Umbrella Revolution Wall 2014

Umbrella Revolution Wall 2014
Admiralty, Umbrella Revolution 2014

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happy Late Thanksgiving

Keohi, C. and I went to my friend Adeline's, a Canadian, for Thanksgiving. Since turkeys don't get to HK until November, even the Canadians do Thanksgiving in November...

Good meal. Started at 9:30PM. Eat and run. Caught the ferry with Stephen -- late, on the 10:30PM.

Menu Turkey--perfect--really really good. They used the NY Times guide.
Garlic mashed potatoes--lots of butter and cream. Nice.
Stuffing
Broccoli salad--made by C. Delicious recipe from my California cousin, a great cook.
Bread--baguettes from City Super
Fresh green beans--with garlic. Nice.
cranberries--Fresh. NOT FROM THE CAN. GOD WILL PEOPLE STOP MAKING IT FROM THE CAN? I mean, it's downright wartime rationing behavior. The canned shape just plop on a plate is such a food downer. Geez. Boil it, cook it, something, please. Get away from the canned stuff!
pies (missed those--sigh)

Adeline and her boyfriend Franklin hosted. Very good food.

Pondering Xmas. Last year we had a Lebanese feast prepared by someone who had lived in Lebanon for 7 years. GREAT.

I'm thinking Indian-Lebanese this year.

Food on my mind...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Drums and Dragons

Drums and Dragons

On the ground
tiny pieces of colored foil
scatter in the light.

Leftovers
from the weekend drums and dragons.
You look for reasons

they have left.
Later the uncles call from the square;
you run to join them.

Cold wind cuts--
small fists grip fast the wooden sticks,
thump the drum's taut skin.

You belong
to a place I can never know
my village boy child.

Your tongue speaks
words I will never understand.
Dreams? Drums and Dragons.

On the edge
you dance to rhythms on concrete
clap with the cymbals.

Here, I watch.
You long for age, movement of time
to join the uncles.

It opens--
what will be a gulf of sorrow
now a bare echo.

Take your place
the dragon calls you, the drums beat.
Go, my son, in time.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

DO NOT EAT AT IKEA

OK. So I was lazy and desperate. C., Keohi and myself had a sad and pathetic lunch at Ikea. THE FOOD IS THE PITS. Not that anyone in his or her right mind should eat there, but god, how terrible. Bad hot dog. Bad soup. Depressing. What a waste of some good calories. Should've walked across the street to Freshness Burger, but tried the Ikea concession. YUCK. In the end Keohi and myself had a bad ice cream cone. The $2 kind. Had that same awful McDonald's taste. Really, a bad meal can really get me down. My intestines felt awful. I came home and ate a big salad and cooked up some homemade macaroni and cheese and felt much better.

Speaking of good food, there was some great food at Isabella's 3rd birthday. I appreciate good food. Well, beyond that really, if it's a bad meal I get depressed, if not foul tempered. WHAT you invite me over for a lousy meal! Forget it! Let's meet at a restaurant. A DECENT ONE. Here in Mui Wo, I eat out mostly at the cooked food market. I'm from California for chrissakes. We have a serious food culture there. There's a lot of bad food going around here in HK. And a lot of people who don't know that they are eating some bad food. And no, drinking lots of alcohol does NOT MAKE FOOD TASTE BETTER.

So back to IKEA.

I'm not sure about Ikea -- how it's come to play such a big part in my life as a place to get stuff. Back in LA, I'd avoid Ikea like the plague. Here, I run to Ikea every few months or so to pick up this or that. A mug. A bathmat. Bought spotlights today for the kitchen. Stephen had such an intense loathing of Ikea that he usually would announce before we went into Ikea: "OK. We're only getting X. And then we're getting out of there. Fast." Usually, once I'm in a browse now and then, here and there, I figure, never hurts. But Stephen usually starts to feel grumpy in about 2 minutes. And the thing too, about Ikea is that usually out of every dozen or so items you may purchase, one is a complete and utter dud. I got a curtain rod there about a year ago and ended up trashing it and heading to the store behind the damn wet market as the Ikea one just kept falling.

To continue with our hum drum day...

