[chinese blood, irish heart] - DEFUNCT: December 2005

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Goddamn flare up

What a wonderful grace period I had for a while.
After finishing the chinese doc's medicine he said that would be the end of it.
But for almost a week now I've been suffering from a mild flare up. Certainly wasn't as bad as before since I'm still able to 'do stuff' and walk with no problem. My left hand is the worse of it so out come the white gloves again. Got a cool new trench coat so I look extra antagonistic with the gloves!
Gonna go back to the doc on the 2nd, see what he has to say. Although I admit I've been a bit lack on the food, I had started eat a little of the forbidden stuff a bit early so whether or not this was the cause I'm doing it 100% this time. Others say it's because of the cold weather (and low humidity) recently but I'm not taking any chances.
Certainly not a 'back to square one'... for now

Thursday, December 22, 2005

That time of the year again..

So it's almost Christmas, that wacky seasonal event where copious intake of joy and goodwill is in order.
It'll be a quiet one for me, not just because I'm away from home, but then again I had lost interest in Christmas a long time ago: The tackily gifted presents, frantic shopping, lucious pine trees all done up nice 'n pretty only to be dumped later and the temporary sense of charity.
Is this real way to celebrate Jesus Christ's birthday? Of course not, it has long been hijacked by PR and advertising companies since the birth of Kris Kringle. Ha, how many Christmas cards do you see Jesus on it?
The New Year is the one for me. A good time for reflection and learning from past mistakes. I know I've had it bad this year, particularly in the past 6 months. But now that I'm recovering nicely, the beginning of 2006 will require me to do some serious soul-searching as to what 'I want to do.' Having being put on hold because of my skin-condition, it also gave me time to think. After the WTO events and getting to know more like-minded individuals, I feel I have the opportunity to move forward if I just give myself that push.
Think I'll enjoy a nice, quiet (and sober!) Christmas.
Have fun everybody.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Well it's been a crazy week

But what a week to remember.

There is just too much to say really, especially of my new-found respect and admiration of the Korean delegation.
The media demonised them as desperate trouble-makers but I saw a group that is devoted, honourable and brave. After the big clash at Wan Chai on Saturday evening, many Hong Kongers finally came to their senses and rallied support for the Korean farmers. Lots of local spectators cheered and even gave gifts to them. Some students went as far as to go on a hunger strike.
As for my first WTO protest event, I saw a lot of similarities to last year's Dublin MayDay- the water cannons were particularly reminiscent. But the protestors- actually i should rephrase them as activists, campaigners, NGOs, workers, peasants, dispossesed and students, are a strikingly different group of people: they're lives are being directly affected by the actions of one such huge global organisation. Their economic security, hence their livelyhood are being ripped apart by the WTO's weapons: tarriffs, subsidies, taxes etc. Some want its destruction, some say reform. But what is for sure is that things cannot continue on the way they are. One slight decision by the higher-ups can adversely affect millions around the world.
Although some may have good intentions, it is inherently wrong to make such decisions without prior discussion to the ones who'll be affected, namely the subsistent farmers. Governments have a duty to maintain the livelyhoods of its citizens, but yet some let the WTO plough through their systems. There is much work needed to be done, and a lot more 'JUNK JUNK WTO' chanting.
Now that I'm due for some overtime sleep and recovery of my horrible cold, I look forward to sorting out my 15 hours of footage and hundreds of photos. Can't believe Christmas is only a week away. Hopefully I'll find something to keep me entertained.
I've compiled the best pics of the week:
If you wanna see riot/violence pics go buy a tabloid

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A change of scenery

Headed to Victoria Park for a few interviews with Phillipino NGOs. Since I thought the Korean groups would take a break today from yesterday's clashes, they once again charged at the police cordon with much more vigour, but still unable to break through.

So instead I had went to the Oxfam's 'Make Trade Fair' exhibition. It was much like an international shopping mall: locally produced handicrafts from Palesteine, Kenya, Brazil and S.E Asia were made under the 'Fair Trade' banner. Most were even made from recycled materials or fruits. Bought a few souveneirs to furnish my new apartment, and for a good cause ha!

