Ching Ming

Apr. 23rd, 2012 07:55 pm
nirinia: (Default)
I'm supposed to be reading about causation (and I'm barely resisting a terrible quote about cause and effect), so what better time to update LJ? I think I've forgotten to mention that we went to Hong Kong over Easter. It's a strange city, they've built skyscrapers in the water. The city itself is partly on the Hong Kong Island, and partly on the mainland. By filling in the harbour, they've got additional space, but there is very little water left. I think there must be more skyscrapers than in Manhattan. And in-between all the glass towers there is an occasional market, with stainless steel outdoors kitchens in the street, fish in polystyrene tanks and derelict Chinese medicine shops.

Because there is so little space on the ground level, they've built into the hillside behind. The streets are often cramped and winding, which makes travel upwards difficult. In order to make things easier they built the worlds longest escalator. It is outdoors, moves between the houses and up from the lowest city level to the mid-levels. If you live in the mid-levels and work in the lower levels of Central, you could go out of your flat, take the escalators to work and stay dry most of the way. And there are elevated, roofed gangways between the buildings. You can get off the underground, go up to the gangways and walk through most of Central, I think. I felt disconnected from the city on the gangways, they were stainless steel and full of people, but you looked down on the traffic and the streets.

We lived in Sha Tin, at the Mission station my great great grandfather built, Tao Fong Shan, where my grandfather grew up. Sha Tin is in the New Territories, one of the cities the government built to house the masses of refugees after the war. It consists mostly of government housing projects, massive shopping centres and cultural buildings around the river. There's the same odd juxtaposition of very old and very modern. On the city's edge there are old houses, a Buddhist temple and small cemeteries in the hillside.

The Buddhist temple, Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery, has become a tourist trap, despite some four hundred steps to reach the top. When we got there there were people queuing everywhere. Streets were roped off, police officers direct people through the throng. We were in the middle of Ching Ming, the Chinese all hallow's eve or festival of the dead. They burn paper money, paper food, clothes and incense as an offering to their ancestors. The Chinese are a practical people, they don't offer real food, everything is made of paper. All this is sold in temporary boots across the city on Ching Ming.

On the final day, After a turn on the escalators, we ended up in SoHo (South of Hollywood Street). There are a lot of expatriates in Hong Kong, particularly European bankers, and they've created a European refuge in SoHo. English pubs, Greek, Russian and Italian restaurants. We found an Italian place that was built into an alley, where the proprietor had never been to Europe, but played Italian opera and served Limoncello after lunch. Most of the customers were not Chinese, but the three who were sat next to us, and were fascinated by how we ate, it seemed. I had an asparagus soup as a starter, and the lady next to me watched in fascination as I used my spoon. I caught her mirroring my eating, though she was having pizza. I expect it's the first and last time I will ever feel exotic with a spoon. The roles were reversed, I spent much of the holiday looking covertly at the locals eating, trying to copy them.

We had drinks on the top of the Peak, ate living sponge soaked in a spicy sauce, fried squid balls the texture of bouncy balls, dried jellyfish and got caught in unseasonably heavy rain at the Ladies Market. The forecast promised a light shower; I stood in water to my ankles in the street. My umbrella developed a hole in the middle, we bought flip-flops and walked through half of Kowloon to the Jade Market. And I scared a local man to death on the way. My brother and I were both sick of complaints, I had had enough of the rain and he dared me to jump in a puddle. I ran towards it, and jumped squarely in, umbrella sticking out and flip-flops nearly flying off. Grandfather says they call whites 'sea-devils', and the poor man who stood across the road looked like he had just had all his worst fears confirmed. I should have grinned and shouted, 'Ching Ming!' Ching Ming turned into a greeting and/or an expletive after a few days of use.
nirinia: (Default)
I'm running away tomorrow. To the cottage, with no technology except a crappy tv with one channel. To eat so much I readily swear off food when I get home, cackle over board games like Monopoly and Ludo (I slay at them!), drink too much wine, and make things like 'munker' (a type of pastry, looks much like these, only mine rarely turn out pretty). As always, I set out with a stack of books, a mission to get through them, write clever things about them, and arrive at some epiphany. It never happens, at most I read two books and think about the last half of the first one. The last three I forget to take back home, never to retrieve them. The shelves are enormously happy to be rid of the burden, I imagine.

Anette asked if I would like to go on an InterRail trip this summer. While we get along great, long, dirty train journeys and I do not. (The Orient Express I could survive, though.) Neither do I get along well with hostels, or holidays involving backpacks – unless they also entail mountains and dogs. The conversation went something like this:

'Alex, would you like to join me for an InterRail trip?', she said, offering a cup of coffee.
'Er, well, perhaps. Yeah. Where and when?' I said.
'Oh, no, wait. You're you. I don't think this is such a good idea, after all. I'm thinking a month, with backpacks and no showers.'
'Right. I could do it, but you'd have to feed me every third–fourth hour, and make sure I get to at least wash my face every day.'
'Let's just go with New York.', she concludes, looking down at my new boots.

