Clear some clouds: Funeral Blues, protest against EMO

So I am the type that’s easily carried away by myself. I am impatient and easily excited/ irritated. So that’s why after a morning packed with (social) action, I am still in a somehow excited and restless mode and need this writing to cool myself down a bit. It’s a part of me that I really need to find a way to understand, tame and deal with, and writing things out help A LOT. For instance, while I was helping with article review at the student paper, my urge to spell out every SINGLE thing I find puzzling on the article was immensely eased by first putting all of them in form of comments on the google doc (there are like 20 of them), *then* I can get into a much more balanced and equal discussion with all the other teammates. Being able to rest my restless mind on a piece of paper knowing they are acknowledged somehow means a hell lot to my normal functioning, let alone communication.

And yes you guys don’t know how hard I tried to hold myself back just now, during our 20-people protest from S.H.Ho College front door to Estate Management Office’s front door (in between S.H.Ho and Jockey Club Research Students’ dorm, right beneath the sports ground). I really wanted to grab the microphone from the leader because she was a bit too clumsy, she didn’t shout loud enough, etc. and I kept telling myself, no, you ARE NOT the organiser and you DID NOT put in the level of effort that they did in organsing this and NO ONE deserves to be ‘replaced’ just because they are LESS GOOD at something. Hell, this is my demon, the eternal *urge* to make things pleasing and ‘perfect’ in my eyes. That probably makes an OCD-meticulous researcher, but NOT an organiser, nor an activist because I am far, far too impatient and jumpy. Can’t hold back lines that are not meant to be said in the open.

But hell, it was such a day. I was able to show the face I sigh with at home time and time over, seeing how fucking stupid and messed up and senseless the world revolving around me is. Show it right in front of the wrongdoers. It was SUCH A RELIEF.

*

So a guy who is only a year or a few months younger than me is dying from impact from fall when he was escaping teargas attack in TKO.

This is unacceptable.

As a person who fascinated death and means to death especially by impact from fall at a height, it was only a 1/F difference. It worked because it was accidental (victim not alert nor deliberate) *and* he fell head down. Head down. A rule I remember I kept reminding myself to make execution work.

Of course these things are a bit far away from me right now, and I didn’t think of these immediately from the news – I was affected simply by the news itself. The guy’s innocence and the popo’s brutality in delaying crucial rescue for 30 minutes. THIRTY MINUTES. Use your brain and think of how precious those 30 minutes were.

But yea thinking of my past experience sort of added another layer of linkage between me and the news, or the guy to be more precise. He didn’t mean it. But he received the consequence. He didn’t want it, nor willed it. He didn’t. He was murdered. (In a sense, I’m not trying to make a legal claim).

I now relate a lot better to the sense of urgency and desperation among the active crowd – what am I doing right now, here? Why am I continuing my normal life when something as outrageous as this is happening simultaneously. Should we not shut down everything and demand justice?

Funeral Blues

by W. H. Auden

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message ‘He is Dead’.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Funeral Blues.

But of course with all the editing I’ve been through with the student paper and from all other readings and discussions, I know it’s important to make the ultimate weapon – by, for and from the mass – patiently and calmly. But yea maybe it’s my emotions awakening after a period of going crazy on my own issues – it hurts to stay calm. It used not to feel this way.

It hurts to stay calm.

*

I’ll try my best to continue, bracking this issue for the moment.

So yes, we were at a demo against the EMO demanding safety precautions be taken for cleaners cleaning slogans and pictures scribbled by students and whoever all over the campus. I stood with my pair of sunglasses quite at the front holding photo evidence of them working under unsafe conditions, e.g. wearing only an N95 mask when allegedly using thinner, a highly toxic chemical, having to stand on a thinner tin when cleaning up slogans at a heights, having to sit on some make-shift plastic stuff rather than a proper chair when doing the work, etc. So I shouted at the top of my voice to the extent that I coughed in between alternating slogans while we rallied to our destination.

The feeling I get is that the whole response is very civilised-seeming and bureaucratic in all the non-sensical ways. Main counter-claims made by them: that we are not certain if the workers pictured wearing N95 masks while cleaning up at the time were actually working with thinner, or some other non-hazardous solvents (so we are mistaken to blame them without CERTAIN evidence); that there are so many locations all over the campus given how freaking big the EMO team is and how freaking many sub-contractors they have under them, that they CANNOT ASCERTAIN who did what and where and when; why not let the workers come and tell us, we have been so receptive and concerned about their safety ALL THE TIME; why don’t we discuss LATER at a BETTER timing and location than this awkward situation right now, the two of them (director Mr. Lam and assistant director Ms. Lai of the EMO) being surrounded by placards and having to hold an empty thinner can (a prop); please BE REST ASSURED that we have our monitoring and checks systems to deal with issues of this kind; ……

No names of company, no extent of outsourcing (explanation: CU-employed workers are overworked, we don’t want to add to their burden right?), some vague promise on immediate safety checks, promise of meeting up in roughly a month after being repeatedly pressured into making that clear …

It’s just exhausting and irritating to hear how they respond by not responding to the point e.g. outsourcing is necessary because CU staff lacks specialised skills like lift fixing. Come on, we have solid witnesses and proof that floor and toilet cleaners are being outsourced, on the picture right in front of you, lady.

And the insistence on ‘civilised’ communication – ‘calm down, you students, listen to me’ attitude when they said non-sense like the above. Paternalism. So things changed a bit for the better when a friend and I revealed ourselves as alumni and staff.

Confronting the establishment and their bureaucratic logic – which to some extent is understandable – is always, always frustrating. Why do you keep squaring the circle? Why can’t you call a spade a spade? Huh? Why? What keeps you from speaking the obvious truth and admitting guilt?

This is probably my deep, deep frustration with the HK ruling class in general. Just man up and own up to the mess YOU STARTED AND BROILED. It takes a lot of courage, but it has to be done.

Like how I am trying to fix myself and my own denialisms… slowly by first admitting fault and, maybe simply exhaustation and tiredness. (Don’t think that’s directly comparable but still).

*

So I wanted to write more about my emotions towards people that meant a lot to me, as this action in the morning also drew me back a bit towards some of them and sometimes I am less than comfortable with the suddenly contracted distance than the new normalcy I am adapting to. I want to iron them out and be able to confront myself and them better.

And also, some people very important to me kept returning to my dreams in consecutive days. I want to iron that emotion out a bit too, perhaps later on. That’s a thing I want to do for my last week, and for some long unreplied letters, responses awaited by someone also dear to me.

Thanks for listening and I hope we can weather things through together.

Anna x