Umbrella Movement / September 2016 (Issue 33)

Revolution Without Text

by Lian-Hee Wee

Two professors too angry to notice the irony of their privileged selves as leftists
Two monkeys in suits searching for their sugar man
Two institutions: a church and a brothel
Two floors below

Lofty location overlooking the freeway from the windows
At the balcony built over Crown land
In what was Imperial Chinese that became Imperial British that is now,
        forcefully, forcedly communist Hong Kong
Spectre of auspicious Chinese dragons, projected by venomous serpents,
Tended to by servants rather civil, underlyingly Rakshasas,
eunuchs with Sancho’s traits, castrated by money and promise of power.
The real knights are craftily labelled radical, then slighted, "they revolt without text,
        hahahaha, idiots them all!"
The umbrella is not a revolution, not even a lance
No bugle called for a new set of rulers,
Occupy is such an aggressive metaphor, for using your rightful space
Ah sure, one needs political literature for clean water, clean air, and fairer distribution.
Naturally, a manifesto is relevant for non-human animals, who, democratically speaking,
        are the silent, suffering majority among Earthlings.

Is the pastor or the prostitute, any less a lamb?
One suited, the other naked, monkeys all the same.
One institution: destitution
One floor all the same.

Author's note:
This poem is based on a real conversation at an apartment
on Fuk Lo Tsun Road, Kowloon Walled City.

 Lian-Hee Wee is a phonologist-by-coincidence whose childhood aspirations to be knowledgeable and reasonable continue to gnaw at his daily efforts to cope with how he has not learnt music enough, not created art enough, not written words enough to overcome his urgent fears of meaningful existence. His latest solace is in the publication of “Tone Assignment in Hong Kong English” in the journal Language (92.2, June 2016). His current set of role models include: Noam Chomsky, Will Leben, K.P. Mohanan, Tara Mohanan, Diana Archangeli, Jason S Polley, Tammy Ho, Ong Chang Woei, and Dean Tio; they enable Wee to see his inadequacies.
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