Umbrella Revolution Wall 2014

Umbrella Revolution Wall 2014
Admiralty, Umbrella Revolution 2014

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Random Conversations with a 5 year old

Random Conversations with Keohi

K: So last night my invisible sensei came in my dream and told me that I had to go fight the oni (monsters in Japanese). Then the oni have beng hey (weapons in Cantonese, but I must still battle them on my honor.
S: What’s beng hey?
K: Weapons. You know why can’t I get up to the gods and visit them on Olympus? I need to do battle!
S: It’s very high up.
K: Are they real? I need to fight monsters. Where can I fight real monsters?
S: What kind of monsters?
K: Like Medusa. Is Medusa still around?
S: Didn’t someone kill Medusa?
K: Oh, yeah. Perseus. But what monster can I kill if there aren’t any? I need to fight some real monsters!
S: Hmmmm. Well, maybe some of them are extinct now.
K: What are the monsters that aren’t extinct? I think I had better climb up a really high mountain, and then take a cloud and ride the cloud to Olympus and see the gods. Are those gods around?
S: I think they might be in Greece.
K: So Jack told me that he and his Dad built a boat with a place to sit and then they both went in the boat and it went over the waterfall. Can I build a boat and go over a waterfall? Hey, what if I just go and jump down the waterfall?
S: Are you sure that Jack went down the waterfall in his boat?
K: Yes. And then he built a spaceship and went up to space and he had a party there. He told me.
S: Maybe he went on a waterfall. Maybe in Australia.
K: Yes, I am sure. I want to go. Or I can just go to this waterfall here.
S: Gee, maybe he should invite you the next time to that waterfall he went on, how’s that?
K: Well he ran out of paper. So I didn’t go.
S: What do you mean he ran out of paper?
K: He ran out of paper! So I couldn’t go because the spaceship couldn’t deliver the piece of paper! For my birthday I am going to build a spaceship and then here’s what I will do, I’ll get up to the mountain and then tell the airplane man-
S: The pilot
K: Yes, the pilot that this is the paper about my party
S: The invitations?
K: Yes the invitations. And then the pilot can give this so that everyone remembers to come and go to the spaceship. Or I can just get on a cloud.


To preface, he has recently watched the Pepsi ad on youtube from 2002 featuring sumo wrestlers and various Euro football players.

K: Why are those sumo wrestlers drinking Pipsi?
S: Maybe they don’t know it’s not healthy. Pepsi, you mean.
K: So is the Pipso make their bones bad? Do you think that they listen to their mommies about this? And the football players were also drinking Pipsi.
S: It’s a television commercial. So it’s not real anyway.
K: What’s a television commercial?
S: It’s a short show where they try to sell you things. Like Pepsi.
K: But why do they want to sell Pepsi when it’s bad for their health?
S: No, well, they get paid money for putting on the show for Pepsi.
K: Maybe they drink it when they’re about 45?
S: Maybe.
K: Do you think I can wear my sumo loincloth on the football court? Did you see that sumo wrestler and the ball hit him in the nipple, and he didn’t feel it. Probably because he is a grown-up.
S: Even grown-ups feel it when a ball is kicked in their chest.
K: He was in the goal. So I can wear my loincloth.
S: I think you should wear your loincloth only at home because otherwise people might laugh and hurt your feelings. Besides, people don’t wear loincloths to play football.
K: Well how come they were wearing loincloths on the football court and playing football! And they drink Pipsi!
S: They do that because the someone is paying them money. The company pays them the money to wear the loincloth and play football and drink Pepsi. Because it’s bad for your health if you’re an athlete.
K:So I will wear my loincloth on the football court and someone will pay me money for it.
S: No, that’s the TV commercial.
K: Well who can pay me money to wear my sumo loincloth! The government?
S: The government will not pay you money to wear your loincloth.


