East

This is night six in Hong Kong, three days of work completed, twenty-two to go. For someone who’s never been east of Copenhagen, it’s an interesting experience, particularly to have arrived during interesting times, occupations in the streets, an “Umbrella Revolution”, which is dissipating slightly but not fading away. Last night I met some resident poets at a poetry cafe event, a broad selection of freshly-hewn poems on a wide range of topics, from the implications of the protests to a veritable cornucopia of genitalia. Most entertaining. Staying in a smart hotel, it’s easy to bypass any sense of real action or engagement, but talking with and listening to the poets gave a clear impression of the tensions around, and particularly the likelihood of a consequent crackdown instantly on any smatterings of something similar in China itself.

So I sat in the lovely Lai Chi Kok park at lunchtime, eating my Subway veggie roll, a few locals dotted about doing their keep-fit and their tai chi, and wrote a couple of poems, and read some Zizek. Having only one job to focus on for a few weeks allows much more space than usual for contemplation. But generally Hong Kong is packed full of people, tower blocks everywhere, some old, some new, some falling down, a conurbation unlike anything in UK, and in the hotel area, endless parades of high-end luxury branded shops, and I assume people with money to spend in them. The air outside is hot and sticky, the air-conditioning is cool, and ecological concerns seem far away, out of mind, here.

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