Umbrella Revolution Wall 2014

Umbrella Revolution Wall 2014
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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Arvo in Mui Wo June 2013

This is a random sampling of a Mui Wo afterschool afternoon the very last week of school June 2013

Keohi cycles home with Angie, arrives home really sweaty. He threw the glass recycling in today, showed Angie where it was.

Lunchbox check. No, didn't finish. This means you get it for snack.

I refuse to capitulate to terrible eating habits. I can't stand adults with bad eating habits and children who have them turn into adults who have them. Talk about ruining a meal.

Random recap of a few school happenings (but often not).

Intense studying of Ninja Turtle book. We read Curious George. Head out on a walk to do the rest of the recycling and return a book to a neighbor in Luk Tei Tong. Cow pies on the sidewalk. Men on the three wheel tractors.

Dump the recycling. A troop of matching T-shirt born again Christians, or some other religious group passes us. They are from the City. You can tell they never get out. Plenty of pear shaped young boys. Gasping and teetering. Can't stay up on a bike. Uncomfortable but enjoying it all. Sort of. Nervous, but feeling free. Sweaty. They're having great fun, and I wonder how much they might have benefited from more time out of doors when they were younger.

Pass random dogs. Discussion of if the dogs should be touched or not. We avoid them. Run into a friend's sister. Chat a few moments. Slap sand flies.

Pass cows.

Drop off the book.

No, you cannot go surfing in that waterway. It is filthy. It has people's dirty water in it.
On the way home, hit the village square. Go back and finally pull out the ping pong paddles and head to the village square. Volleying is impossible. The concrete table makes it difficult. But old Lick Hang people swing by. No, don't want to play ping pong. And then his other pals come up and there is ping pong, hide and seek, and running around and then finally, time to duck back inside for Canto lesson and I am back to work in my study.

An afternoon as a 6 year old. Final week of kindergarten in Mui Wo, 2013.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Summer 2013

Soft focus and pink is good at our age. You know you are old when you think blurry photos are just fine. So here we are Pretty in Pink (I feel like I should hum this 80s song).

I am still trying to post and detail our trip to Lombok May 2013. We stopped in Singapore to see former Muiwonese and then went to hoo-ha it up in Lombok for Keohi's godfather's 50th. A good time was had by all.

It is now officially HOT weather season...

Keohi told me tonight he is trying to mix a potion so that he can turn into a Ninja Turtle. Like most children, he has a very deep imagination. I would say that he spends quite a few hours a day not being Keohi, but inhabiting various characters. I think a lot about how this level of concentration and focus on pretending to be someone or do something that is make-believe gets torn down by society the more one is institutionalized, the more one enters the adult world, or even the world of children affected by an adult world. People learn to exit this pretend land and instead scrape and survive in the so-called real world.

I suppose this is why reading and writing became so crucial to who I am and what I am--asocial as it may read is to escape, to write is to inhabit a world that is often much more preferable to real life...

Monday, June 10, 2013

Bombay Cafe Mui Wo Summer Nights 2013

Every Sunday since we've moved here in April 2008, we head out for dinner. There are Sundays that we stay in, but we've done an even rotation of a variety of restaurants here--about 6 months at each place, move on, and recycle some in between for a few Sundays, then back again for another 6 months somewhere else. Food choices are limited here in Mui Wo, but for Keohi, the routine and companionship make up for it.

Growing up, I remember eating out every Friday night with my family. During our years in the Bay Area when we lived in the Presidio, we ate at Korea House. Dad ordered the same mandoo guk--or dumpling soup and we would be presented with a rumpled brown paper bag of the crispy rice that the restaurant owner had saved for us to munch on. She would also give my sisters and I one stick each of Juicy Fruit gum. This was a thrill. Mom, when she did buy gum, would only by Spearmint. Years later, the baby in the back of the restaurant was briefly my younger sister's boyfriend in Los Angeles! Talk about a small Korean world. And the grandmother remembered my father's Friday night order. To this day I have a fondness for the light brown rice that remains at the bottom of a rice pot if it's cooked over a stove.

So Sundays have been our Mui Wo tradition:

OK, here the gang is all out in front of Mr. Gordon's (Uncle Gordon's) Bombay Cafe in Mui Wo, while we wait for a curry. Our standard order: Stephen-lamb, Steph-veggy, Keohi-fish. Drinks? Stephen-grapefruit soda, Steph-2 boxes of fruit juice, Keohi-soy milk/juice 2 boxes. Keohi likes to come down to run around with whoever is out--Kimmy most often, Gordon's daughter, Justin lives upstairs, and then that night, Jamu showed up. While Gordon did the curries, Keohi would and still does run up and down the drag with his pals. If I go early with Keohi and have to go to the store, he'll run there with Kimmy under Gordon's watchful eye while I bop into the Wellcome. It's an old-style neighborhood. Keohi will have a lot to remember when he's older--this is HK at its best, truly.

The kids embody a part of Mui Wo I hope will stay with Keohi for the rest of his life--moments of play on sidewalks crowded with chairs and a few bikes, a random car, a dog and a kid with a new toy that everyone clamors for. The Philippine products store next door that stocks the dusty boxes of puzzles and pork rind chips and peanuts. The smell of spice and curry from Gordon's cafe. The banyan tree across the way and the red and white stripes of the tricycle awnings as people laugh and call and yell. At tourists. At each other. Alive in the heat of summer. I think and hope this will be embedded somewhere where he can retrieve it all---a hazy memory of his early childhood, resurfacing when confronted with what the world can be in all of its transnational, polycultural and wonderful mixed up possibility.

The backgrounds are interesting: Keohi-British Korean American, Justin-HK Indonesian Mainland Chinese, Kimmy-Thai Indian British, Jamu-Nepalese. It's a group of kids you'd see in many urban areas, but particularly in HK. They speak English together with probably a random word of Canto, is my guess, the parents calling to the kids in every language configuration that they know.

Curry arrives. Keohi: Sihk Fahn! we say. NOW. Sihk Fahn!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Traffic in Lantau

I think that there definitely should be more police assigned to this district or beat. After the motorcycle death and the bovine deaths (8 cows),  I would hope that there could be some organization to this area in terms of policing. They are really short staffed and need to do more traffic monitoring.

The road works through the main drag in Mui Wo will end in a death or terrible accident. Even with the traffic lights, people jump it, buses push their way through, and it is simply too chaotic. It is easy to blame one group or another, it is not an "expat" or "local" issue, but a Lantau problem for all members of this community. Everyone is pressed in this situation--police, cars, pedestrians, cyclists, public transportation...South Lantau is getting busy and this requires a cooperative effort from all parties.

Be patient. Yield appropriately. Don't speed. Park respectfully.

I think that the following ideas for South Lantau traffic would work:

a) more police assigned to Lantau Island district
b) one traffic cop assigned to the Mui Wo road works to direct traffic
c) issuing of permits for all vehicles that transit through Mui Wo--and there needs to be a limit on these and/or very high license fees to discourage easy access and encourage more use of existing public transportation
d) more blue taxi licenses
e) more monitoring of public transportation vehicles like buses
f) more ticketing for cars--no parking in pedestrian areas like sidewalks, speeding, driving up the fire roads
g) more community action--reporting speeding cars and those that are illegally parked to ensure public safety; active carpooling to combine resources, save energy and cut down on traffic

Maybe these recent fatalities will push a re-examination of these issues.