Ikea was the usual bed-jumping frenzy. I can't go to Ikea with anyone because Keohi jumps around on the beds. And since I don't like for him to do it in our house, yes, I let him do it on the beds in the store. Doesn't make sense, but he's having such a grand time it's hard to dampen the enthusiasm. He tries out all the beds, pulls up the covers, and pretends to sleep. I think people might hint to me that he shouldn't do that if I actually went with anyone. So usually I prefer to do the Ikea without Keohi, or if it's with Keohi without anyone else. He shouldn't jump on beds. But he'll get over it. I don't think he'll do it when he's 18. Besides. It looks really fun. I feel like jumping on them too so I get a vicarious thrill.

Speaking of food courts. The food court in Tung Chung IS TERRIBLE.

Speaking of 18, Keohi said again, "When I am 18, I can drink coke." It's a recent obsession this coke business. "When I am grown up, I can eat candy." The best was on Saturday when he looked at the cupcakes we brought for Isabella that we made-- chocolate, covered with sprinkles. "LOOK AT THAT JUNK FOOD, Mommy. I WANT JUNK FOOD. Do you want JUNK FOOD?"

At least he knows anything that is bright pink and purple is probably junk food.


Doctor Visits

After the Hep B shot last week we have many conversations about shots and doctors.

"Don't worry, you're fine. It's just a shot," he says.

He then tries to look in my ear with some plastic object--like a film canister. "Do you have an ear confection? I'm being the lady. I'm taking the temperature. I'm the doctor. I am seeing an ear confection."

"Do I have one?" I say.

"No, it's ok. You can have a dumpling now!" He eats Beijing dumplings after every shot session, up the street off Lyndhurst Terrace. "Hooray, dumpling time! AND, you can eat duk too. (rice cakes). You get duk for the shot. Do you need to take pink medicine for the fever?"

"No, I don't have a fever."

"Maybe you need some Hep B shot."

"I don't want a Hep B shot," I say.

"Don't worry. You're fine," he says. "Would you like some duk, please?"

"Oh, thank you," I say, pretending to eat a piece.

"Where is my delicate motorbike?"

"I think you left it on the ferry, remember?"

"We have to ask the man on the ferry about the delicate motorbike. We left it there," he says. "It has a kickstand. Are there panda bears in the bog, Mommy?"

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hiking and Dum Dee

Keohi hiked 1.5 hours yesterday! We biked up to the entrance of the waterfall, parked our bikes, and then climbed up the steep hill. We did the same trail as last week, including the cave stopover and went past the gravesite to the first bench near the top of the mountain. Not bad at all. Stephen had to carry him a few minutes total, but I was impressed that Keohi walked up that steep path. Maybe I have low expectations. After all, if he were a Tibetan or Nepalese child he’d be ascending mountain paths with no problem. Walking miles. Through snow. Something like that…

We greeted the butterflies… “Hello, Black Butterfly” sang Keohi. There are so many here on Lantau that are spectacular. The kind of butterflies I had always imagined as a child in Iowa, but never saw. Iowa has mostly the standard yellow and white moth varieties. I think once I saw a lost Monarch, but not these blue and black and purple patterned butterflies that are here. Mind you, given the development, I’m probably looking at the last of the species, but enjoy it while you can.

There was one crying incident. Stephen yelled “Keohi” when Keohi stuck his head under the bar of the fence over the water. A big dropoff. Keohi cried and Stephen hugged him. You realize that people become inured to yelling and everything else. If you yell a lot, people tune out. If you don’t, they really are very upset when it happens. I don’t remember mom yelling at all. Mostly, it got scary when she got really quiet. That’s when we knew Mom was mad! Stephen told me I’m the same. I yell plenty, but when I am really really mad, I got very very very quiet. Hmmm….

We passed the one lone blackish green pineapple, green bananas (“we have to wait until they are yellow and ripe to pick them” the general recorded answer that Keohi repeats over and over) and the abandoned police station. We hung out at the gravesite and Keohi talked about the ghosts.

