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!

familiar

Finding comfort in familiarity. One of my two favourite spots in Paddo, the Arthouse Kitchen. This time, though, Lucy is not with me. I miss her terribly. That space she occupies – physical, mental, sensorial – is now a softly whirring void. I gravitate towards our usual table at the far corner. It is a cosy place, just right for one, and a comfortable area on the floor for Lucy on her fluffy rug. Continue reading

infrared

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Lucy in Infrared.

My love. In infrared.

Being away from her is never easy. We’ve had a tumultuous 2016. Since moving to home country, Lucy and I have enjoyed a sense of stability we did not have before, that of being within a family. It is a small family, just my baby sister, her hubby, their two furry boys Bizcuit and Tiny, and our mother. Now, there’s Lucy and me.

I no longer need to panic and worry about who will care for Lucy when I need to make trips away, or when I am unwell and cannot attend to her personally. Continue reading

flying wheelbarrow

Noshment. Food. Eats. Chronicles in multi sensorial paintings reflecting the intrepid travels of the Bunny.

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Fried vermicelli. Soya sauce. Grease. A few sprinkles of spring onion and crispy garlic. Nothing more. Probably the worst dinner I’ve ever had at the Singapore Changi Airport. Necessity prodded the weary of body, with painful and inflamed metatarsals, hobbling like a stubbed-web penguin across the buzzing landscape of the airport. Terminal 1 is the oldest terminal, and I could see there were ongoing upgrading works everywhere. In true Singapore-glitzy manner, even the boards blocking off the renovations were painted over with murals and slogans in a somewhat supercilious-yet-clumsy way. Welcome to Singapore. Or goodbye, safe travels! In my case, Bunny needed to make this all-important working trip back to Sydney, come rain, hail, shine or arthritic inflammation. Continue reading

Lucy’s Grand Adventure

This piece, about our adventure across the skies, traveling home to Singapore from Sydney, was first published in the Greyhound Equality Society website. I am republishing it here with some minor edits (mainly typos and grammatical errors).

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Lucy’s Grand Adventure.

– Dawn-joy Leong.

Lucy Like-a-Charm has graced my life for four years now. Lucy is my assistance dog. An assistance dog is one that performs specific tasks to address a disability. For me, Lucy primarily helps to mitigate the effects of autistic hypersensory anxiety, by warning me in advance about potential triggers, thus preventing serious sensory overload and meltdown. As an assistance dog, Lucy has connected me to the wonderful mindDog Australia family. As a rescued former racing Greyhound, we are part of the Greyhound Equality Society, advocating for Greyhound welfare. Yet, Lucy is much more than all these, she is also my research assistant, advisor and creative muse, inspiring unique trajectories to explore and ponder, and my Canine Angel, a beautiful reminder of the preciousness of parallel embodiment. Continue reading

tiny habitats

This is such a cool video and article!

I live in a tiny, tiny, tiny little space. It’s the tiniest space, well the second tiniest space, I’ve ever lived in. The tiniest was the previous unit three doors up the corridor from this one. It’s tinier than a school bus. But it is home. Though I must admit the rental is phenomenal, for a space this small. Still, it’s the cheapest deal I can get in terms of locality, facilities, safety and not having to share.

When I met our friend M, who lives in a van, I became inspired by mobile living. Tiny habitats and mobility. M’s situation, of course, is not a good one. No permanent home, living in a rickety old van, no private bathroom and not properly fitted out. M is one of the lovely friends I met through Lucy, and I really do miss him, now that we have moved away from Paddo. Anyhow, the mobility and the idea that one does not need to deal with landlords and rentals, took hold of my imagination. Continue reading

propinquity

It’s been ‘high pain days’ for me lately. I haven’t managed to shake off the autoimmune flare since the madness ended. I’ve been needing painkillers and topical anaesthetic to help me eat. Ah, but the foodie Bunny is determined to eat! Needless to say, I’ve not bee eating as much as I usually do. It is tiring when one has to cringe and cry into one’s meals. I cooked up the little eggplant with the rest of the tinned tomato. There was one potato left and I added some cheese to the microwaved quickie meal.

No matter how bad the days are, though, Lucy keeps me centred and her proximity sends out synergetic vibrations that steer me away from the doldrums. Continue reading

Thank You!

It’s already New Year’s Day here in Sydney, Australia. Happy New Year to everyone, and thank you for following my little blog, sharing the quirky eats and dropping in to make a comment or two.

Amazing how time just zooms by. I still remember very clearly my first Christmas Day and New Year with my baby girl Lucy. Now, our second one has come and gone in a flurry!

Lucy’s beautiful face was the one that bade me good night in the final moments of 2013 and good morning in 2014. How blessed am I to have so much exquisite beauty always with me? My first breakfast of 2014 was a simple olfactory-gustatory-visual-textural combination microwaved frozen corn with butter and cheese, a sprinkling of sweet paprika, and a few corn chips thrown in for good measure.

2013 was a great year in many ways. Continue reading

travel fatigue

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Sydney Central Station

Too much travel lately, methinks. I am teetering on the edge of utter exhaustion. Just a week home with my Lucy, and I have had to beetle off again for another exhibition. Not whining, though, I do love my work and it is that passion that keeps me going, but my body is protesting. The autoimmune is being disagreeable again.

I am now in Newcastle, for the This is Not Art Festival 2013. I shall be exhibiting with Critical Animals at The Lock Up Cultural Centre, so if you are in the area, do drop by for the exhibition and there will be an artist’s talk on 5 October too! Continue reading