K: How come I can’t marry two people?
S: Because you can’t marry two people because one will get very sad.
K: Why will one get sad?
S: Because you’ll spend all of your time with the other one. People don’t want to share their marriage.
K: Well, why not! I want to marry two people. How can I marry two people.
S: People don’t marry two people at the same time. Only in some countries.
K: I’ll have to go to these countries. What countries are they that you can get married to two people, India?
S: Uhm. Yes, well, I don’t know. Not in all places. Actually, I don’t know. I’ll have to find out.
K: I’ll go to India.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Biking in the Rain

Typhoon Vicente is over. Mui Wo was covered in tree branches and leaves and twigs--not a big deal, but can be perilous on a speedy bike in the rain. A big tree in the garden area behind the basketball court was down.

This morning's bike ride was memorable. This is what I will remember when Keohi is older, some year when we are no longer in Mui Wo...

I pick up Keohi from Winky's dance studio (hip hop class) and it is pouring, absolutely coming down hard and we have no raingear. But I unlock our bikes, and he hops on his and I hop on mine and we ready to go. He clicks his helmet on. The old men from the dai pai dong look at us and smile. It's pouring. Everyone is waiting it out. Except for us.

We're drenched after unlocking our bikes and I tell Keohi we have to bike home fast. I'm wearing my glasses and rain is in my eyes--slight sting--pollution, hard to tell, maybe...and we head off. Something overcomes I yell FAI DI LA (hurry!) and we're OFF! Wiki wiki (fast in Hawaiian), Bali bali (fast in Korean) I say, and we're hitting top speed on our bikes. WHOOOWEEEE yelling and yelling as we bike up up the hill!

Keohi starts going through all of the puddles and howling and laughing and we bike up and up and are thoroughly soaked by now. We turn into our sidewalk path in front of our house...Watch out for the cow poo! I remind him. (Yeah, the entire herd was in our garden a few days ago and left some big cow pies)

We bike into the yard, park. Drenched. Wet. Out of breath. Laugh. Keohi and me.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

McDonald's in the Cooked Food Market and Coca-Cola Babies

Hey Fast Food Lovers--

It is very uncool to bring your Mcdonald's french fries into another restaurant--like the Cooked Food Market. This is the second time I've seen this happen. For the sake of being exacting, I will say this:
tonight's family was Filipino, the other night's family was Western (white/British). Tonight's family with the french fries had a small 4-5 year old child, the other night's family had two children, around age 5 and 9.

So why mention this? To shame you, guys, geez. C'mon. OK, eat your fast food. But don't bring it into another restaurant! It shows that such behavior has yes, NO COLOR LINES, as they said in LA, back in the day. It seems McDonald's crosses international boundaries of class, ethnicity, and nationality. And geez, the Cooked Food Market has some of the best food in Mui Wo. Fresh Canto food, hot from the wok, that wok-hay going strong.

Also, speaking of junk food behavior-- the worst was last week. A woman jabbering on her cell phone, pushing the stroller as she's walking with two kids, the stroller riding 18 month old (to my best estimate) was sucking down a plastic bottle of Coca-Cola. I felt like I was in some watching a rehearsal for a TV ad for malnourishment.

A scenic Mui Wo...and gee, you thought it was all green mountains and beach? No, to get the full experience one needs images like these;)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hong Kong Will Never Improve the Quality of Life for its Citizens

Hong Kong lawmakers, and dealmakers, business community and tycoons fail to understand that one way that people define quality of life is air quality. Actually, this is not just in HK, but make this all of China.

While confidence in the U.S. remains low due to misguided perceptions that everything is swell, if not better in Asia, the fact remains, that for the vast majority of people, no matter your income level, no matter where you are living, your quality of life is infinitely superior in the U.S. or any Western country, and this is for one reason and one reason only: You can actually BREATHE air that is reasonably clean!

I came back from Beijing in June and was coughing for 10 days. Beijing is so filthy, it makes HK smell like a field of wild roses...

In this way, HK will never be the world-class city it aspires to be, or thinks of itself to be, nor will it ever be deemed a place that is ideal for anyone inhabit. Everyone here suffers from air quality. The excuses that everyone makes are astounding. While cities around the world are closing off streets, increasing bike lanes and routes, urging people to prioritize air quality--HK is building more roads for more cars. HK has superb public transportation, there is no need to clog up the city with more cars.

I feel bad for the people here (myself included). They are hostage to outmoded thinking, to leaders who have failed to look outward and beyond to see what mistakes have been made, in the West, in particular, regarding air quality. The lack of imagination in this way, the inability to see how air quality affects everything we do is astounding.