I remembered visiting my grandmother’s grave in Korea as a five year old child. I’ve only visited the site a few times in my life. That visit was significant as we were living in Seoul and back then, the graves were a carpeted mound of green. So my cousins and I were running up and down the mound until some uncle yelled at us to stop, probably mad that we were bouncing up and down on his mother’s grave. But in retrospect, it seems a nice thing –- to have your grandchildren laughing on your grave, playing in the sun. The graves have now changed. The site is not even there anymore. Family squabbles and the land taken over by government. Thousands of years of being buried on that mountain and now, no more mountain! Once the land has gone, a family falls. Or maybe, it’s once land prices go up, people get greedy and think about condos, so a family falls…

On the way back down, Keohi sang “Tom, Tom the Piper’s Son” and skipped along down the path, barely touching the ground at times as he jumped down the steps, dangling from my hand gripping his. We went to the second birthday party of the weekend, Oliver’s (Saturday was Isabella’s) and then headed home. Keohi and I then walked to the new white house or The White House, as we call it, and he was a worker man in the dirt. He picked up a shovel, stuck stones in the cement bucket and we both did drilling. He called me The Worker Mommy and he was The Worker Man or The Worker Guy. We made drill sounds against the wall for awhile and then I yelled because he was about to pick up a dead bird and step in some cat poo and then I called it a day. He decides then that he has to drum outside the house by the pile of gravel. Fine. He drums. He biked home, me trailing behind on foot and then—the square!

The Big Dum Dee Guys were out…Dum Dee guys are drummers. Dum Ditty Dum, Ditty Dum Dum Dum. A quotation from a book. So since the BIG Dum Dee guys, out come his drumsticks and red drum, which he carefully places on the side of the temple. He then drums along while the village guys rehearse. Keohi is just dying to join in.

“When I am big, I can play big DUM DEE and be an UNCLE. LIKE A BIG GUY. I can hit the drum with the BIG STICK. I am going to be a dum dee guy. Drum. Big DRUM. BIG BLACK DRUM.”

Mostly, the teens and young men are indifferent. I’m not Chinese. Keohi is not only not Chinese, he’s a blond hapa kid who marches around with a drum and screams at his mother to “BE THE DRAGON, MOMMY.” Keohi does the commands only to me, C. and his father. Everyone else thinks he’s so quiet and sweet. But privately, to us, he’s always yelling and bossing us around. I think the Dum Dee Guys he’s a little weird. He’s really fanatical about them and keeps placing his drum closer and closer to their rehearsal stage. And I sit there looking on, rather amused, clapping now and then to them/Keohi. We’re the strange foreigners all right. I declined Keohi’s command that I be the dragon (usually I run around the living room a little bit up and down and do the dragon dance, but uhm, not in public in the square, sorry), but agreed to do the pretend cymbals stuff for him. So he’s drumming away and I’m doing pretend cymbals.

A good way to end a Sunday…

Friday, November 20, 2009

Toast

"Do you want to make toast?" says Keohi.

"OK, go get the stool," says Mommy.

Keohi brings white plastic IKEA stool from bathroom while Mommy drags out toaster from underneath the sink. This is a particularly unattractive and well-worn appliance, but is able to spit out some toast. Mommy bought this and the equally ugly rice cooker with peach flowers from some old expat for 50HKD--advertised on a sign in the local Wellcome, the supermarket chain.

"Toast, toast, I make toast." He puts in the toast, and presses the button (with some assistance), and waits for the sound. "WAIT FOR THE POPPING SOUND!" he yells.

Toast done. "I'm a cooker," he says to me.

"You're a very good cook," I agree.

Household chores--making banana shakes, unclipping laundry from sock rack, and making toast. Independence looms...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Privacy and Affection

In times of duress, Keohi usually calls for me, but ideas of privacy and affection have now taken hold and are shifting. A few weeks ago, I was hugging him and he looks at Stephen in the doorway and says: "Daddy, can you close the door?" The other day, the same response with a different parent. He had fallen, or maybe was having some other crisis and Stephen was holding him on the bed. I stood in the doorway and Keohi says: "Mommy, can you leave?"

We can now have conversations--words are strung together with adjectives and articles, pronouns correctly used and wow, he's really expressing ideas that show he's becoming a full person. I hear him cry in the other room: "I'm frustrated! I'm frustrated!" And he points to the small plastic bus into which he is trying to shove his large stuffed toys. "It doesn't fit. I can't get it to fit. I'm frustrated."

Today I bike up to him and C. who accompanies him by foot--it's cold, and he's wearing his park with the tufts of brown fake fur around it. Navy blue. The kind of coat the little boys wore when I was kid. He bikes up to meet me on his neon green spider bike with training wheels. "I came to find you. I was worried, Mommy. You weren't there."

I say, "I'm right here. Even when I'm not right here, I'm still thinking about you, right?"