She was taken aback when I told her the cottage is not a palace we retreat to in the summer. I don't know where she gets these ridiculous ideas. A girl cannot, apparently, like both cities, shoes and forests. (I say all this with great affection, even as I try to teach her how to survive in the city.)

By the way, I suspect my aversion to cheap travelling is hereditary. Father yelled up at me, when he was making reservations for a trip in England a few years ago: 'I am sick of hotels being a let-down, beds with a oblivions in the middle and crappy breakfasts. We're doing this properly. You will apparently have to wear something that is not jeans to breakfast.'

Will catch up with everything on Monday. Will miss being scared to death of Bioshock 2 til Monday.
nirinia: (Default)
I'm running away tomorrow. To the cottage, with no technology except a crappy tv with one channel. To eat so much I readily swear off food when I get home, cackle over board games like Monopoly and Ludo (I slay at them!), drink too much wine, and make things like 'munker' (a type of pastry, looks much like these, only mine rarely turn out pretty). As always, I set out with a stack of books, a mission to get through them, write clever things about them, and arrive at some epiphany. It never happens, at most I read two books and think about the last half of the first one. The last three I forget to take back home, never to retrieve them. The shelves are enormously happy to be rid of the burden, I imagine.

Anette asked if I would like to go on an InterRail trip this summer. While we get along great, long, dirty train journeys and I do not. (The Orient Express I could survive, though.) Neither do I get along well with hostels, or holidays involving backpacks – unless they also entail mountains and dogs. The conversation went something like this:

'Alex, would you like to join me for an InterRail trip?', she said, offering a cup of coffee.
'Er, well, perhaps. Yeah. Where and when?' I said.
'Oh, no, wait. You're you. I don't think this is such a good idea, after all. I'm thinking a month, with backpacks and no showers.'
'Right. I could do it, but you'd have to feed me every third–fourth hour, and make sure I get to at least wash my face every day.'
'Let's just go with New York.', she concludes, looking down at my new boots.

She was taken aback when I told her the cottage is not a palace we retreat to in the summer. I don't know where she gets these ridiculous ideas. A girl cannot, apparently, like both cities, shoes and forests. (I say all this with great affection, even as I try to teach her how to survive in the city.)

By the way, I suspect my aversion to cheap travelling is hereditary. Father yelled up at me, when he was making reservations for a trip in England a few years ago: 'I am sick of hotels being a let-down, beds with a oblivions in the middle and crappy breakfasts. We're doing this properly. You will apparently have to wear something that is not jeans to breakfast.'

Will catch up with everything on Monday. Will miss being scared to death of Bioshock 2 til Monday.
nirinia: (Default)
Why is it, that when I do LJ, I am always procrastinating? Is it the nature of the friends page that makes it so totally unavoidable when I have things to avoid?

London is looking less and less likely, fuck it all. I need to contain my expectations, or I will end up furious and disappointed. Which leads to nothing good, no concentration, decapitations left and right.

(You've also just experienced what teachers and lecturers alike have been hounding me for for years: my excessive use of punctuation. The commas are there for a reason, you do not leave them out, they are important. It is a matter of style and I get to direct how you read what I write. Commas and semicolons are also the only way of getting my non-stop sentences pronouncable.)

Right, what I was really going to write, is this: I think I have come to the bottom of my postmodern project. What the internet has done is create a connection, and it created serious hypertextuality. Now all I need to do is spend a few weeks in the library, reading up on what everyone else has said about it and make lists of why, exactly, they're wrong. Perhaps this is the way I will change the world, not by cracking open chests and holding hearts, but by wrecking literature.
nirinia: (Default)
Why is it, that when I do LJ, I am always procrastinating? Is it the nature of the friends page that makes it so totally unavoidable when I have things to avoid?

London is looking less and less likely, fuck it all. I need to contain my expectations, or I will end up furious and disappointed. Which leads to nothing good, no concentration, decapitations left and right.

(You've also just experienced what teachers and lecturers alike have been hounding me for for years: my excessive use of punctuation. The commas are there for a reason, you do not leave them out, they are important. It is a matter of style and I get to direct how you read what I write. Commas and semicolons are also the only way of getting my non-stop sentences pronouncable.)