I said to a person in Beijing from Mainland, that I feel bad for the Chinese people. Their air is so bad. She nodded sorrowfully and said thank-you. She added "Air quality is a human right."

No wonder no one cares about it here...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Mui Wo Child Questionnaire

How to tell if your young child is having the full Mui Wo experience---

  1. Does s/he ride a two-wheel bike at an extremely fast clip and ignore parental warnings to slow down?
  2. Does s/he have some basic smattering or knowledge of a language other than your native tongue, and if older, try to translate for you?
  3. Does s/he have friends of different ethnic origin?
  4. Did s/he ever attempt to mimic some very aged seniors and spit on the ground, much to your consternation?
  5. Did s/he ever have a hacking pollution-inspired phlegm-filled cough?
  6. Does s/he take particular joy and interest in watching a fish/live animal get flayed alive for dinner?
  7. Does s/he enjoy a snack that you yourself never enjoyed as a child?
  8. Does s/he have a basic knowledge about or cautious attitude toward snakes?
  9. Does s/he regularly hop/bike over bovine excrement?
  10. Do the local shopkeepers/business owners/downtown employees know him/her by name?
  11. Does s/he tell you that s/he hates the ferry?
  12. Does s/he try to pray in a temple, no matter your religious/non-religious persuasion?

10-12 YES answers…Congratulations, your child is having the full Mui Wo experience.

7-9 YES answers…Your child is enjoying a significant part of village life.

5-8 YES answers… Fear not. Cultural transformation takes time.

0-4 YES answers….You are brand-new. Or, if you’ve been here a while, you really need to relax a bit.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Little Libraries

I thought that this was a fantastic project. I wonder if it could work here in South Lantau. We have a little library in Mui Wo, but this would be a nice idea in other parts of our village.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Cats and the Eco system of South Lantau

Those who support the maintenance of feral cat colonies should understand that cats are not indigenous to South Lantau. They are predators and result in a fair amount of native species such as snakes, lizards, birds, butterflies and other small animals or insects, being killed off. Sure, who needs rats, or snakes, we all might say...but we have actually witnessed birds killed from our window by such predators, and this is a cause for concern (despite my personal dislike of amphibians and reptiles).

People who are animal friendly have to also understand that animals do affect the native environment and it does a greater disservice over the long haul to our environment to simply sustain a population without monitoring their overall impact on an ecological system. Given that people will and do keep domesticated animals, it would behoove those who support the cultivation of cat colonies to actually measure the population and proportion of feral cats and domesticated cats, and to note and measure the effects of such species on native plants and animal life on Lantau island. The invasion of non-native species greatly affects an eco system and should be monitored. Monitoring does not mean blindly feeding or sustaining non-native species without measuring the consequences good or bad of their imprint on this island.

That fluffy thing you think is so cute may in fact be killing off an endangered bird or rare lizard. Wherever people move, we inevitably affect the local environment, and the reality is, we kill off what was there prior, no matter how conscientious we may be about doing so. So have a think about what your beloved pet or your nearby colony of feral cats may be doing. Domesticated animals and even feral ones, particularly cats or dogs, give human beings much pleasure in life, and we all realize the importance of pets in individual lives, that is a given. But we must also weigh the consequences of all animals, as they are, like us, non-native species to this place.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

An Ordinary Life

I thought this was a great piece from the NY Times on parenting...on life.

Having my fairly ordinary, but on occasion, extraordinary life here in Mui Wo. And I'm doin' just fine, thanks.

Opting out of most things is not such a bad thing. And actually, what I am finding, is the more you do, the more extra-ordinary (potentially meaning 'strange' or 'different') you seem to most people, except your self. Which is rather peculiar, in and of itself...

But it is hard to have an ordinary life...because modern life does not prize ordinary. Or normal.

Normal is to object to a 60 hour work week. Normal is to complain that the air is filthy. To think that good healthcare is a human right. To believe that the violation of human rights is an abomination.

The world...does not really celebrate normal or ordinary...but I think that we should all try for it...

Glad that so many people marched today in HK. HK people deserve a better government. Let's hope they get it soon.