Umbrella Revolution Wall 2014

Umbrella Revolution Wall 2014
Admiralty, Umbrella Revolution 2014

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Vagrants by Yiyun Lee

Read this--slowly at first, then really skimmed as it progressed. I didn't like it as much as her short story collection. There was a similar tone in War Trash by Ha Jin--his book I did not get through for a variety of reasons and feel that I should go back to it at a later date. (I am a fan of his other work, especially Waiting) I understand that there is very little to find humorous or redemptive in an oppressive totalitarian government such as practiced in China, but it was hard to get through both of these books.

I'm thinking that my reading practices are changing--what I seek in a book is changing and that this has little to do with the author and artistry.

Read Equal Music by Vikrim Seth. I much preferred Golden Gate and A Suitable Boy. I'm actually not sure how much one would understand of Equal Music if one did not have any classical music training.

So this may be part of what I am thinking about too--audience, who it is, and what does the reader know?

Memphis Summer 2010

Keohi still torturing Pico the Pomeranian.

Getting ready for Keohi's godfather to come! Packing box #59 today.

We pass lots of playgrounds here--attached to churches and closed to the public. I told Keohi, "No, we can't go to that playground. Churches don't share. Public parks share."

So now Keohi sees a playground and says, "We can't go. Churches don't share."

Mom laughed.

Friday, June 18, 2010

American Summer 2010

Cannot watch many of the games, and just parts of most. Keohi is thoroughly enjoying himself and had his first swimming lesson here with an amazing teacher. He's had a month of them back in Mui Wo. When you are three, and have never had a bad experience with water, you are fearless. Other recent activities have included chasing Pico the Pomeranian around with the rake in the garage and throwing wet rags on him. Pico is a nervous wreck now. He was previously a tubby old couple's beloved pet, now he's the entertaining object of a very strong and inventive (who knew of all the ways to bother a dog?) three year old.

The air. The air is clean. And at the large water park in the public park, crowded with children, I didn't find myself thinking about asthma and colds and coughing. But there were lots of overweight kids there, out of shape kids. I don't find this in Mui Wo. There are a few, but not like in Memphis.

I'm packing boxes. 15 liquor boxes so far of books, 4 medium-large filled with various stuff, and then I'm finding things I sent home for my parents to store over the years. Since they are still downsizing, it's time to clear out from the ole garage. Take the real valuables ike an Iowa Rose Bowl sweatshirt from 1982, sweatpants from the Andover athletic department issued in 10th grade, a yellowed white prom dress. And that's the good stuff. Why did I keep a set of matches from a Japanese restaurant I never went to? A cube of sugar wrapped, of course, from the Andover Inn, and a blown out birthday candle from a birthday I can't remember? So all of this will go to our new place in Hong Kong that HAS NO CLOSETS. Why don't people in Asia believe in closets? This is a problem in Korea too. Call me a child of the middle American suburbs, but I rather like built in stuff like closets and shelves for storage...Well, okay, it has one closet, downstairs, filled with the dehumidifiers and the plastic Xmas tree and rubber boots. I also just sent my Bean boots purchased in 1980 back to Maine to be resoled. By the time I'm done it will not be much cheaper than buying another pair. I try to justify this by saying I'm doing it for environmental reasons, but it's more out of sentiment. Those boots are very ugly, but functional and perfect for the Mui Wo boggy areas filled with various amphibians, not that I plan to hop in it, but just in case.

Thinking a lot about air quality in Hong Kong. Memphis, parts, are polluted, but overall, it's so much cleaner. It's dirty all over China, in industrialized areas. Keohi has a rural childhood under gray smoggy skies. I go into the Target store here and find goods at rock bottom prices, plastic everything, clothes everything, big and plentiful. Do we need all that stuff? Does China need to manufacture all of that stuff?
For what? We buy it, consume it, throw it away, get fatter, watch more TV that tells us to buy it, and leave our skies a dark gray. I've been thinking a lot about the BP oil spill, how it's so visible and this is the horror for everyone, that we can see the animals covered in oil. But that's the tragedy of air pollution, we cannot really see it, or if we do, it emerges in beautiful colored sunsets in LA or Jakarta, or overcast skies, or a slight cough, but we're like those pelicans, drowning, coated in oil and muck, slowly dying and killing ourselves--but we don't even know it. And we don't care. We have to have our cars (my parents have two, Stephen and I did have two in LA), machines, lots of indoor space, lots of stuff to fill that indoor space, and lots of plastic things to give to our children. Hong Kong doesn't even recycle glass! In Memphis there are recycle bins at every house--but then again, lots of people here consume far more energy to live the life they do compared with the average Hong Konger.
Vicious cycle. Complicated. But solvable in very simple terms: QUIT BUYING STUFF.

Monday, June 14, 2010

World Cup and American summer

My parents' behmouth TV from 1990 died yesterday. Luckily they have a tiny screen in their bedroom where I can watch a molecule make its way across a field. World Cup family highlight: As Dad and I rooted for Ghana. (He's rooting for all the African teams this World Cup.) We're staring at small screen of Ghana vs. Serbia and asking me which team is Ghana and which is Serbia. I said Serbia has white people, Ghana has black people. We laugh. I can look forward to such 20/20 vision in my dotage.

Oh, someone commented on my never having watched the Superbowl. I should explain: my father was from Korea--they don't play American football there. He played football, or rather soccer, so we just never watched it. Plus, we were a family of three girls in the 70s. So there wasn't a lot of interest in team sports television watching in our household. Later, he began to watch it in the 80s and my mother, unlike most women, was glad as she thought he was developing outside interests and hobbies by following the San Francisco team (he attended UC Berkeley for his PhD).

Keohi has a new bike, ate his favorite pulgogi BBQ on a stick and ice cream and cake (mom's birthday). He has been swimming in the subdivision pool next door and chasing my parents' wheezing Pomeranian (stressed out by a 3 year old). All in all, a fantastic time in Memphis. American summers...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Summer in Memphis

About to watch the UK-US world cup game! Korean won--Tae Han Min Gook!

The 2002 World Cup in HK was very entertaining--so now I watch football every four years.

I'm not much of a sports watcher.

I have never seen a Super Bowl. I've never met another American who can say that--naturalized or otherwise...I went to football games in high school, and then remember going in 1972 to an Iowa Hawkeyes game on my 9th birthday with my father. The Hawkeyes lost. I got a pom pom. We left before the game was over.

I've watched maybe half a basketball game, here and there--on TV.

I've watched some Olympics. I had an interest in watching the 2010 winter games but no television access...

Actually, now that I think about it, most of the sports that I've watched live were in high school. Since I never participated much in team sports, I don't think I developed a keen interest in watching it. OK--TV calls! GAME ON!

I'll probably root for the US despite its GNP being much higher than the UK.