For more pictures visit my Photo blog

.. Posted by Picasa

HKPA's banner Posted by Picasa

Artistic protest Posted by Picasa

Protest kicks off at Victoria Park Posted by Picasa

Korean farmers Posted by Picasa

Trapped by GATTS Posted by Picasa

Memorial for Lee Kyeong-hae Posted by Picasa

Burial for WTO Posted by Picasa

Flag-wielding Korean Posted by Picasa

WTO Protest Action

An estimated 5000-10,000 (still preliminary) protestors gathered in Hong Kong's Victoria Park and marched their way to the Exhibition Centre where the WTO 6th Ministerial Conference has just begun.Protestors from all over south-east Asia expressed their solidarity with cultural gatherings and workshops. But the most hyped group are the South Korean farmers who made headline news when Lee Kyeong-hae commited suicide at Cancun 2003..

Only a short hour's march from Victoria Park to the assembly area near the Exhibition Centre, the loud but peaceful rally went through one of Hong Kong's busiest cosmomopolitan areas- Causeway Bay and Wan Chai. With 9,000 police on duty, a third of Hong Kong's force, navy riot helmets and shields were as common as the ordinary spectator. An interesting point is that very few Hong Kongers took to the streets and many citizens were both simply annoyed and bemused at the event. Most can thank the mainstream media's pre-coverage, which was reminiscent of each year's MayDay in Dublin; news bulletins predicting doom and chaos. But then again since the protests are mainly about agriculture and manufacturing, these two industries are practically non-existent in Hong Kong (mainly services based), so that is why the WTO chose HK perhaps?
One highlight was when 50 Korean farmers (they sure know how to make a scene) jumped into Wan Chai harbour and tried to swim towards the blockaded Exhibition Centre. Most were predictably picked up by the naval guards.Towards the end of today's rally there were short outbursts of violence, again mainly by Korean farmers. Pepper sprays were today's special on the menu.The People's Action Week continues till the 18th with many events and rallies along the way.

Fore more info:
Hong Kong People's Alliance on WTO
Our World is Not For Sale
Make Trade Fair (Oxfam)

Article also featured on Indymedia Ireland

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Oh great, another monolouge

Find a cure for my skin condition was my official reason for staying in Hong Kong. As I got better at a slow but steady pace, I enrolled into a DV film-making course which lasted till March. Then the hype of the WTO here added my interest to stay in Hong Kong. Afterwards I hope to find some work in the media industry and get experience- an important factor for my portfolio.

On paper it seems like a good short-term future. I've got an apartment here, a bunch of caring relatives and good knowledge of Hong Kong. All i need now is start posting my CV's around the place. Unfortunately I had realised it just isn't that easy. I'm still thinking with an Irish/Dublin mindset. Hong Kong and East Asia operates differently and is much harder to find work I'm led to believe. Looking back on my work experience in Dublin, in most cases I was either introduced or via favours that I had found jobs. Nothing was achieved by myself. In other cases I had failed to achieve on my own- either because of bad luck or bad self-management.

Thinking back, as I did on my long flight, I had known this all along but still sat on the cushy ride. I knew going to Hong Kong would mean living on my own and trying to sustain myself independently would be an enormous task. It is just especially difficult in a competitive (and somewhat still foreign place) like Hong Kong. I do think I left Ireland too soon. Perhaps I should've stayed and worked at my company to earn more, or maybe utilise my contacts and found some media work. All that seemed irrelevant once I made my decision.
I've been thinking about this since I went back to Ireland. Upon leaving almost everything behind, I pondered why I still wanted to go. My skin had gotten much better and there was no need for me to stay in HK, near to the 'Miracle Doctor' in China. Then what about the upcoming WTO events? Sure they only last for a week and then it'd be history. My film-making course? So far it's been pants. I'm just re-learning what I knew. I'm starting to wonder if I'm ready for life in Hong Kong, when I was young I had always hated to think of living here. So why am I 10,000 miles away from home? I hate to think it's because I'm running away from problems are trying to forget.

