Winding down – Rebuilding our CUHK post-apocalypse

So, it’s almost like how 你我永遠不肯定愛不愛誰/約不約定誰/黃金廣場外分手/在時代門外再聚⋯⋯Can’t believe how my routine is turned upside down by the recent development of events with which I have always kept a sort of relaxing distance. I could once indulge in my intellectual pursuits on the role of populism & economic grievances and what the fucking ever of something happened 5 years ago. (I can’t say how glad I am for having had myself to write these blogs – I TOTALLY forgot what I liked about those articles now that my brain is super overwhelmed by a bunch of different stuff & time-frame & people in decision-making.)

Regarding the ‘never thought I’ll get to know you’, the you is CUEGU (Employee’s General Union), 中大員總. So I happen to stumble upon them because Chris gathered a group of more pro-active & youngish staff on like 13th/14th (I wanted to check at whatsapp, then overwhelmed by rushing messages so not a good idea). Then he gave me a list of phone numbers to set up a group. Funny development is that this group, with a professor KM of CUTA adamant to wipe out places within staff circles not under his web of “老樹盤根” teachers’ control, became a 校方的外圍 as many more prestigeous professors got added in alongside us frontline admin/ research/ teaching small potatoes, creating an unintended ‘horizontal’ communication platform where Agnes Ho (head of OSA?), Lavendar Cheung (head of Press & Comm), Ng Kee Pui (副校)are all inside. So we ‘progressive/ proactive’ small potatoes were sort of able to 帶風向 in the group about some issues that we are concerned about, e.g. pollution, students & staff’s role in rebuilding CU order, cleaners’ safety etc. I was so scared at first when I ‘leaked’ by being overly eager our drafted 聯署 on ‘CU ask for warranty to stop Police from coming in’ to KM, with his bunch of unknown people. I like how Chris is quite 一兩句輕輕帶過 about how to tune up and down things given the changing circumstances, and Ann in how she placed back much-needed confidence at a turbulent time when I internally feared that I have done something stupid that would affect the greater scene.

緊急聲明:禁止警方進入校園並使用致命武器 — 中大職員促請中大申請臨時禁制令, 11月15日(I just realised I forgot to put in the date in that statement 😀 )

Ok so that’s the funny new group. We re-started a smaller group with controlled access and then things went a lot better. I think it started with us meeting up openly with students and staff on Friday 3-7pm at Pong Man Lun indoor sportsground, where we get to sort of really get the vibe of each person (some are more talkative, some reconciliatory, some with a vision to bring it to a unionising direction, some rather angry at the school, some focused on in practice what we can do, some concerned about safety with his/her specialised knowledge..) – which did mean a lot. I like them. We then went to CC can for a 風眼中的最後晚餐 before we knew it was a ‘last’ supper, as right in the midst of it we received news in person that the popo had advanced so we urgently evacuated ourselves to CUEGU room at Wong Fuk Yuen building. There we got to chill a bit and exchange our varying levels of concern about the situation we were in (all of us received individually tons of messages concerned about our safety).

Fake ‘bomb is around’ news spread from that 校方的外圍姨媽姑爹未FC info group, evacuating basically the entire CU campus by a 擠牙膏manner: each building’s warden spread the news to his or her own building’s students, under an absolute state of chaos and panic. I felt so outraged by the school’s possible tactic to ‘bring peace upon CU again’ by starving the black-blocked protestors of a supportive shield. That was at the expense of my friend having to fly back to her hometown in the middle of a supposed school semester (which was annoucned to end early. Probably in a coordinated effort by the govt to make universities less of a hotbed for protests, to cool things down).

Anyways, we were there in the CUEGU room which is more like a dance studio, spacious, no cluster at all, yoga mats, mirrors along the wall, etc. I like how spacious it is and how comfy I can get working on my computer there, monitoring the number of people who signed the statement, and kept receiving and sending messages to people around. We had to abort the plan we just came up with at the Pong Man Lun meeting, which was to sort of take part in the newly established quasi-anarchic and autarkic order in CU as members of staff, supporting students led by a panicking CUSU (which declared that it would now stop running. *clap* even though I understand the stress they were facing). We have now become more like a post-apocalypst clean-up team, in this chemically polluted (to an unknown extent) campus wtih remnants of an old civilisation and destruction.

So Chris, Ann & another guy & I stayed at the room overnight, while others returned home awaiting newest decision on tmr’s supposed 11am 和你執. Chris might be a bit disheartened (?) to see that we can sort of do nothing in the situation, given the school had been quite overt in suppressing our call for students, alumni and staff to return for a collective clean-up. Maybe not disheartened but rationally seeing no role in us at the time. My friend suggested that we should sort of ignore and defy the school’s call because that’s more like excuses for them to exclude members’ participation, but since the school had issued official notice discouraging return, we sort of really can’t be openly against them.

