The sun is out, the birds are singing, and yet our consciences keep us under house arrest whilst others battle the frontlines of an unseen enemy. It might seem unreal, but for me it’s déjà vu: we had a practice run last year in Hong Kong. When the streets were filled with chaos, we curfewed ourselves. When they started firebombing train stations, we stopped going out. When the teargas filled the streets, we tried to stop breathing. In a war, there are no winners. In a war, there are always casualties. Where there is life, there will always be death.
Times like these strip our lives down, removing the superfluous, the strangers, the non-essentials of life. We have nothing else to do but to stop and reflect on the sacrifices we are willing (or not willing) to make; to consider our own actions of the present for an uncertain future; to reconnect with who we are and why we are here; and to reconfirm the essential nature of art and books and music and story and entertainment so to fill the empty spaces with meaning.
We must never forget the year that never was; 2020 that promised so much, and then Life did its thing of reminding us not to take anything for granted. Life reminded us that Time moves, even if we don’t. That Rules and Rights and Wrongs are arbitrary, and are simply humanity’s way of forming Meaning; of constructing Order. And yet, sometimes Order is also an Illusion.
But Memory; Memory is ours, wholly and solely ours, and we must make use of time and space and love to create such moments. For time changes everything. Some of you may be too young to know, but I tell you now: “the heart’s memory eliminates the bad and magnifies the good, and thanks to this artifice we manage to endure the burden of the past.”
We will endure, together.
a small voice in Hong Kong
A part of the collaborative project Letters to the Earth