"I was worried," he says, nodding his head. "I want to look for the black dragon in Tai Tei Tong. Do you want to look for the dragon, Mommy?"

"Let's go home and eat something."

"No, I don't want to have tea," says my half-English son. Not sure where he's heard this. Around the 'hood, I think. I never say that, though his friends, most half, if not all English or Australian, do, obviously. "When I'm 18, I can drink Coke," he tells me. "Miss C. drinks Coke," he adds. "And Grandma."

"Mommy does not drink Coke," I say.

No response...we bike home. The wind cuts through our jeans. Winter in Lantau. Keohi, age 2.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Family Time, Life, and Lipstick

Today was a very good hike for a young chap like Keohi. Impressive climb for age 2. We walked up up up, a good 30 minutes up the the mountain on pavement and steps. We ambled by a huge forest spider spinning by the lamp, saw green bananas by the dozens, crab and crayfish and goldfish in a stream by an abandoned police station, and talked of ghosts and gravesites as we looked down and out at the bay hugging South Lantau. Coming down he needed a bit of a lift from ole Dad, but not all the way, and we stopped at the waterfall and did the usual run around the bathroom buildings shaped like a circle. Keohi went one direction and I another and then surprise, we ran into each other and this is wildly entertaining for about 5 minutes. We did this earlier in the week too. This time, Dad was here, so it was the three of us circling about a bit.

Last Sunday was great, a meal spontaneously shared at Pui O beach into the night, drumming circle (Keohi loved that--he's a mad drummer) and running in a green field (littered by water buffalo poo) and watching the amusing set up of Native American style teepee tents in South Lantau. Nice teepees.

There are some Sundays that are nearly perfect. These Sundays must include naps.

For Dad and for Keohi. Today, I joined the family nap, so feel particularly cheery. And I wasn't crowded off the bed. We have a king size bed. But somehow with a 6'2" Stephen and a long legged 2.5 year old who sleeps diagonally, Mommy gets pushed off and often is reduced to closing her eyes on the beige vinyl sofa that came with our apartment--in other words, the most uncomfortable sofa in the world. This sofa was designed NOT to allow anyone to relax. I've even attempted naps on Lamby bed from Ikea with Bubble Sheet and Alphabet Caterpillar. Again, anyone over age 6 would find this most uncomfortable, but hanging perilously on the edge of king size bed with two others who are dead logs often means no sleep anyway. But today was a vertical miracle--we were all lined up vertically. Wow. What a difference good geometric sleep makes.

Sundays are the only day we really have to spend as a family together. Stephen's job takes up 70-80 hours a week. He may be out the door to catch a 7AM ferry, maybe 8:30 if we are lucky, but then he is often not at home until 10PM at night. The other night, Keohi wanted to see him, so he was tired, but I kept him up, biking in the dark, we looked for dragons and drums until nearly 9:30PM. Fridays, when the publication goes to press, Stephen is not home until midnight. So weekdays we may get one meal together as a family, if we are lucky. This week, Keohi did not see Stephen for 3-4 days even though he wasn't out of town. This is Hong Kong and these are the kind of work hours that some people have here. It's brutal for Stephen, and lately Keohi asks where his father is. It's hard on everyone.

We tell him that Daddy is at work to buy you ice cream. This seems to be something he can comprehend more than Daddy works to feed the news wire and the wire never stops. The constant rush for information affects people in a myriad of ways--Keohi does not see his father, but we are fed, clothed, and housed in a worldwide economic meltdown. And everyone gets their news faster. It's more complicated, of course, but on the basic macro level, it boils down to hours, time, human beings.

We head to Tom's later. My English husband and half English son sit together and eat a breakfast plate. The only time Keohi will eat tomatoes--covered with beans and fried, with bits of bacon in his mouth, fed by his doting dad. We read the classic Golden Book on firemen. We eat toasties--ham and cheese, mushroom/tomato/cheese. Dad finishes his latte and Mommy and Keohi head to the supermarket to buy the coveted Girl's FAvorites. Girls Fashion Beauty Set. MADE IN CHINA.