A famous fortune teller from Macau once told me I would meet the love of my life when I'm 21. After a few errors and mismatches, I now know he's wrong now, even though he had been pratically spot-on with everything else (so far). Hearing so many success stories of feng shui telling, I still grappled on to small shreds of belief, hoping something will come through. Not only was he wrong but damn right misleading. Sure I probably met thhat person, but that was literally it- 'meet'. Nothing else, just had the pleasure of knowing her. Soon to be a past acquantince if I keep this up, yet I still keep something to remember by.

Like the old chinese saying which I'm still unusually fond of- 'fate brought us, but destiny did not follow.'

You were wrong old man. But you're all right, I slap myself for being so passive.
I know I sound like such a pussy but I do believe two people are brought together for a reason and while true love may sound so old-skool and well, I guess I'll use the word 'gay' (Dubliners know what i mean), I think it's what everyone hopes for at some stage in life yet it can get obscured. The relentless drive for wealth and power that people have in this age makes me nauseous and angry. These are the ones who think love is for a 'fine Cuban cigar.' So you can see why I think about this kind of stuff and why I hate the likes of WTO.
I would like to think this is just a passing thought, an urge to write something in my blog cos I can't sleep. I would like tommorow to be a fresh start, so let's make it happen.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Christmas in Dublin

The Xmas tree by the Millennium Spire in Dublin city.

Back to the Kong

It was tough recovering from the jet lag but I managed to struggle with my tight schedule during my short trip home.
The main event of course was my graduation this monday at the Royal Kilmainham Hospital, aka Irish Museum of Modern Art. It was certainly good seeing all my classmates again. Our Journalism head Niall Meehan was secretly obtaining information from us so he can use it in his speech! He managed to blurt out my current stint in Hong Kong, God knows how long that job will last!
Went to Renards on Kildare Street afterwards. After being shuffled around in the tiny club downstairs, we finally copped on and mingled in the bigger club upstairs though some did nip off to Ri-Ra's. It was also my first time not drinking on a night-out, and I certainly didn't feel like going on the dance floor hehe. It also made me realise how off I am on night clubs.. I would've preffered a quieter bar so I could catch up with friends. Grace knows what I mean!
Coming back home, I felt like a tourist. On one occassion I walked around town taking pictures and buying souveneirs from O'Carrolls (for people back in HK). The cold was paralyzing. I don't remember it being so cold! And what is the deal with the fucking traffic, it just seems to get worse & worse around the city centre.
I'm so glad we have the metro in Hong Kong.
People keep asking me when I'll come back and I honestly don't know. My film making course finishes in March and if I haven't found any decent work then I may come back. Although I do admit I haven't really tried to look for media work in Ireland, I just assume it'll be difficult to get into. Hong Kong (and China & Japan) is much more dynamic in this field methinks.
It's the first time I had to leave home like this- not knowing when I'll come back. The only thing I miss are family & friends.
But I really need to get away from here for a good while. Too many sad memories and broken times in recent years that I need to forget & let go.
I view Hong Kong as a good launch pad to get me going somewhere exciting and challenging. I'm just so thankful my skin condition has gotten better, now I can just move on.

This is just for the Griffith's
Grace- Hope you have a great time training and basking in the sun in Dubai. Wishing you nothing but the best as usual. And hope your parents get well soon.
Hayes- Best of luck in the acting man, it's what you wanna do and you're certainly getting there. Fuckin LA dude!
O'Cleary- You don't sound happy working in the call centre place but hey we all have shitty jobs at some stage.
Vic- I couldn't imagine you teaching english to Koreans but don't underestimate them, some say they're the biggest drinkers in Asia.
Jago- You crazy chick, I just know you're gonna land some job that matches your craziness! (I mean that in a good way of course!)
Chris- So bummed you're still a news reader at NewsTalk. Climb that ladder!
Cathy- You get well soon too, I'm sure you've been off the drink for long enough! And you will so love Hong Kong, visit sometime and I'll show you a shopping paradise!

Goodbye y'all, go n'eiri an ta leat, c'est la vie, life goes on and all that sort of shit. Drop me a line if you're ever in East Asia.