I've gone a little quiet on this blog in recent days because: 1. Work has been terrifically busy and it consumes much of my capacity. When I have a quiet moment I don't feel like opening up in a public space and I'd rather spend time on my fiction; 2. I started a Chinese blog where I am curiously open about bits and pieces of myself. Nothing confessional, but revealing in that it features long-forgotten details about my teens, dreams or glimpses into my present that show a different side to me that most of you may never read about.
I started the Chinese blog in July when I urgently needed to practice my Chinese writing and typing for work. At the time I had no idea what I'd write about--it'd been ten years since I wrote almost anything at all in my first language. Even now when I'm about to write anything, I think in English: half of the time I dream in English too. The first Chinese blog entry was real awkward. Soon enough it picked up speed and I discovered lots of thoughts and memories I'd nursed, in a vague interspace, and they turned into stories all on their own.
Up until I turned twenty, my life unfolded in a predominantly Chinese universe. I spent a fair bit of time on the English language and world literature and music, but I read and wrote more in Chinese, hanged out with Cantonese speaking friends, listened to very occasional Canto pop and still had a stronger sense of the local culture. Then I became an English major in the university and flipped the switch. My life became divided between the old and the new. For the most part I was too busy developing myself as an English writer to look back.
Now I return to that lost island. There's the memory of myself as a child who stayed up all night to listen to the radio, because it was the only freedom I enjoyed in a household invaded by relatives and grief. Or me as a teenager living in public housing without air-conditioning, trying to stay close to the fan because I'd melt if I only went into the kitchen for three minutes to cook instant noodles . Or me wiping tears on my face on one of the most crowded streets in Hong Kong, just the other day.
These are things I'd rarely write about in my English writing. Here I have a different persona that I've consciously shaped over the years, a grown-up and elusive voice that illuminates some secret in me which I hold onto as a part of my identity today, and it changes everyday. Anyone can read me in between codes, and I keep track of my changes. The Chinese voice is static: it comes from a frozen universe, a time when I wasn't concerned with understatement and writing was naked, direct, emotional.
I always knew this would happen--the day I picked up my Chinese writing again, an old world would reemerge, private and sweet. Now, what's next?