It seems it doesn't take long for me to get into the swing of things and get busy. As well as all the action here I am also keeping up with the emails and projects back home. It feels important to do that and an hour or two a day is all it takes at this moment.
Today was all about HKU and the ConFest with a theme of Lost and Found. The university is huge with a massive international student body as well as many many local HK people. The campus spreads from where I am staying on top of the hill for miles up and down steps and escalators. My first job is a OMB parade to launch the lunchtime concert in a lovely open space called the Brick Wall. It brings smiles to people and sweat to my brow in the heat!
The concert has a few acts including (randomly) a Swiss a-capella group (with Beatboxer). The afternoon follows on with a session called "Umbrella Stories" where a small group of students share their experiences of being at the protests and discuss the next moves. I come into the end of this and start writing with them.
2 hours later we have written 3 interesting songs that link the theme of ConFest to the protests. One is about Finding the Vote - and then what do you do ! another is about the conflict between parents and children over the protests. How a girl has found herself and her voice yet her parents do not agree with the way of protesting and do not want her to go out. I am finding this is a common conversation
"I'm going , I'm not going out for fun
Someones told me and there's something to be done
We'll take to the streets because we believe
This is my way to express my need"
Very interesting working with Chi Chung (the leader of the Gen Ed Unit who has invited me each year) - a person with a great compassion for students and their feelings and thoughts.
At the student union they have collected so much for the protests. There is a great sense of contribution and connection.The final session is a talk by Jay - one of the directors of the major music and arts festival in Hong Kong called CLOCKENFLAP. In it's 8th year it has grown huge and this year expects to host 35,000 people. He talks about the challenges, the joy, the growth, the context in HK etc. Interesting and I try to imagine how we can connect. Tony (their marketing director) invites me as a one man band to come to the event they are holding in 10 days time. It may be possible.
The evening is back to Mongkok to meet Eric, eat food and walk the protest streets. At the cool street cafe where we meet (where you pay what you think the food is worth) the woman serving looks at me and recognises me from 5 years ago and the LONG WALK. She was a school student in the choir ! So cool to make that connection.
The barricades at Mongkok have been strengthened with bamboo with help from scaffolders working on local buildings.
At one barricade a shrine has been built with a god that is the one that is connected to the police force. People light incense.
On the street we meet Chuen and some other friends and sit and talk and walk and watch. It is very calm and many people are engaged in discussion, while others sit, chat and talk on phones. This new movement is bringing people out on the streets, connecting and contributing. So powerful. The government have backed out of talks scheduled for tomorrow. We wonder what that will mean. I will be away in Shenzen so will miss the weekend developments - and being in China won't hear about them! I leave at 1am to catch the last MTR home.
She said she wasn't sure what she would do with the vote
When she gets it, because she is sure she will.
Her life is already changed, she’s out there now
Less worried about how she looks or how
Other people think of her and until
The people in power listen and talk. Watch out.