Glutter's Hong Kong
As I am about the leave to put up the banners and T-shirts at the destination point of the protest. I thought about what I wrote last night and what I wrote tonight. I realized the crux of all my beliefs both personally, professionally and politically, I treasure my freedom. I treasure my need to be able to change my mind. I really treasure the feeling that I can explore and express, develop and muse. I treasure the idea that I can read what I want, say what I need, and know that it is safe to do so.
Without freedom of speech, without the fear of persecution you cannot.
I think of all the Chinese artists, writers and poets I have met from Mainland China, how each time I am at a talk or in a meeting or just privately, we are obsessed. We are obsessed with the ability to say what we need and how to they go about avoiding censors. I think of the times when you meet Chinese artists who have left China and they talk about the freedom they feel, the weight that is lifted of them, the sort of creative freedom that they have never experienced. They do not have to worry about hiding what their thoughts are behind metaphors, that they are pushing the boundaries or crossing the line. They feel that they can say or do what they want. It can be daunting. That void of restrictions has ruined many an artistic soul when they leave China because for the first time in their lives, see the blank sheet of paper and it overwhelms. But no one ever complains. Only an expression of relief.
Juxta position that with those artists and writers in the mainland. Hiding their thoughts, speaking about how they don't mind censorship. How it's okay to be banned. How they know which line to tread or call obviously political work, "simply fiction."
"I am only telling a story. I am not saying anything more. You can read what you want in it."
"Life is what it is. We bring our own stories. I try not to lead my readers into thinking a certain way."
But you go through the pages and you can feel the pulsing ideas and ideals that run through the work.
I wonder what it must be like to have to hide. I think it's a shame these creative minds, these intellectuals must lie.
It's the exact opposite of creativity or at least the need for it.
The feeling of making something out of materials and the mind is an innate want to share one's vision. To comment on society, to create a feeling and thought and transfer it to others. What happens when it is dampen by the knowledge that it can land one in jail?
Some say, but it creates good art.
I say good art is created despite it. Which denotes a mental strength and ability to withstand the threat of physical punishment. Going to jail is as physical as being beaten. One is confined. One's body is confined fully, totally, Submitted to the system. Those people are strong enough to withstand total freedom where the only limits in oneself.
I think that a lot. I wonder what can I create in the future? If I mediate on my art and writing for life, then the difficult periods, the dry periods, the moments of doubt will merely be small moments in a long career. Those simply gets wiped out as the need to tell compresses time. The openness of life can be overwhelming, but I know I will have it for the rest of my life. Mainly because I have a choice to leave China and go elsewhere. But even that choice I am grateful for.
I just think about how it's a gift that one can think, feel and express without the government's intervention. It helps to lose culture and propriety as well. In order to say things that no one has said before, one needs to say something other people have not, cannot, cannot bring themselves to.
That is hard in itself.
It's good to have a day once a year that I have to think about these things. A day a year where we devote the times to contemplate what it means to be free.
July 1st 2006. Hong Kong. 1:19pm.
May freedom prevail......