Umbrella Movement / September 2016 (Issue 33)

Welcome to the Xiang Gang Museum

by Jason S Polley

Hong Kong's dirge, though never an island of saints and sages, has, to continue to appropriate
           Joyce, been sung
Ire, mine, ours, within, upon, this, this evermore estranged and estranging land
Ire and irony, irony as refuge, irony as escape, irony as ennui, as envy, as lethargy, as policy, as
The irony of Mao dogging (catting is but a rare nautical verb) the Dalai Lama about religion
           being poison
Mao, after, and during, all, though Marx wasn't a Marxist, and Jesus not a Christian, and
           Siddhartha not a Buddhist, was a Maoist
The irony of Xi pinging (the verb, nautical and not, works) the terrorist brand on the Turkic
           Uyghurs in Xinjiang, a province itself annexed by China
Uyghurs presently must present DNA samples, for real, really, really for real, reportedly, in order
           to acquire travel permits
The irony of Cantonese, the language, not dialect, language, a language institutionally erased for,
           from, the Cantonese, the people, in Canton, the city, and Canton, the province, a place
           Hong Kong too occupies, or, rather, is, it now goes without saying, so it must be said, is
           occupied by, by Canton, meaning mean China
Erase that final qualificatory mean
It's mean
Occupation, backtrack a few, meaning three, three and four, lines, is a contemporary Hong Kong,
           actually, it's a contemporary pretty-much-global, keyword
Actually, actually too is a contemporary Hong Kong keyword, it marks, no, brands, me, you, us, as
Hongkonger, another keyword, one institutionalized, Oxford English Dictionarily, on the heels of our,
           yes, our, Umbrella Uprising, which we, or the some of we who would, so not all of we who could,
           are ironically disallowed from calling a Revolution, those of us who labelled it a revolution,
           I mean to mean, I mean
An uprising that itself followed on the heels, albeit not too swiftly, so not actually high on the high heels,
           of a Hong Kong University poll
Survey, I, you, we, should say survey, for poll seems, is, too too democratic, which, obviously,
           is merely a euphemism for the dogs of western imperialism
Shit, scratch dogs, it reeks of non-laissez-faire capitalism
Oh, omit capitalism, and its all too pell-mell smell and swell, as well
We, when all is categorically being said and being done, authorize 'communism with
           Chinese characteristics,' which, for all intents and oligarchical purposes, appears to
           meaningfully and meanly actually mean personality-cult authoritarianism, an ism, yet
           another in this, this lengthening list, that accepts (better, abides? promotes? endorses?
           perpetuates? exemplifies? champions?) BMWs and beggars, handbags and homelessness,
           waste and want
Block that
And, a la TVB Pearl, my, our, Hong Kong's, Hongkongers', public TV station, now half-
           ironically branded as CCTVB Pearl by a certain sum of some, by some sum, block
           Umbrella as well, since the preferred nomenclature is something akin to 'Something you Hold
           and Unfold in order to Restrain Unruly Rain and Sinister Unsmiling Sun'
I, you, we, am, are, here, now, this now, forfeiting 'faux' 'friends'
A Hong Kong University survey indicating that four-fifths of Hongkongers, a poetic ring to that,
           that four-fifths, or thereabouts, of Hongkongers self-identify as Hongkongers, as
           Hongkongers, not as Chinese
Permit me, you, us, we, a final nonfinal permit
‘Per-mit’ and ‘perm-it’
A permission to underscore another representative
Well, only if you hang banners expressly indicating that one must never hang banners
Endless regression
Irony upon
The active teenagers of Scholarism, if not of Localism, and Umbrella Revolution
           ‘Something you Hold and Unfold in order to Restrain Unruly Rain and Sinister
           Unsmiling Sun’ Uprising and near Time magazine-cover fame
Or infamy, all too too too lackadaisically dolefully apathetically
This this
This illustrative thesaurus-searched demonstrative adverbial cacophony
Of licensed silence

Of a Scholarism student leader
Just just indicted
Resound without unrequisite sound
Um, un-, yes, just above, un-, actually
This voicelessness of my, your, our Beijing-White-Paper-universal-suffrage-effacing un-right
           rights plight
A secondary school student indicted for inciting the freedom of public assembly in a freedom of
           public assembly precinct
A place in Canton, in Heung Gong, Guangdong, where China’s simplified Chinese characters
           currently threaten the survival of the Fragrant Harbor’s classical Chinese ones
That's a retronymical phrase
Classical characters only classical became once Mao's simplified ones corrupted, collapsed,
           the comprehensible, the instinctual, causal chain of connotation
And here we, we, unendingly end, nearly twenty years into a fifty-year death sentence, one that
           imperiously decrees autonomy
Meaning voice and choice and space and place
To the chockablock hollowness of hollow men and hollow sanctions in hollow stations
That is to say, which is to say, to slay to the deadly domain of the dutifully dusty
To the plexiglas cubicles of the quickly and quietly quarantined
To the engineered obsolescence of museumized muteness
To the


 Jason S Polley completed his PhD in English Literature, specialising in 20th-century Irish fiction and postmodern American fiction and culture. His monograph examines what he calls "everyday justice" in contemporary American literature. He's currently completing a book project on ekphrasis and encyclopedism in Mark Z Danielewski's House of Leaves. Polley is an associate professor teaching at Hong Kong Baptist University and his areas of interest include poststructuralism and postmodernism. [Cha profile]
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