Umbrella Revolution Wall 2014

Umbrella Revolution Wall 2014
Admiralty, Umbrella Revolution 2014

Friday, April 22, 2011

Stupid Encounters...

Stupid encounters one could only have in Hong Kong:

a) someone telling me that it is bad for one's health to put your body on cement during hot weather. This seems to be a no-brainer. There are germs and a large number of spitting happy elderly here. (A kid was doing this) BUT NO. The DANGER is that a body will HEAT UP.

I could not even begin to discuss this. Language challenge. Cultural barrier. Clear lack of understanding of basic science.

b)someone telling me that the change of weather causes COLDS. COME ON PEOPLE. DID ANYONE STUDY HIGH SCHOOL BIOLOGY? For god's sakes--there are ALLERGIES. My father (okay, he's an allergist/immunologist, that does give one more household knowledge as his kid...but still) was just JOKING about how people used to think they got YEARLY SEASONAL COLDS that lasted for 4 months. THIS IS CALLED SEASONAL ALLERGIES. THEY ARE ON THE INCREASE DUE TO POLLUTION AND OTHER ASPECTS OF industrialization. If I HEAR ONE MORE IDIOT tell me that they have a COLD BECAUSE OF WEATHER CHANGE I will have NO CHOICE but to point them to the nearest high school biology classroom.

c) pollution is caused by CHINA. This is what people say from Korea to Indonesia to anywhere in Asia. Guess WHAT. Pollution is CAUSED BY YOU. BY ALL OF US. STOP BUYING STUFF. That's right. Roadside pollution, bad local laws about deliveries and access for diesel trucks and YOUR OWN CONSUMPTION OF TOO MANY GOODS. Quit shopping, and along with that--support clean air laws.

d)people dismantling structures with asbestos by hand in front of our house. This is so stupid, I can't even begin to discuss it. The stupid response I have--not to open the window on that side of the house. As if that will protect me from the asbestos particles floating around my village...hahaha.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Garden's Bones and Cow Count

A Garden’s Bones


Bone.
Bones shoot from the earth—
a three-pronged fork.
Hard and pale white stumps—
jetties on green sea.
Bones;
a sturdy skeleton buried in tufts of winter grass
hacked and sawed by the woman upstairs—
one less to water, feed or tend
a Death
a Blessing.
A curious sculpture these bones
kicked by a tiny boy
ringed by dirt and dried feces
for the gods to chew
for the winds to gnaw
a brittle snap
a slow decay.
Bones are phantoms spit from the glory of summer’s bush.
At night my son cries: shadows, ghosts.
Does he mean these bones?
Weeks pass
nubs give way to stems and curved leaves.
Feel the baby’s temple, the barely-hard skull
damp with the terror of light.


A Garden's Bones was published in the journal IMPRINT (2011) (p. 81) a few weeks ago. IMPRINT is now available in local HK bookstores.

I have previously posted this poem on this blog. It's also on my website www.stephaniehan.com


Mui Wo Cows


On Sunday we counted a line of 12 cows for the herd as they walked up the path by our house. Make Way for the Bovine... it was quite a vision---12 cows nicely marching up in a single line. We saw the little calf, the one the bull was guarding a few weeks ago, it was the one that started to trot near Keohi and myself. (Keohi and I bolted up the path with Keohi yelling "I'm afraid of the cow! I'm afraid of the cow!") The ole bull had blocked the entrance to our house for a bit, couldn't go in--a few females in the garden area.

But this is life with cattle. Not a big deal. The image of them marching up the stone path to the mountains is one that will always stay with me. An old local man was chatting and smiling and laughing at the picture. Clearly, good feelings were engendered by the animals.

People need to mellow out about the bovine. MOOOOOOOOOOO....

Saw a snake hiking last week. Small one, slithering across the path. I didn't react that strongly. I've been in Mui Wo nearly three years...snakes, water buffalo, torpedo diving mosquitoes. Village life...

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Water Buffalo

A Water Buffalo

A gray brown beast lumbers down the cobbled path,
stops to pull grass that skims its stomach, brushes its dark eyes.
The animal wallows in a bog, a coat of chocolate drowns flies,
hooves sink and water pools.
The creature defecates piles of heat and stench, round discs of volcanic feces,
circle on top of circle, a soft mess
left to the rain or hardened on the path
shoveled by straw-hatted women in rubber boots,
fetched by someone to fertilize what remains of a garden—
a clutter of tin cans and Styrofoam growing weeds and herbs.

Long ago the highrises called from across the water—
the children left.
No memory or fondness for mosquitoes, sweat and toil,
shacks of stone and asbestos, a merciless idyll
unforgiving in heat and rain. Hunger was always near.
Leaving was the dream.
The yoke came off. All were freed.


* * *


Smog curls around the edge of the bay.
Bulldozers, concrete, a new road.
You have split off and multiplied.
The ferry brings others from distant lands
others more from highrises across the water,
all gawk and prod, hit and tease, such a meeting of descendents!
Necessity became inconvenience,
curiosity, spectacle. Enough, enough, enough.
A bellow and charge, stomp and gore.
There, watch: a man tossed to the air,

Hounded and hemmed by autos and parking lots,
you yield to houses of glass and light.
Oh, the shame of an agrarian past.
Humbled, you retreat up the mountain,
hide and huddle in an open field.
The wait begins.
The rope and gunshot, the long painful drag across a field.
You bleed and weep, moan loud and long,
shoved into a truck that carts you away.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Save the Water Buffalo of Lantau

I had to break my silence to voice my opinion on this community disaster.

Three water buffalo have been killed! (see www.lantaulink.com) One water buffalo gored a tourist on the beach. As a result, there have been some people using this single incident to make a case to destroy all the water buffalo/cows on Lantau. This would be a terrible mistake.

There is a serious problem with people not understanding how to act in this type of rural environment. Efforts have to be made for people to understand how intrinsic the water buffalo are to Lantau--they have co-existed peacefully for years with the residents here. Residents and tourists alike view them as part of Lantau life. These creatures are not to be petted, ridden, provoked or taunted! We need to give them the respect that they deserve and continue to work at a peaceful co-existence.