Right, what I was really going to write, is this: I think I have come to the bottom of my postmodern project. What the internet has done is create a connection, and it created serious hypertextuality. Now all I need to do is spend a few weeks in the library, reading up on what everyone else has said about it and make lists of why, exactly, they're wrong. Perhaps this is the way I will change the world, not by cracking open chests and holding hearts, but by wrecking literature.
nirinia: (Default)
I leave for the airport at a quarter past five tomorrow morning. It'll be 'morning of the living dead'. The only downside to flying is that planning my day around my meals does not really work. Bye, bye, Darlings!
nirinia: (Default)
I leave for the airport at a quarter past five tomorrow morning. It'll be 'morning of the living dead'. The only downside to flying is that planning my day around my meals does not really work. Bye, bye, Darlings!
nirinia: (Default)
I've found a way to get to Montpellier, I think I'm leaving the 9th of June. Flight to London, then on to Montpellier. No mucking about in Paris to find one of the Gares de *insert random name*, and no hopelessly expensive train tickets.

One essay down, one to go. Brain fried, and I've got til 23:59 tomorrow to write the second one. Logically, I should be writing till I fall asleep on the keyboard. I'm going to watch bad TV and read Bolano.

And, oh, yeah, the new complainers here is apparently involuntary fathers. Right. They just fucked someone without protection, they didn't think there might be consequences. Let's complain. Essay-writing apparently makes me snarky, how was I to know?
nirinia: (Default)
I've found a way to get to Montpellier, I think I'm leaving the 9th of June. Flight to London, then on to Montpellier. No mucking about in Paris to find one of the Gares de *insert random name*, and no hopelessly expensive train tickets.

One essay down, one to go. Brain fried, and I've got til 23:59 tomorrow to write the second one. Logically, I should be writing till I fall asleep on the keyboard. I'm going to watch bad TV and read Bolano.

And, oh, yeah, the new complainers here is apparently involuntary fathers. Right. They just fucked someone without protection, they didn't think there might be consequences. Let's complain. Essay-writing apparently makes me snarky, how was I to know?
nirinia: (Default)
When I'd chirped my customary "Are you looking for anything in particular?" at a customer, she turned around, smiled broadly and told me how pleased she was to see me. I have no idea who in the world the woman is. She's not a teacher, I've kept decent track of those (for fear of the catching me unawares). So who is she? I have no idea. She was convinced I could do anything I wanted to, she assured me, after asking what I was doing during the week – automatically assuming that I'm not just working. Where does this boundless faith in my abilities come from?

We had my grandparents over for dinner: it was loud, we had too much wine and food, always good fun.

I officially want longer hair. Shoulder-length, I think. My hair-dresser will have a fit when I tell her, hah! She never gets over how much hair there is on my head, and even gave up blow-drying it straight with a loud "Fuck this!". Also definitely going to Montpellier this summer, and lobbying for a new trip to Hong Kong.
nirinia: (Default)
When I'd chirped my customary "Are you looking for anything in particular?" at a customer, she turned around, smiled broadly and told me how pleased she was to see me. I have no idea who in the world the woman is. She's not a teacher, I've kept decent track of those (for fear of the catching me unawares). So who is she? I have no idea. She was convinced I could do anything I wanted to, she assured me, after asking what I was doing during the week – automatically assuming that I'm not just working. Where does this boundless faith in my abilities come from?

We had my grandparents over for dinner: it was loud, we had too much wine and food, always good fun.

I officially want longer hair. Shoulder-length, I think. My hair-dresser will have a fit when I tell her, hah! She never gets over how much hair there is on my head, and even gave up blow-drying it straight with a loud "Fuck this!". Also definitely going to Montpellier this summer, and lobbying for a new trip to Hong Kong.
nirinia: (Default)
Writing a paper on Shakespeare's Julius Caesar and how people can "construe things after their own fashion" is not my idea of a good time. Why did I get stuck with this basic idiocy? (Don't remind me that I'm re-taking this because I want an A, totally irrelevant.) I, and everyone else, knows that everything is relevant. And that rhetoric is a very powerful tool.

I'd, to be honest, much rather debate in depth the uses of free indirect discourse. Or read theory (though I'm not sure I care much for anything post-New Criticism).

But, I've been slightly productive and come to a conclusion: Post-modernism did not exist before the internet. What came before was a continuation of modernism, and what we have now is really a development of that. In other words we lack an anti-thesis to modernism. It's modernism + internet. It is really just the modernist angst, distrust and "fragmentarism" taken one step further. If we are to speak of something called post-modernism it must be literature post-internet. The number of published writers, the lack of "prophetic theorists" leaves us with no serious movements to speak of: where did the real experimentalists go?

Though Bolano makes it all ok. His free indirect discourse makes the world a better place.



