Umbrella Revolution Wall 2014

Umbrella Revolution Wall 2014
Admiralty, Umbrella Revolution 2014

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dystopia and Utopia

The above are theme topics for a class in American Lit and Cultural Studies at CityU. I'm the tutor for 3 sections. This week they did group projects. For the idea of utopia, two different groups played the HK World City Youtube and said it was not true at all. One student shot a short video of herself in Sham Shui Po and said it was noisy, polluted, dirty, and this was the reality of HK life.

Then, one group showed pix of Foxconn/Apple workers and re-enacted working at the factory and collapsing and dying (this was clearly dystopia--they had enacted moving from a rural village in hopes of a utopian existence as a factory worker). The buzzing factory line noises were hilarious.

When I see some group projects like this I feel a little encouraged that the students are aware of what is going on and that they could possibly work for some kind of change. Hard to say, but it does give one hope. I feel like this young population should mobilize around issues of air quality, but most probably think it's normal to breathe this terrible air. As one person told me--when I was a kid, everyone had asthma! I heard one story last week about a young woman who really suffered from asthma. She went to Australia and did nothing, but after a month, her asthma stopped. She had suffered from it her whole life. She desperately tried to get a job there. No luck. So she is back here working, having problems breathing.

Good clean air needs to be thought of as a basic human right.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Happy Birthday Keohi

Keohi turns 5 today. What has happened since his birth? Recently discovered compressed cartilage in the spine (carrying around hefty baby), more white hair, wrinkles, plus 4 pounds, move to Hong Kong, home purchase, condo sale, job left, university enrollment, Chinese language lessons, aquarium acquisition, junk moved from mom's attic, death of friends, hair permanent, holidays taken, snakes killed, cows watched, cookies and cakes baked, reunion of friends, leaving of friends, lots of books read, poetry written...life has just gone on, basically--harder, but more fulfilling.

The best thing to happen to me and in the spectrum of human experience, the most fundamental, common, and ubiquitous...parenthood.

Made it through the baby years, here's hoping I get through the young boyhood stage....

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Uncle Andrew, Turning 5 and Identity

Uncle Andrew is comin' to town! We're excited. This is Keohi's godfather--and our first visitor to Mui Wo from Arizona. He knows Keohi pretty well as he's seen Keohi during our summer visits to the US. Uncle Andrew gave Keohi Pregnant Barbie a few summers ago.
Pregnant Barbie's stomach (plastic, tan, and removable) has recently been featured in Keohi's wooden dollhouse/action figure house as a sculpture with various magnets stacked on top of it. Very avant garde sculpture, but with a kind of Fluxus humor to it all...

He turns 5 on Friday. So on Saturday it is a family journey to Ocean Park where we will view the Chinese sturgeon in solitary confinement and experience other such aquatic moments. This will be followed by Keohi's new fave dinnertime eating: yep, squid/octopus wok-prepared by Ms. Angie. What I note about this stage is that he has started to develop a pretty good sense of humor already and that he tells these amazing stories, stringing together books, films, bits of this and that, that can go on and on. Stephen and I were laughing and laughing last weekend as Keohi rambled all about what he was doing--including pirating, deep sea diving, seeing his brother, rescuing this or that...lots of adventure. He tells long convoluted and complicated stories. So conversation at mealtime is definitely changing--we're watching him become an individual.

And on another note, a few weeks ago, I asked Keohi: "Are you Korean American, or are you English?" And he looked at me completely annoyed and said: "I'M CHINESE!"

Must inform HK government that son wants citizenship laws updated....

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Cuttlefish in the Wet Market and Visitor from Overseas

There's been one hanging out in the styrofoam box for a few days now. We have visited it twice daily since its arrival. Keohi has insisted that we eat it, and has assured me that he, not the fish market proprietor, can kill it. In fact, he said, he wants to be the one who KILLS THE FISH. Not sure where this obsession is coming from, but needless to say, knives remain out of range of vision. A few weeks ago we had a cuttlefish and argued that it was his pet. So it stayed in a plastic container a few hours, though when he tried to pick it up (dead) and walk around with it dripping the water all around, play came to an end.

We also watched a program on the octopus in the waters off New Zealand after which he announced he would be a scientist. Of course, yours truly liked that one. What kid doesn't want to be a marine biologist? (A few moments later, he decided he wanted to work at the fishmarket instead.) I was surprised, but then not, to learn of all of the ocean dredging between NZ and Australia. For some reason, I thought they would have more protection in those areas. There's no fish on the bottom between those two countries, or its been fairly deciamted, because they have killed everything on the ocean floor. It looks great from the surface, but underneath, no fish.

Today Keohi's getting a surprise fish tank for an early birthday present from friends.


Visitor from Overseas

My cousin came to visit! This is the first extended family member to come this way. Most of my West Coast family clan tends to holiday in Europe or Western countries if they leave the US. It was great showing her around; this distance from family is what makes expat life difficult. We trade familiarity, for adventure and difference, and here for many, if not most, financial benefit.