syncopation

 

 

Sensory syncopation. Buzzing dissonance. Muted vowels. Overwhelming consonants. All this and more, gyrating – determined and unceasing – in the thrilling, vexing and amazing sensory ecology of Hong Kong.

I haven’t been back in 6 years, not since my Haptic Autistry and Haptic HugShrug exhibitions. It was lovely to be back, on old familiar soil, yet with so much vibrant newness yet to explore.

Three lectures/talks, two public and one private, and a great many old friends to catch up with, kept my days buzzing with activity.

 

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A new adventure awaited in Sham Shui Po – gritty, old, traditional and crammed – where I would stay for the entire trip, in a windowless bedroom above the sensory theatre of wet markets, dim sum stalls, cooked and raw food shops side by side, vegetables and fruit, and … fish. I landed smack in the middle of unfamiliarity. It was a deliberate decision, I wanted to experience somewhere different from my old memories of my life in Hong Kong – and I got what I asked for. Picturesque, and I am glad for my nifty Fujifilm X100T, but the olfactory ambience was confronting, to say the least. The smell of pork – raw, uncooked pork – literally envelopes your entire being, pervading the air all the way up into my dark little AirBnB bedroom. Then there was fish, rotting vegetable, overflowing sewers, and human bodies seething with perspiration wrapped in unwashed clothes – thematic elements weaving in and out of the tapestry, as the basso continuo of pork pounded on and on.

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Elderly lady selling fish and vegetables

One picture carved into my mind, leaving me engulfed in a heavy, thick and excruciating wave of sadness and haplessness, is that of an old lady, bent double, sitting on a small stool, selling fish and assorted vegetables, just in front of the strong smelling butchery at the corner. Her catch differed every day, sometimes there were larger fish, other days small ones, even turtles and frogs (for consumption) and dribs and drabs of wilted vegetables and fruits – whatever she could get to sell, I suppose? There is rubbish strewn around the filthy wet street, and there she is, sitting there patiently waiting for customers. I wanted to give her some money, but was afraid she would be offended, and what good would my few dollars do for her anyway? She was there every morning, and I, a stranger and ‘alien’ to this ecosphere, felt a choking sadness, an anguished torment each time I walked by. Hapless. I can still taste the air, hear the soundscape echoing in my head, and see the spunky, brave yet forlorn image of this lady in my mind. Poverty is crushing to witness, and my heart breaks even more because she is so terribly old and frail.
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deja vu

Revisiting memory imprints in the flesh. Back in beloved Hong Kong – ‘home’ for 8 years. Greeted at the airport by familiar soundscape, smells, rhythmic-patterned visuals.

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Hungry, looking for breakfast? Have some piping hot Shanghainese dumplings “xiao long bao” and lemon-barley drink. Sensory jet lag perhaps, the taste of exhaustion is heavy.

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HKIA – Hong Kong International Airport

Time to find the bus to my AirBnB. Walking through the passageway to the bus terminus, ears ringing with sonic imprints from the past, it is a gently surreal experience of orchestral recollection.

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Welcome back to Hong Kong!

It’s good to be back. Confronting sensory overload. Attraction. Repulsion. Amazement. Horror. It’s all here in this wonderful sonic-tactile-olfactory-visual-proprioceptive-challenging city!

food markers

Food can be multi sensorial markers for a journey, tangible physical tabs that help one chronicle the meandering and navigating along the way. Here are my food markers for this trip, a somewhat odd blend of agony and joy, despair and exhilaration all rolled into one jumbled mass.

After arriving at my place of abode, already down with some kind of nasty infection, feverish and in a brain fog, I set about trying to find some nourishment for my weary body. I didn’t manage to get far, due to the sorry state I was in, and settled for a hot dog and an orange juice from the pie and hot dog stand across the road, by the wharf. A sunny day, there were the usual seagulls and pigeons stalking all and any humans sitting at the benches eating. One man brought his little French Bulldog for some sunshine. It was difficult chewing down on the hotdog, my jaw slightly swollen and stiff, but I was quite determined to achieve the feat. The orange juice tasted like soap and plastic though, pretty vile, hence that was abandoned after a few swigs. I so hate to waste. Continue reading

fed

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Green tea and jelly with a hint of mint and lemon @ Ichiban Boshi.

Since returning ‘home’ a year ago, this Autistic Bunny has been very well fed. Singapore, of course, is a city that boasts eclectic gastronomic delights to suit all budgets and tastes. My sister and her hubby are foodies too, and they’ve been generously providing the noshments. I do apologise for the lapses here on Bunnyhopscotch, the latest adventure has been a somewhat overwhelming rollercoaster ride, hijacking my thoughts and time with assorted bits and bobs. Nevertheless, I do still faithfully take a visual capture of my food, as a kind of thanksgiving ritual, reminding myself of the moment of gratitude and anticipation, just before the fulfilment. Grace and thankfulness. Always.

Pattern. Liturgical observance. Process unfolding. Gentle celebration. These are all comfort spaces for me, they serve to anchor my Being in the here and now, at the same time, they are springboards that often propel my imagination forward and into faraway dimensions. Continue reading

the sea

at the sea

at the sea

One of my favourite photographs of two of my favourite people in the world, at one of my favourite places in the world. Those were better days. I treasure them now, when life for us all seems so tumultuous and uncertain. This visual image also reminds me of the other less pleasant holidays I’ve had by the sea, with people who cared little for me apart from my usefulness to them (but I, in my ridiculous naivete, did not know it at the time). Juxtaposition is nevertheless necessary, if there were no bad memories, the delightful taste of the good would be less cogent, the kaleidoscope of colours more dull and the wash of comfort too tepid. As for the sea, it remains the sea, immutable witness to the oscillations of human proclivities, always blue, green, grey, pink, red, yellow, orange, thunderous, whistling, pounding, ebbing, flowing, heaving, hissing, whispering, soft, harsh, salty, sweet, bitter, fragrant, piercing, overwhelming, gentle, and in synergetic powerful symphony with the equally cogent sky. The pink and blue in this photograph is exactly the way my own eyes encountered it, no photoshopping and no distortion of the camera lens.

I miss my baby sister and her lovely hubby. I miss her two furbabies. And I miss the sea. Continue reading

sensory confrontation

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The THIS IS NOT ART FESTIVAL 2013 has been running for awhile here in Newcastle, Australia. As mentioned in a previous post, I am exhibiting with Critical Animals at The Lock Up Cultural Centre on Hunter Street. Well, here are some preview photos of my little prison cell, and a brief musing about my experience during setting up on Thursday afternoon.

Setting up was in itself a creative and sensorial confrontational process. Continue reading

greyhound nose art

It’s been wet, cold and miserable the last few days. I’ve kept the window curtains drawn close most of the time. Yesterday morning, I threw open the curtains, and Lucy bounded to the window and tried to look out, but it was foggy and she couldn’t see too well. So, she created nose art! I wonder what it feels like to have a greyhound nose and rub it on a cold, damp window pane? It must be an amazing sensation!

I’ll end today’s blogging activity with two samples of Miss Lucy’s greyhound nose art. Beautiful. And not just because she is my baby!