Umbrella Revolution Wall 2014

Umbrella Revolution Wall 2014
Admiralty, Umbrella Revolution 2014

Thursday, April 23, 2009

One Year in Mui Wo

I moved to Mui Wo exactly one year ago today. Spent the night in the airport hotel after an awful flight with Stephen, Keohi, Dad, tons of luggage and a broken stroller. Wow. Can't believe it's been a year.


It's been quite a year. So yeah, now this is home. A little former fishing village on the South China Sea, getting mowed down by a new road and the development of the bog. I am definitely experiencing the last part of rural Hong Kong.

A new era...

Weird tales from Mui Wo...

Hear about the 30 year old married to the 70 year old who cheats on her?

How's about the woman who watches the baby all night, is up chopping garlic by 5AM, off work at 11PM, and does everything from haul industrial waste to overseeing tenant complaints to raising your kids?

What about the guy who hits on village women when the husbands and partners are off at work?

What about the old lady who counts the mangos on her trees to make sure that none are picked by her tenants that rent the land that the tree is on?

What about the person who goes around asking if everyone and anyone is a BELIEVER (in what I am not sure, but clearly, my puzzled look did not do anything to quell her consternation)

Intrigued? Yep...Life in Mui Wo...Population 3000? It's all here...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Haiku in Praise of the Child Tax Credit by Renee Simms

Every day I'm tired
wiping butts, cooking, fussing
Refund earned, damnit

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Possession by A.S. Byatt

Reading this book.

Wow. A fantastic read. I highly recommend it. Won the Booker prize in the early 90s. She's the sister of Margaret Drabble. No comparison (well based on the one Drabble book I tried). Byatt is a far superior writer.

Keohi threw his bottle of water last night, in an indirect sort-of-way; I was the target. I've promised him a bike once he's fully weaned. He's almost there. I think he wants a purple one. We went swimming last night in the Mui Wo pool. He kept trying to break away and said NO HOLD MOMMY and swim toward the lap swimmer and GO TO BIG KIDS. Water is cold but feels nice. Summer is here...

OBGB (Our Beloved Green Bog) is truly devastated. The mangrove is dying, the river diverted, the diversion itself is ugly and awful. Not only is it an environmental disaster, but what they did build is a complete architectural eyesore. The grand sweep of green outside my window is now littered with trucks and diggers, dust flying and withering trees.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Duck, Duck Goose by Tad Hills

Keohi has been requesting that I read this book at least once a day.
Duck, Duck Goose is written by my old friend Tad Hills. A fun tale and excellent bedtime or anytime story. Check it out:

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Recent Milestones, Keohi at 2

So we've had several almost minor revolutions at home, which should greatly improve the quality of my life. Keohi has slept through the night 3x in the last 13-14 days and now seems to only get up once. (Down from a high of 4!!! YIKES.) I think I could write volumes on how disturbed and inefficient one gets with little sleep, how it takes you so long to concentrate, how your productivity goes down etc...and then I'd probably get someone telling me to sleep train him. This, I understand, as I know several whose children slept in only half hour increments for a few months. With that kind of situation one might indeed become a murderer or some other psychotic. You just can't survive on no sleep. But Stephen and I opted not to sleep train.

And so we are both tired.

Make that VERY tired.

Now, had I not read the Bruce Chatwin book The Songlines, during my pregnancy, I wonder if I would have done differently. A great book, for those who haven't read it--more than a travel book about Australia, it's about the origins of our behavior and poses and frames interesting ideas about the nature of who we are as people. Anyway, Chatwin discusses primal fears, if there are any, of survival and being potentially devoured by a predator. So, if a baby cries out in fear, it knows that its mother will answer, return to the cave, and save it from the jaws of some great animal. But if it thinks that there is no chance that the mother will return to save it, it will cease crying, and instead become silent. It will disguise itself in hopes that the predator will not be able to find him/her, and use silence as a type of camouflage. Silence, then, means one is without hope of another, one must make oneself invisible to survive, using one's own instinct (if there is any at all, which I believe there is none, except for suckling, so perhaps this shoots Chatwin's theory down) and resources. Trust in the pack and group ceases. One is out for oneself. To continue, Chatwin points out that babies in groups in hospitals, displayed for everyone's visual consumption have often ceased to cry. They are silent. The reason? They know that no one will come to their aid.

