The current Asian American Literary Review includes a feature titled Dispatches from Hong Kong, featuring entries on the Occupy Central Umbrella Uprising protests by Nicholas Wong, Collier Nogues, Tammy Ho Lai-Ming, and Henry W. Leung & Adriel Luis, as well as a piece by me. Here’s a taste of mine:
Two days after attending the Occupy Central demonstrations in Hong Kong I was in a crowd in Tiananmen Square … I took my son to Tiananmen Square with my wife and parents-in-law on National Day, celebrating the 65th anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. Thinking back to the much more densely packed Admiralty district from only days prior, I thought of Elias Canetti’s Crowds and Power. In Tiananmen I stood in a crowd whose interest in celebrating something—anything—the continuation of their country, the blue skies, the military flag-lowering, the stories-tall arrangement of silk flowers—motivated a forgetting—inequality, pollution, the systematic dismantling of all but the structure of power the revolution whose victory they were celebrating had fought for, the fact that Tiananmen was both the site of the declaration of the People’s Republic of China sixty-five years ago and of the military murder of political protestors twenty-five years ago. In Occupy Central, I had stood as part of a more empowering crowd—larger and denser, colored by more black and less red—motivated by equality and respect and an inability and unwillingness to forget. The memory and motivation of the Hong Kong crowd gave a palpable discomfort in Tiananmen’s ethereal and disconnected mass.
Click the image above for the full feature.