Yes, for 14HKD or 2USD, he gets a plastic pink purse, 3 clips, 2 ponytail holders, a purple comb, and a purple lipstick (fake). This set is not the same one his friend Isabella has with the blow dryer and perfume spray (unfortunately), but it does come with a small compact mirror and the pink purse. Keohi is thrilled. Isabella had shown him how to do blow drying and spray perfume and put on lipstick. He loved the pretend lipstick. Since it was the first time he did not run away when a comb was near him I was keen to buy the set. I'm hoping it might inspire some grooming. Whenever I pull his brush out, or comb, he literally runs across the apartment and it becomes a chase. I confess I am rather apathetic about this. I haven't owned a blow dryer in years. I barely brush my own hair (not today, but it has a nice California bedhead look, I think to myself). Who am I to enforce grooming? But every now and then I feel I have to try, so this is my effort. Purchase some plastic product and hope it inspires some behavioral change. Yes! He loves the purple plastic comb and tries it out. He takes the pink plastic purse and tells me: "This is for wipes." He's seen his friend Bodhi's mom with a plastic case for wipes. He is quite fascinated by plastic cases. This is probably because his mom usually just carries a backpack she got free with stamps from the supermarket with a ziplock bag of his wipes. So boring. He puts lipstick on me. And himself. Since he's seen me do this very rarely, I was surprised he made the connection, but he tells me: "Mommy does this. I'm Mommy."

So his two imitations of Mommy have been pretending to type on the computer and putting on lipstick. Thinking about how we try to encourage our children to imitate and model what they would like to become. But how it's all shaped by gender. I've never seen so many princesses and princess items in my life as I do in this village. Little girls running around in ballet outfits and pretending to be princesses and ballerinas. (I recall I wanted a ballet outfit myself) And why is it that the boys all pretend to be workers (maybe the diggers and construction here) and firemen and police officers?

I was so annoyed with the Xmas toy catalog I saw from Bumps to Babes, the big toystore here. An entire page of pink toys for girls. Pink cars and castles. And then the boys page. Big muscle figurines with black and dark green macabre castles. Horrific. Why do I want my son to play with some steroid induced looking idiot with no neck toy who carries a plastic knife? Why, of course, I would much rather have him play with a pink princess with white blonde hair who would tip over due to the size of her bust and tippy toe toes in high heels! AUGH! Toy nightmares!

Thinking of Keohi entering the rigid world of boys do this and girls do this. It's coming soon. Thinking a lot too about what kind of man he will be and what will help make him a good partner or a good individual when it comes to being egalitarian minded. I've decided it can really boil down to a few things. Men who have the ability to cook, and men who have the ability to clean, and who do both of these things, or have, are usually far more tolerant and open to the reality of women's lives.

So Keohi's started making toast and helps to bake. He takes his plate to the kitchen--we try at least 1-2x a day. And we have started to do tidy-up. He will be a 21st century kind of guy, I hope, a feminist who is tolerant. I realize as a feminist with a son, it is my responsibility to him and to other women too to raise him this way. Hopefully, it works.

Friday, November 13, 2009

I do it BY MYSELF

Picture to follow. Keohi given a huge piece of watermelon. He eats it, very messily, of course, thoroughly relishing every little bite.
"I wash my hands," he announces. He looks at me and starts pointing and wagging his index finger. "No, no, no. I wash my hands. BY MYSELF."
I hear him scramble onto the too high wash basin countertop. The thump against the door. The scrape of the stool against the tile floor. I can barely spit it the sink myself. It's some messed up architectural nightmare. Normally, everything is short and compact here. Made for 19th century heights and diets devoid of anything to increase one's height. In short, (no pun intended) for folks like myself at a towering 5'1". But our sink basin is all off. Now that I've been studying things like sink basin heights, I can tell you that at 39" it is way too high...
So Keohi climbs up, turns on the faucet. Comes down and out of the bathroom.
"I WASH MY HANDS." His face is covered in pink slushy watermelon. His shirt is drenched in juice. But indeed yes, his hands are clean.
"Very nice, Keohi." I'm really pretty happy about this. I wonder if it will translate into using the toilet anytime soon.

Keohi is downright ANTI-TOILET. I've decided, well at least for a while, to let it go, having had his godfather Andrew tell me the story of his son. Apparently he announced one day that he would simply no longer wear diapers, and never did again. This was maybe at 3 years 2 months or so. Keohi can recite the entire book about Joshua and the potty by heart, and frequently does, but used his pink potty as a helmet until very recently.

