This morning I did not know why, my mother-in-law asked me reading her Headlines Tabloid, “would you think those like Lee Wing Tat and Tanya Chan be imprisoned?" I, wearing my shoes ready to leave home, asked back, “Why would they be arrested?" Mother-in-law replied, with a tint of bewilderment, eyes still at her tabloid, “conspiracy to incite sedition ma." I simply turned to my same old tone, “ha….I cannot answer you. I haven’t caught up with Hong Kong news." This time, her eyes swerved from her tabloid to me, silent and judging. She seemed to accuse me of lying. After like 2 seconds of her judging, her eyes returned to the tabloid she kept reading. And I parted.
“I cannot answer you. I haven’t caught up with Hong Kong news".
Is it lying?
Yes and No.
No, in the sense that I literally have not read any Hong Kong newspaper and magazines for several years, since the Occupy. The dashed Occupy. The dashed Again Occupy. I haven’t watched Hong Kong news for as long. I even haven’t watched Hong Kong channels for nearly as long. Even in public transport like the rail, my Marshall A.N.C. allows me to even mute the loudest broadcast of Hong Kong news (can’t mute the passenger chatters and gossips after work though. Dodgy!)
Yes, in the sense that I actually understood what she meant, and what news did she mean to seek my response, or opinion, which I have none. I have Twitter man. How can I not know what news she meant! Even I have unfollowed all the Cantonese speakers there, I still have some English speakers there who are concerned about what happens in Hong Kong politically.
So, I answered in a way that sounded like I totally had no idea of what she talked about, like I had just been back from Jupiter, or Uranus, or M87. That was dishonest to her, my mother-in-law, even though I literally “haven’t caught up with Hong Kong news".
With the 2 second ordeal in which she judged me, I felt that she understood that I understood that she understood that I was lying. She got the idea of mine that I didn’t want to have that conversation with her anyhow. So she stopped her invitation, or initiation, understandably. She is always understandable, and reasonable. I am the one at home who acts unreasonable.
What’s more challenging? To literally stop catching up with what happens in a place I am living in (for 40 years), in a place I can by and large “smell" what’s happening? Which is very challenging, but I can get it done in some sense. A clapping to myself.
Or……To be honest to myself and people who want to have a chat with me about it. To simply say, “I know what you mean. But I don’t want to talk about it. It’s too depressing to me to talk about it." Which to me challenging. Which is what I have yet failed to do in most of the circumstances.
Some exceptions: like to my son and wife. One night I read a children book to him and his sister about Rosa Parks. My son was angry right from start when I described about happened to black people before Rosa Parks’ civic disobedience. He demonstrated his anger to an extent I could not carry on my reading. So, I told him, “hey, I understand your anger. I shared with you what I felt for the last couple of years. You know what, what happened in Hong Kong after that dashed Again Occupy long ago, I even forget how long, made me so angry that I simply shut myself from every channel of catching up with what’s happened here. I kept saying ‘HK’s been horrible. HK people’ve been horrible. So horrible that I felt anger and pain even to talk about it. I am at least as angry as you are now. I understand. I can feel what you feel. And, it’s good feel like that, rather than being numb and lack of empathy or any emotion. But we can’t let our anger to disrupt other ordinary things, like my reading to you. And, Rosa Parks showed us what we should do when we feel something unjust happening. To not giving in and do what is right. And, mate. Black people have been waiting for 200 years to have a bit of justice, and then back to square one. Something takes a long time. I think we should wait. Angrily but patiently. Let’s continue our reading."
I can even feel this anger and pain in my chest when I’m typing now.
But what’s more challenging? Ranting or suppressing? Being rude or being hypocritical? I don’t know. Who am I to say. I’m just a lunatic after all.