Disclaimer: this is not supposed to make sense. It is not coherent, and severely lacks cohesion, I'm sure. It's what too much dinner does to you.

NB, I'm sure I've written about my dislike for Paris, non? This blog wanted me to go back, and wallow in it. I'm beginning to suspect there is something about Paris I'm not getting. The idea of sharing a plate of oysters is decadently appealing. Perhaps I can ease into it with Montpellier this summer?
nirinia: (Default)
Writing a paper on Shakespeare's Julius Caesar and how people can "construe things after their own fashion" is not my idea of a good time. Why did I get stuck with this basic idiocy? (Don't remind me that I'm re-taking this because I want an A, totally irrelevant.) I, and everyone else, knows that everything is relevant. And that rhetoric is a very powerful tool.

I'd, to be honest, much rather debate in depth the uses of free indirect discourse. Or read theory (though I'm not sure I care much for anything post-New Criticism).

But, I've been slightly productive and come to a conclusion: Post-modernism did not exist before the internet. What came before was a continuation of modernism, and what we have now is really a development of that. In other words we lack an anti-thesis to modernism. It's modernism + internet. It is really just the modernist angst, distrust and "fragmentarism" taken one step further. If we are to speak of something called post-modernism it must be literature post-internet. The number of published writers, the lack of "prophetic theorists" leaves us with no serious movements to speak of: where did the real experimentalists go?

Though Bolano makes it all ok. His free indirect discourse makes the world a better place.



Disclaimer: this is not supposed to make sense. It is not coherent, and severely lacks cohesion, I'm sure. It's what too much dinner does to you.

NB, I'm sure I've written about my dislike for Paris, non? This blog wanted me to go back, and wallow in it. I'm beginning to suspect there is something about Paris I'm not getting. The idea of sharing a plate of oysters is decadently appealing. Perhaps I can ease into it with Montpellier this summer?
nirinia: (Default)
London was a success, of course and again. Mother and I survived without fighting, hogging the duvet, killing or otherwise harming each other. I discovered I have a decent grasp of London geography. We shopped, feasted on Chinese food, rode carousels in Leicester Square, had afternoon naps, second breakfasts and too much coffee. I miss skinny cappuccinos already.

We stayed at The Hoxton, I cannot recommend it highly enough. Light complimentary breakfast, clean, good-standard rooms in a building built and designed as a hotel (not a town house). The bathrooms are entirely tiled, clean and all appliances in working order. The showers do not only work, but are wonderful. Staff is welcoming and helpful, and the food at the grille is good. And I happen to love the scattered modern art.

I shopped quite a bit. Tops, make-up, books, brushes, a bag, and a pair of shoes. All I have to show you is the shoes. Fall/Winter 2009, I think, D&G. I love them. Moar oxfords. Finally, I have my claws on the MAC 187 brush, can't wait to try it out with my Mineralise Skinfinish. I'm told it will work wonders. I got another Coetzee book, Elizabeth Costello, and one by Murdoch. Can't recall the title.

Now there's the make-up Exfac exam on Monday, buying piles of piles of book and taking on the new semester. I hope it doesn't turn out to be insanely much work, I don't think it will. But who knows. And seriously, who scehdules a lecture at 9 in the morning? No one but a linguist. They're the only ones in the humanities that keeps normal hours.
nirinia: (Default)
London was a success, of course and again. Mother and I survived without fighting, hogging the duvet, killing or otherwise harming each other. I discovered I have a decent grasp of London geography. We shopped, feasted on Chinese food, rode carousels in Leicester Square, had afternoon naps, second breakfasts and too much coffee. I miss skinny cappuccinos already.

We stayed at The Hoxton, I cannot recommend it highly enough. Light complimentary breakfast, clean, good-standard rooms in a building built and designed as a hotel (not a town house). The bathrooms are entirely tiled, clean and all appliances in working order. The showers do not only work, but are wonderful. Staff is welcoming and helpful, and the food at the grille is good. And I happen to love the scattered modern art.

I shopped quite a bit. Tops, make-up, books, brushes, a bag, and a pair of shoes. All I have to show you is the shoes. Fall/Winter 2009, I think, D&G. I love them. Moar oxfords. Finally, I have my claws on the MAC 187 brush, can't wait to try it out with my Mineralise Skinfinish. I'm told it will work wonders. I got another Coetzee book, Elizabeth Costello, and one by Murdoch. Can't recall the title.

Now there's the make-up Exfac exam on Monday, buying piles of piles of book and taking on the new semester. I hope it doesn't turn out to be insanely much work, I don't think it will. But who knows. And seriously, who scehdules a lecture at 9 in the morning? No one but a linguist. They're the only ones in the humanities that keeps normal hours.

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