I try to ask Keohi if he wants to use the toilet. Randomly he does. We've come a long way since last year. Last year he cried last year when he watched his poo go down the toilet. Stephen tried to tell me that it was a part of him that was disappearing down a mysterious hole, that Keohi was attached to his poo. Some other scatalogical psychological whatever. Keohi's feeling about toilets and flushing have since shifted since last summer's scandalous TRAIN DOWN THE DRAIN incident. Flush. Toss. Mom shock. Keohi surprised. Yep, the toilet works. I will not say anymore...but if one should see a small blue cargo car in the Pacific, it's probably from a Mui Wo toilet.

He wants to flush every opportunity he can. Flushing is the motivation behind using the toilet. But mostly, he likes hanging out if someone else is on the toilet and then running over and trying to push his way to the toilet tank and yell: "PRESS THE SILVER BUTTON. I WANT TO PRESS IT."

"No. The only people who get to press it are the ones who do the pee pee in the toilet." I hope this will inspire him to use it.

"Press?"

"No. Mommy will press it. Mommy went to the toilet."

"PRESS." A mad quick press and he laughs and runs out of the room. Who knew that flushing could bring such happiness? It's really hard to be a toilet killjoy.

But pressing the silver button seems to be as far as it goes. I try asking him if he wants to use the toilet. He tells me "NO I GO PEE PEE ON THE LAWN."

"No, how about peeing in the toilet?"

"NO PEE OUTSIDE DOWN THE DRAIN! PEE PEE ON THE TREE. PEE PEE ON THE BED."

"No, not on the bed, not on the tree, not down the drain." I feel like a Dr. Suess book, really.
And so the argument continues.

Then usually later, after running around sans diaper a bit, if it doesn't end up with him peeing on the floor, carpet, bed or whatever, he announces: "I want a disposable, please." Or maybe: "I like the cloth diaper. The disposable is itchy. NO. I do not want to wear undies. Diaper. Just diaper." I figure anyone who can discuss which type of diapers he prefers to wear should be out of diapers. I try asking him if he wants to wear his dinosaur underwear. Nope. He puts on the diaper. "Snuggy. Fix it, please. I have snuggy." He waddles off happily in his diaper.

I'll try again in another month.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The boy and the dragon and the drums...

I think about cultural immersion living here.

Keohi tells me he likes the rugby ball, wants to play cricket, eats chips, not french fries, and says "zed" instead of "Z." I tell him to "bali bali/wiki wiki" (Korean/Hawaiian for hurry-up) and he says "okole" (Hawaiian) for his bum, and "nahbi" (Korean) for butterfly, along with plain ole "butterfly" and now speaks a fair amount of Tagalog. "BAHBAHT, Kong" ("come down, Kong" in Tagalog, he tells his Cantonese only speaking little friend. I sing two Italian art songs to him every night and we read the French version of "A Little Red Hen" in my very bad schoolgirl French. He will go to a Cantonese preschool.

My son is half-British. Half American. Half Korean American via Seoul/Hawaii.

And then, there's the thing about living in a Chinese village. How does this shape him?

Clearly--our Mui Wo Chinese environment is winning out--oh, how he LONGS to DRUM and to do the DRAGON DANCE.

His obsession is drumming and dragons. Good and bad, we live in a fairly traditional village. This means that drum troop is practicing ALL THE TIME. Monday. Saturday. Friday. 2PM. 10PM. 11AM. 6PM....In fact, whenever the guys feel like hauling out those old drums. (Much preferable to our weekend neighbors who do karaoke with the windows open. and have a 3 song repertoire, but that's another story...) And the dragon is pulled out (red, black, or white one, you choose) every festival, weekend, birthday, holiday, store opening etc...

A year ago I had wondered if the drumming tradition was dying. I had seen these older teenage guys, young men, really, in their drumming and dragon outfits after the Dragon Boat Races. And then, a group of really young teens, tweens, who amped up their music system and started doing hip hop. The older guys looked at them. The younger guys seemed determined to prove their worth and that they were doing something different. Innovative. New. And I felt sad about this aspect really, of globalization. Yes, there is this exchange of music. The dancing was good. Kind of like you'd see in LA on the street. Yawn. And probably not that good, really. I thought about the drumming and dragon dance and how it would be replaced by pop songs, mostly insipid, and grumbled, gee, what's so original about that? Boring. It's an adaptation again, rather than a focus on what is truly local to these people. Colonialism. Globalization. Being hip. Being cool. Being Western. It's a mixed thing, really. Good overall. But there is always a local price to pay too for this. You want the latest music and would rather learn all that it involves and forget about the stupid drumming patterns and dragon moves that your grandfather did...boring...So I felt a little sad watching this scene between the two generations. But I realize now, I shouldn't have worried about the drumming and dragon tradition dying, in fact, from what I see, there seems to be a very large base of young people--mostly if not all male, (oh, how I'd love a girl to break the ranks!) who are determined and proud to uphold this drumming and dragon tradition.

