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I am proud to wear the ribbon

Blossoms Everywhere

Posted in: by Pete Moser on 17 May 2015
Tagged with: Hong Kong 2015

When I'm here, I'm proud to wear the ribbon
When I'm here, I'm proud to sleep on the street
When I'm here, I've found my role in the movement
I know who I am.
Everyday is a different day
The mood moves, tension changes
Everyday is a different day.
Day 1   Curious
Day 2   Explodes
Day 3   Stand up for your rights
Day 4   Frustration
Day 5   We're winning
Day 6   Watch out be alert
Day 7   Surprise attach
Day 8   No Sleep
Day 9   We're in control
Day 10  We're waiting, We're ready to talk, What's the next step


This is the lyric to a song I wrote late in the night last year with one of the protesters.

The Umbrella Festival opened today at the Creative Arts Centre and it was astounding. There is such a flowering of cultural activity 6 months after the physical end of the protests and this is a key moment as the cultural studies department of China University in Hong Kong set up over 12 exhibitions in the centre and organise film shows, discussions, dance and theatre over the next 3 weeks. The seven floors are buzzing with people today. I have never seen it so busy and our partners are at the centre of it all with their spaces occupied with exhibitions as well as being the office centre for the 3 week event. Very happy to be part of this. 

Five of the song makers from 24 Hours in a Revolution (Kiki, Loka, Sally, Ching Yi and me) are performing four songs as part of the opening event and we have rehearsed hard to get the songs ready. We followed the speeches in a 2 hour show of dance, theatre, music and standup.

What is going to happen politically in this city - how will the voices of all these people and the energy of the radical students be harnessed for long term political change?  I think further about this at an evening show at HK Arts Centre. A piece of verbatim theatre, 'Will to Build examines the past, present and future of the city's relentless cycle of construction and destruction and it's effete on the bodies, hearts and minds of the cities inhabitants.'

My day finishes with with Frank and his friends (all about 22 years old), drinking in Central and then up in a sky bar with the classic stunning views across the city.

My pen portraits are sharing the network of people I work with here. Here are some more.


Kiki
We met first in 2012 when she started to connect with the CM work here as part of HK Tales and was just learning about how it all works. She then had a job at Baptist University and now seems to earn a living doing multiple jobs including running the surtitles for shows at the big theatre at APA. She is also an actor and we talk about a new show she is working on that examines the issue of the rewriting of history in the context of a homophobic nuder in the states. The issue is of course relevant here as people fight to keep alive the memory and the truth of the Umbrella movement through culture, trying to make sure that it is not rewritten by the government and those in power.


Sally
A singer, choir leader and teacher who was our coordinator on The Long Walk and then came up to Shanghai as a trainee on the 18 month project there for EXPO 2010. We meet every time I come to the city and she attends training, always seeking out new ideas and trying to think of new ways to keep her work interesting. She is a brilliant translator and also co-songmaker in sessions where she would write the pingying (literally the way it sounds) as songs emerged in Cantonese so that I could sing them and create!


Ching Yi
The lighting designer for HK City Ballet we met last year at the protests where she became involved in the 24 Hours in a Revolution project, mainly as a graphic designer and illustrator. Today she sang in public on stage for the first time!


Frank
The son of old friend and great composer/community musician High Nankivell. I have known him for many years and this is the second time I have stayed in his flat in Jordan when over here. He is on a year long teaching placement and has had a great time in the city, playing rigby, running events, working, getting to know the ins and outs of the place and making friends. He understands well the massive expat world of HK - a fascinating story in itself!