So this book greatly influenced our choice not to sleep train Keohi. So yeah, he has no fears that a predator will devour him and has never been trained into silence. And I do wonder if this is why he faired so poorly at his one month in daycare. The woman, who was very nice, I add, said he didn't sleep, he just sat silently crying or crying all day long. Waiting. This was at 11 months. So I guess he never got into the silent thing. But god, am I wiped from this...a few weeks ago I was going crazy from lack of sleep. It gets to you after 2 plus years.

But he is happy. And I don't buy that bad baby stuff. And, to add, I don't think that there is anything wrong with doing whatever it is you need to do to get through the day. A sleepy family is often really dysfunctional too. Again, it's about personal choices.

As Stephen and I both say, it's all about industrializing your family so that you are better able to function in the wheel of commerce and capitalism. That ultimately, is always our question we have--how much does one try to make a human being fit a certain type of society...and what is that society? How does one equip an individual to survive the melting in 30 years of the Arctic, water shortages on an international level, capitalist consumption gone wild, and the devastation of the planet? How does one make sure that one's progeny, by existence as a Westerner with a high standard of living, a ridiculous consumer of natural resources, be an individual who will contribute to the alleviation of the world's woes instead of adding to them? How does one ensure that a child will be open-minded instead of bigoted? Tolerant and passionate rather than close-minded and indifferent?

Funny, but on the playground I can already see the makings of perfectly awful human beings. You can see a 6 year old and think, unless there is some drastic change, this kid will be a total jerk. The kind of guy who will make everyone miserable. The kind of guy who is a misery. Yeah, you can see it.

Anyway, the 2nd milestone is that thanks to a great book by Alona Frankel called Once Upon a Potty, Keohi has been on it 4x and has probably flushed gallons of fresh water down the toilet with his obsession with the "silver button." Kath brought the book for him from the US. In the UK, he reported seeing the "ghost on toilet." I liked that. Ghost as Potty Instructor.

The 3rd milestone is that he is asleep in his own Lamby Bed (a little white number from Ikea with two sheep on the headboard). Of course, mom is on the floor on a mattress, but we are getting there. Lamby is also the stuffed animal he totes around with his green neh-neh blanket.

Add to this the 4th of the weaning slowly happening. I made it to 2 years, per the advice of two pediatricians before moving here to HK and according to the WHO guidelines. So it's time. These days he's been telling me NEH NEH BROKE. BROKEN. GO FIX NEH NEH. GO TO MR. MOK FIX NEH NEH. In short, he's asking me to go to the downtown Mui Wo electric appliance store and ask Mr. Mok, the owner, who has sold us our washing machine and fixed various things in our house and replaced Keohi's toy batteries, to fix my breasts.

I think about pack animals a lot. How animals, mammals are used to functioning in groups, eating, sleeping, and traveling together. Modern life divorces us from the animal side of our lives. I understand it, it makes sense, but it is a very short time that we have been like this if you look at the span of time we have been (as homo sapiens) on this planet.

On that note, off to go and hunt down some berries, kill a kangaroo, and eat some seeds and bugs...

Friday, April 3, 2009

Foreign Tongue by Vanina Marsot

My friend Vanina's book is coming out this month:

Check it out! It's called Foreign Tongue and is about an American woman (dual citizen of France) who runs off to Paris and discovers life, love, and herself. A page turner!

Dad on Fox News LA-local

Hey everyone--

I'm sure you've heard. But just in case, click this link to see Dad (Dr. Tai-June Yoo) on Fox News LA.