Instead we did a 圍內執 at hotspots of recyclable materials at CC and brought them to a center for redistribution. Enjoyed that thoroughly because I got to collect for myself a lot of shower gel with high-end fragrances ❤ to my weird likings. Maybe breathed in a lot of pollutants but don’t care (no I do, I want to be able to bear children in the future – just having that potential rather than not is great) – and felt a bit liberated (from a ‘selfish’ individualistic common way of life?) when getting on a new friendly teaching staff’s vehicle in moving stuff around. Usually you only get on strange new vehicles of your relatives. It is almost as intimate as someone’s home, given the number of times you stay inside to build up your experiences and a literal point of view. And got to sit closely with some new mates, getting buckled up etc. To think about it I set on 3 new vehicles (excluding taxi which is supposed to be new to the one taking it) that day from new friends/ simply someone 萍水相逢. I think I am very glad that I decided to come to CU, because now I get that kind of 手足 feelings better – it’s a new order, a new way to relate with people based on common beliefs and often immediate common goals. It could be exhiliarting esp. when you all have a common enemy (not very prominent in our group, as we are more like trying to be constructive of a new, more inclusive school order). I like that.

So after the 執, with the space at CUEGU that I feel pretty much at home at we had some snacks and started talking about our views on the current situation, cuminating into a detailed minutes that I happily kept on updating and sending out to the smaller, tighter group. Several action items and we are meeting up tomorrow again to see how to make them happen. Making things happen, knowing that there are people around as motivated and wanting to get something done as you are, being able to write out your truer thoughts in face of a situation and slam it on those repsonsible (whilst learning the better ways to put it for a more optimal result), being able to live and work with them in a connection – I sort of feel like, this *is* the beginning of my ‘lost’ CUHK experience, of what I lacked and sort of yearned for in order to ‘complete’ myself to be part of the old cusp/ cugc communities.

Plus CUEGC is at a completely next-level vantage point. Get a lot closer contact with decision-making senior management and get to know how this giant machine called CUHK runs in a lot more specific detail. And I like Ann’s work ethic which is like mine, which is quite task-oriented and on point. 🙂

So the last thing I want to talk about, is honeymoon. As with CUEGC, before any more serious ‘infactuation’ takes place, I realise I have a fucking, very, super, intensive honeymoon with many things crossing my life.

I want to give them the portrait originally intended for Chris, and I sort of know/ feel like that could further cement my relationship as an appreciated, hardworking member of lots of potential in the group. However I feel like I want to hold myself back a bit, to burst into working and imaging things soooo freeeeaaaakkkking gonna work out than … taking a step back, hold myself together, get dedicated without being excessively infactuated about the prospect of this whole new empire (almost like a mine filled with ‘potential (to organise, to make good friendships, to fulfill my lost wishes…..)’) …

Most of the time, I realised, when I receive love, I want to tell that I felt it and I want to give back.

And that giving back is often than not misplaced, but true and intense.

Misplaced in the sense of, being diverted onto some other stuff that I tried my freaking best to guess what that person would be impressed with, or simply quite indulgent physical pleasures and moments of biss. Of course with organising with a common purpose it’s different. But I can sense that I am getting people’s contact and be more talkable because I sort of have an ulterior motive of wanting to ‘organise’ in the future. I am already letting that eye in, of guessing what I should do ahead, being a bit (or quite) 懶醒, being super eager & efficient in tackling tasks ..

With a distance and in a new setting, it’s like having a control experiment with my past and I can see how I differ from other people. I surely have efficient lingustic and writing capacities, and I am super task-oriented in that I am like a self-whipped 秘書 — when I get that something has to be done, I sort of get tense and keep on asking for assurances until I am assured that that’s happening according to plans. In the past few days I’ve surely learnt perfect planning ahead is literally impossible, given that a bunch of uncontrollable popos and seniors with their heads burning could make decisions that completely fuck up your original plan, and then, you work on what you have at hand and adjust, knowing that sometimes that spared, unused effort actually means a good thing. It’s surely a series of new (life) lessons for me to be out of that orderly office, boxed and working on one concept after another in an endless chase for their relevance to the real, evolving world. Welcome myself to the world of swirling agency and condequences.

So that’s my last two hectic days. Glad you guys are still around.

Anna x

Author: Veronique

To be tenacious, patient and independent.

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