Friday, April 21, 2006

Trackbacks from the Past...

Recently I discovered a whole bunch of Hong Kong bloggers who are like long-lost friends to me in the way they write and feel about Hong Kong.... "Omigod these people are ME" was my first reaction when I started reading their posts and profiles. All these bloggers have the great good fortune to be real life friends with each other - I know this because all their blogs are linked (that's how I found them one by one, by clicking on their links) and the fact that many of the posts on these blogs referred to the things they did together, as well as the messages they leave on each others' blog. It's almost enough to make me green with envy because these people would have been my very dear friends too if I had the fortune to grow up in Hong Kong with them, for the simple reason that they think and feel about events in Hong Kong and the world pretty much as I do and their passion for art and literature and the fact that they are sensitive to, and are earnest about, social and political issues of the day.

Reading their posts have been opening up a whole new world for me, helping me to connect with Hong Kong in a way that no email/letter correspondences with my childhood pals ever could. This is especially precious to me because I have been away from Hong Kong for so long - almost seven years, in fact. (It's pretty scary when I do count up the years - I feel so old... and so out of touch almost...).

I made some comments on SeeChuen's blog in particular that I want to link back here, for they captured some of my precious memories and feelings about Hong Kong...

"Like many of the posters here, the Tianamen Square massacre is not something that I could easily forget, especially because I was at such a young age (11) at the time.

I remember the 1 million people march in support of those student protestors, the patriotic and pro-democracy (these two concepts are not mutually-exclusive you know) song that we learnt from our teachers in school (anyone remember the "Love Freedom, For Freedom" song?), all the white-on-black stickers around the lifts in the lobby of my housing estate, the t-shirts with the pictures of the student leaders' faces on them, the "Statue of Liberty" made by the student protestors themselves (the workmanship of which I remember as being quite rubbish frankly)....

More importantly however, I remember how shocked I was, how we all were, by the actual massacre of the student protestors by their own government. In addition to the above iconic scene, I remember the sound tapes from someone inside the Square that captured the panicked screaming of the students as the tanks began to arrive. I remember how the news described black smokes rose from the Square shortly after the massacre, that the many many students trapped in the Square were simply vanished, as no coffins were brought out, only smoke... I remember how the government tried to clamp down on any news coming out of Beijing. I remember the four-word editorial in a Leftist newspaper, that gave voice to the speechlessness we all felt. I remember how there was no schools on that day.

The key thing I remember, was the deep deep shame, even as an eleven year old, of being Chinese. "Chinese won't fight Chinese" is something that I was taught, but it clearly wasn't the case there. For the government to turn on its people in such a brutal way, no amount of white-washing of history afterwards would cover those "blood-soaked colours"....

History is often a story of the victors. To bid us to forget brutal history, as recent as something that happened only 17 years ago, is to bid us to forget that there are multiple sides to historical events. That's the reason why we must not forget June the Fourth. The state might like us all to gloss over that black dot of history in building up its narrative of a stronger and better China, but to forget history as sordid as that of the Tianamen Square massacre to fit historical events into this state-sanctioned narrative is to deny the sacrifices made by the students and residents of Beijing for a better China - one that is progressive and humane precisely because it does not forget."

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"But I'm soooo jealous about all the books you have. I kind of pride myself on keeping up with reading quality Chinese lit even though I live overseas (Ireland to be precise), but I haven't got any of the books that you've up on your bookshelf. The closest I came to is Eileen Chang's, I have about five of her books but not "First Pot of Incense"... This is one of the times when I feel I really miss HK, wondering what I could have been reading all these years if I hadn't moved overseas....."

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At Mon Apr 24, 08:24:00 a.m. IST, Blogger 思存 said...

我慶幸自己在這裏有一些很要好的朋友, 但我也很羡慕你可以在別的地方生活呢. 所以也說不上誰比誰更幸運, 畢竟生命不能"如果"...

那些連結, 有一部分是朋友, 其他只是在文字裏相逢而已, 嗯, 像現在那樣 :)

不知道你是否完全投入彼方的生活, 但很高興知道你對這地方依然有感情

祝生活美滿, 不論, 在何方

At Mon Apr 24, 10:06:00 a.m. IST, Blogger 思存 said...

我慶幸自己在這裏有一些很要好的朋友, 但我也很羡慕你可以在別的地方生活呢. 所以也說不上誰比誰更幸運, 畢竟生命不能"如果"...

那些連結, 有一部分是朋友, 其他只是在文字裏相逢而已, 嗯, 像現在那樣 :)

不知道你是否完全投入彼方的生活, 但很高興知道你對這地方依然有感情

祝生活美滿, 不論, 在何方

At Fri May 05, 02:06:00 p.m. IST, Blogger Snowdrops said...

Sincere apologies SeeChuen for my delay in responding to your very kind messages on my blog, as I was away at an overseas conference for about a week and a half in the last while (I was in Vancouver actually for the first time) and didn't manage to go check the blogs until the last couple of days.

Thank you so much for your kind wishes, and indeed, for simply stopping by at my blog. As you can see, it's still quite a new blog and I'm really honoured to have you, who have written so many elegant articles on your blog, as a guest at this humble place.

More importantly, I appreciate your comments that "說不上誰比誰更幸運, 畢竟生命不能"如果"..." Right now, it's a really lovely Friday afternoon in Dublin, I'm sitting in my room typing and enjoying the sunshine and the birdsong streaming in through the windows. I guess I wouldn't have this luxury at all if I have continued to live in Hong Kong. And I should really be thankful for the little blessings I have while living here, even though I do miss Hong Kong a lot.

I hope you're keeping well in Hong Kong, it's great knowing you, even though we're "只是在文字裏相逢" :o)

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