(English version of my previous post)
(This is for self-record purpose, but ok, read till the film twist at the very end)
I was a little sad, as I wasn't sure whether I was the only one on earth who feels excited about all this.
My editor said good children book isn't meant to teach kids this and that, but to be able to stand shorter, at kids' height, and even for very difficult issues, be able to find an angle where they'd be interested in.
I feel like it's the same for advocacy/art - how to touch people.
Remember I mentioned the Inter-Island Festival that'd take place in October, it's connected by the "Inter-island ferry line" in Hong Kong, that ONLY goes between Mui Wo, Peng Chau, Sesame bay & Cheung Chau.
The curator (three neighbours at Peng Chau) has always wanted to do a little festival around island life, he only knew about the inter island ferries after moving there, the ferries are older, the passengers were few, but he emphasised, that the view around this part of Hong Kong's sea, is extremely beautiful.
And now haunted by all the "Lantau, Tomorrow" plans (the most absurd expensive, manmade islands on EARTH) (which nobody in HK supports) He said frankly, "seeing how brutal the way govt insist pushing this development plan, made him think it's time to act and start the festival"
They received MANY proposals for the festival. (So proud!)
So ytd, we went to 1 of the 4 sites together, took two ferry rides, visited the Buffalo auntie.
She started rescuing buffalos, because people dumped her a three legged, wounded one to take care of, they said they'd support her, come back in a week, but they disappeared since then. So she had to learn from the scratch, from washing wound, to what to feed. Through this buffalo, she met many other buffalos. (and the decade long fight with AFCD vets LOL)
I learnt that they have considered cancelling this site from the festival, i was SO SHOCKED that i almost cried. Among the four places, to me this is the most worthy one to share.
It is beautiful in itself.
The other three are already well-known.
It has strong multifaceted history stories.
Even the buffalo stories are worthy to share.
There used to be a refugee camp there. And now an abandoned prison.
Of course we don't want to turn it into a very touristy place, but if we never talk about this, then one day, this place might be erased from the map forever, nobody would notice.
About this project/festival, i immediately called one of my friend, who's supported a lot of animal rescue, farming, art, publishing projects in Hong Kong.
I was so excited, telling her that I would like to do something here at the three days festival, drawing the 22 buffalos, creating a local map with visitors; and selling vegan sesame ice cream under the tree.
And then, she told me......
"That little house, right next to the tree, was my grandpa's home, it still is owned by our family"
Buffalo auntie, is her real auntie.
Her grandpa used to be the village chief of this tiny village.
She had real fond memory of the place "Whenever we visited our grandpa, we would climb onto a stranded fishing boat, and pretend to be pirates, thinking back it's quite dangerous, or maybe it seemed bigger only cuz we were kids, we used to call it the haunted boat"
"My grandpa loveddd cats, he fed the cats with newly caught sea fish, but he eats canned fish himself"
On retrospect, perhaps sea fish was the cheaper option, back in those days, just put your hands into the water, and you get them.
And i thought, Hong Kong is so big, this village is so small perhaps only 10 people lives there now, and I only told 10 people about this. She's one of them, and she happened to be from this village. WHAT ARE THE CHANCES!
The now abandoned prison at this same site, used to be a closed-off refugee camp, between 1975 and 2000, a total of 223,302 Vietnamese asylum seekers passed through Hong Kong.
It’s a history that is complex, difficult and astonishingly overlooked.
Back then, with fewer countries accepting them as refugees, the HK govtadopted a policy it called “humane deterrence.” Starting in the summer of 1982, all new arrivals were placed in one of three closed camps. Ringed by barbed wire and patrolled by guards from Hong Kong’s prison service, these were essentially maximum-security penitentiaries, only their inmates were not convicted criminals, they were ordinary people, including families and children.
But it reminded me that once, the man next to me on the plane to Tokyo started talking to me, he is gwai lo but speaks fluent cantonese.
He originally intended to go to Beijing as exchange student at 1989, but all student visas were cancelled.
He ended up working for Vietnanese refugees in Hong Kong for UNHCR, he now lives in Lantau, maybe i shd reconnect with him.