy about 200 native species of plant and wildlife.

About Cars and Fashion

Did you ever notice how the people who had the absolutely huge, large, and most gas guzzling SUVs ran out and got Prius cars as soon as they hit the market? This is not the people who were given the old SUV, or who had a smaller one, or had some used fleabitten version, or who actually camped or hauled stuff around. I'm talking about people who just drove monstrous cars because the gas was cheap.

Most people do things for fashion. No analytical thinking. No ability to understand cause and effect.

Yep, basic stuff.

The good thing about this new administration is that it is now fashionable to rethink our place in the world. Our level of consumption. Our environment.

Ahhh, the lovely sound of helicoptors above.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Flu Season and Our Beloved Bog

We are all recovering from the flu—an unpleasant several day of bodily fluids and excretions, the highlight being Keohi’s projectile vomiting on the ferry pulling into Mui Wo from our day out in Central on Sunday.

He was feeling a bit under the weather Saturday night and while he was very active, was not quite as uncontrollable and prone to yes, listening now and then, a sure indication that he was not himself. This did not stop him from pummeling me on the head with his red wooden bead the other day while I was trying to have a nap in the corner of the bed, to the point where Stephen had to even say in the most stern voice I’ve ever heard him use with Keohi: “NO! STOP THAT!” as Keohi had managed to get in several good whacks and I had cried out in surprise and a certain amount of pain.

I’m wondering about this “Don’t say NO” stuff. Within about 5 minutes today, Keohi managed to run out the door and proceeded to kick the plastic square bucket that serves as the abode of our landlord’s poor turtle (a bleak solitary existence, the poor turtle’s only companions a brick and a small pebble that Keohi had thrown in the bucket—its lucky brethren had escaped during the summer rains which had flooded the larger turtle tank its former residence, the overflow allowing them freedom to paddle away). After being told NO by yours truly to stop kicking the turtle’s home, he then proceeded to grab the handle of a plastic pot in a bucket of water and pour a quart of water on the cactus. If that wasn’t enough, he ran and tried to grab our landlord’s broom by his rusted steel pick and hoe (toddler parent nightmare), and then grab the white stones that our landlord had surrounded his plants with and walk away with two. This would not be so bad if Keohi had literally not taken dozens of the landlord’s stones (we had warned the guy) and thrown them in the gutter and all over the yard. Keohi, of course, did not comply when I asked him to return the rocks and then proceeded to throw one (heavy) a good distance on the front lawn. Then there was the fit (about 2 minutes later) after he ran out the iron gate (he now knows how to open it) when I told him he could not visit his friend Isabella and had to grab his shoulder as one of those three wheeled motorized tractors that move various odds and ends and barrel down the bike path was heading his way.

Never mind the fast charge directly towards the big pile of cow pies on the walk we took prior. I screamed COW POO. COW POO POO. NO NO NO. That seemed to halt it. He has some remote understanding that this was not so desirable but still seemed to want to give the pile a kick, so I had to pretend to walk away. He followed.

I took Keohi late last summer to a party and his antics were greeted with the friendly comment: “Oh, he’s very ACTIVE and ATHLETIC.” I’m thinking some testosterone must have kicked in because he is now beyond active.

It’s been a bit of a personality switch or blossoming, I think. He went from being this 16 month old who was shocked and who cried when a toy was taken from him in a playgroup, and who said BOO BOO when a little girl hit his arm, to the regular thug who has to be watched as he has a tendency to smack his best mates. The more he likes someone, the more he wants to hit him or her. I caught him last week standing over his dear friend Isabella with his orange wooden bead about to hit her and had to yell: KEOHI. He looked at me and then tried to kiss her instead.

Christmas is Coming

And we are eating Lebanese food. I’m getting the nearby helper who previously worked in Lebanon to come and show us how to make some food and do this up on Xmas day. Should be fun. No other plans. Stephen will be able to take a few days off, so we can have some time together. His hours are so long it will hopefully allow us some kickback family time.

Keohi’s big gift that was really MY new gift is a new stroller. Our new gift is a king size bed. Given the size of a HK apartment it takes up more than half the room.

The Devastation of Mui Wo’s Villages

Yep, sure enough, our little village Luk Tei Tong is being mowed over by some greedy developer or government project. When we moved here, our bike path cut through a green bog. Now one side of the green bog is being developed to divert a stream and create a circa 1940s awful ugly concrete project that will supposedly avert flooding.

Well first of all, we live on a flood plain. This was an area that was previously farmed, at the foot of rather big hills or mountains and there is no reason to try to alter this geological reality. But that’s logic. Apparently, people were shocked and horrified that there was so much flooding here. WHAT DO YOU THINK WILL HAPPEN ON A FLOOD PLAIN? Quit trying to defy nature! Accept that once every so many years, this place will flood. And don’t build your house on it. And don’t buy a house on it without it being properly raised. C’mon people. The other side is that some guy in the village rumor has it, has all the contracts and is making this terrible ugly mess, so now our beautiful green pastoral bog is now going to be a concrete road and river bed. UGLY UGLY UGLY like the one behind this village. On top of that, all of the construction waste is running down and polluting the stream which is inviting people like our landlord to dump his home renovation crap outside in the same area right beyond the garden wall. The plans will be to do this first. Then, our guess is that within a matter of years many homes will be erected and our lovely valley village will be yet another ugly HK concrete block with no thought to the preservation of anything. I predict too, that the waterfront, with its underdeveloped hotel areas, its cheap restaurants and food markets will become a place of high rises and shopping malls within my lifetime too. The sleepy village of Mui Wo will be no more.

But the majority of the Lantau locals remain oblivious, perhaps inured to this idea, and ultimately, they must step in. A great many of the environmental protests and outcry and pleas to preserve the green parks of HK are often due to the voice of the expatriate community, who do so a strong value in preserving the green area and maybe are not so enamored with an idea of construction and development and don’t see it as a sign of progress and enlightenment.

Apparently on Peng Chau, the site of a proposed radio transmission tower has been objected to by many, but now, all the literature about this project is no longer available in English. No doubt this is due to the petition circulated by people like my friend Daniela, a British longtime local HK resident. She had to request the English translation for the most recent information about this project. Since HK is officially a bilingual town, all government documents must be posted in both English and Chinese.

Further Environmental Damage: The Poor Cows

The herd of 8 is now down to 4. They are culling them. Soon there won’t be any left. We saw a lone water buffalo, probably looking for its herd, so it seemed to have joined up with the regular cows. Now though, it looks as if there are just 4 cows—3 cows really, and one calf.

That’s it…for now…

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Vocab Expansion

Okay, so Keohi is saying BAMA and pointing at Obama. And then saying BAMA BABY and pointing at Obama's kids. I put the campaign leaflets at his eye level on the fridge. But the thing is now he points to the TV and says BAMA...and has done so when seeing other TVs so he thinks, I believe, that TV is called BAMA.

This is not so bad, I suppose.

Prepping some lessons for teachers.

I am very disturbed by the heavy construction, the digging going on nearby. The one side of the bog opposite our bog now has a huge road going through it connecting the two villages, and there will be some big waterway or drainage system that will of course, disturb the local ecology.

I read a headline that the US refuses to sign an agreement to not use cluster bombs. I didn't click through the article. The headline was terrible enough. Cluster bombs are truly evil.