Keohi's dream is to be a drummer, a "big guy" that drums in the village square on the weekends, practicing with the dragon and drumming troop. We search for Dum Dees (Dum Ditty Dum--a.k.a drums) everyday; try to see if people are practicing drumming. We look for a glimpse of the dragon troop donning the dragon head and snaking their way around the village. The drums invite wild head shaking and thumping on whatever is in front of Keohi (while drumming there is no air guitar, but that's his other instrument) and often we run back to our house so that he can beat his own drum with the "big kids." My Balinese sash is knotted around the hooks and so he wears the drum slung over his shoulders, steadily thumping with his sticks, looking around to try to join the group of teenage boys who hang and drum in the village, as their fathers, and grandfathers, and great great great grandfathers...and so it goes...have done forever...

When the dragon comes out there's a mixed reaction--Keohi wants to go closer, but he's scared. He steps back. He drums on the sidewalk with his stick. He grabs my hand. "I'm scared. The dragon!" But it's too thrilling to run away. He knows it's real...it is real. It is not a young man. It's a dragon. For real. And when he sees the dragonhead on top of a teen boy wearing a T-shirt, he tells me: "The dragon has a T-shirt."

We go home and he bobs his head up and down and jumps and says: "I'm a dragon. I'm a dragon." I say, "help" and run away from him. He tells me to drum. And then it's my turn to be the dragon. The other day I pulled out a silky navy blue Chinese outfit--pants and a mandarin collar shirt with frogs. I had been meaning to send it to a friend for forever, and it fit him perfectly. Keohi was ecstatic.

"Dragon clothes. Dum Dee clothes. Like a big guy. When I grow up. I'm going to play the big drums. The BIG DRUMS. Let's go look for Dum Dee, Mommy. Where's the dragon?"

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Lantau Island Women's Eco-Swap!

LANTAU WOMEN’S ECO SWAP

DATE: November 7, 2009 Saturday

TIME: 11-2 (11-11:30 set up your stuff; 11:30-2 swap begins)

PLACE: 159 Luk Tei Tong Village Mui Wo (Stephanie Han and Stephen Aldred) It’s the tan brick house on the very edge of the village with the big garden; on the left as you approach from the bike path.

RULES: There is no exchange of money. This event is about swapping books, clothes, kids stuff, household goods, or any craft/baked goods that you might create. You may also swap service favors such as babysitting, driving, errands, and any skill that you feel might be of interest to others. If interested in exchange such as this, you should exchange contact details. If you want to just give, rather than exchange, that’s OK too.

If you have larger items (such as a bureau, desk, table etc…) you should bring a photo and description for pick-up/drop-off. Don’t bring it to the event!

LEFTOVERS: Leftover items in good condition will go to the Salvation Army and/or the Capongcol family – victims of Ketsana. The Salvation Army will not accept anything with missing buttons etc… so if any of your swap items are in poor condition and do not get swapped, please take this away (use it as a rag? Doll clothes?). We will not arrange any tax-deductible receipts. We will arrange transportation of good condition leftovers to the Salvation Army.

HINT: In the spirit of the event, it is best to be generous. You should not bring anything to this event that you would prefer to sell, as the point of this event is to exchange your item.

THANKS: It would be greatly appreciated if you gave a small donation to cover transport costs to the Salvation Army and/or for postage to the Philippines to mail a box to the Ketsana victims.

REFRESHMENTS: Bring food/drink to share. Bring your own cup, plate, and utensils.

NOTE: Women only, please!

QUESTIONS: Contact: Stephanie Han buddhafun@gmail.com or Katie Norman katiebray@live.com.au, 或 Hilda Galloway(漢語) - Hilda@thelammaplanet.com