How to describe this day - so much to take in, understand and hope to share. Yesterdays post was so long that even though today was more intense I will try to keep it simple
Morning view from hotel window - the electric to power this Fashion District of 500,000 migrant workers and a very small original population
Orientation start with Dim Sum with Luki - our host - and the film cameramen who follow us ALL day to make the film of the 2 days
We visit one of the libraries - 400 people come each day to progress - the majority of the workers are young, skilled school graduates who are looking to move on - learning is vital.
The Mountain Park is one of 6 in the district - created to help develop a quality of life for these many young, displaced people by an innovative social government entrepreneur
An Old Church, built in 1880 so that local Hakka children didn’t travel to Hong Kong to study is finally being renovated and will become a community centre in this very old Hakka village (in a city) which retains old lanes and a large pond which both shows it’s wealth and also creates a place of calm.
The new Fashion District will focus on even more high end clothes for the middle class population of China - currently he district supplies 60% of the clothing for this market in China. Susanna Zhu joins us briefly - the arts manager who connected me to this project last year.
Vegan lunch is splendid in a Budhist restaurant where the conversation ranges all over the place and where we are joined by Cathy - an anthropologist living in Hawai, who speaks (like Maryanne) fluent Mandarin and has written a book about pre independence Macau.
We visit the Park of the Unicorn - where there is a museum that tells the story of the Chi Lin (unicorn) troupes in the district. We talk about tradition and the difficulty of youth engagement.
2 hours of musical collaboration with 2 Hakka singers who share their mountain songs and are then persuaded to improvise, play and experiment.
We rest in Lukis office, drink tea and scheme a plan for next year!
Nightime streets in Dalang commercial district are full of young workers - looking for life.
Dalang Idol attracts a big crowd as young people take their turns to sing and try to get through to the next level.
We visit more squares where people line dance, roller blade, play snooker, sit and chat. A great vibe and as everywhere I have been in China - safe.
Final stop a choir set up out of young men selected from the Pop Idol contest by Luki who meet once a week. They are paid RMB70 for rehearsals and RMB150 for gigs. I teach 2 songs and make a vocal jam on the theme of Saturday night in the city.
Home to get ready for the next day!
So many sights for my eyes
So many sounds for my ears
What great tastes in my mouth.
They all help to make my energy rise
To allay any worries or slight fears
And lead me on to the very next step, without doubt