xiaomei@ ARENA, HK

It has been a lovely and busy May. The preparation for the second South South Forum has been put on the agenda, and we members from the group of Emerging Countries Report meet every week to discuss the redaction process, to exchange our ideas and comments about books or articles that we recently read, for example, in one meeting, I was asked to do some homework about Antonio Negri[1]’s theory about Commons and share my understanding in the meeting. It’s a totally new task for me, since, well, Negri? I don’t know him that much and his book about commons is in English and I have only a week to study the master piece. Anyway, I did try my best. Of course, in the mean time, I learned quite a lot. Except chances like that, most of the time I am more like a student, listener and recorder than a speaker, since the other members are some ‘super stars’ such as Erebus Wong, who did one of the training courses for us Hao Ran volunteers; or Kho Tung-yi, doctorate researcher on euro-centrism who was- funny enough-once a professional tennis player in the Singapore National Team! And there is also Jade Xue, post-doctorate researcher on peasant studies who also was once part of Hao Ran’s international volunteer program and her destination country was Brazil.

Recently my contribution to the never-ending E7 report is translation and translation. I translated 5 articles from English to Chinese during the past two weeks , with more than 30,000 words, which are about bio-fuel, Indonesia’s agriculture development, Indonesia’s anti-poverty campaign, Philippine’s agriculture status, India’s status, etc., one after another, days before I was the only one that showed up in the big office in the morning of a sunny Saturday. Of course sometimes I felt tired and bored, but after all it’s a learning process. Besides, I feel compensated with the appreciation from my “supervisor”, who never takes a rest at all.

Ah, there is a big news-well, not that big actually. Remember the organic farm-Sangwoodgun(生活馆) that I offer to help? Now we take vegetable orders from the Lingnan University, and I’m the liaison person, which means, every Wednesday morning, together we collect the vegetables from the fields, then I and another member takes the around 15 kilos cargo safe and sound to the  costumer teachers in the University.

Did I mention how this farm was started? If I did, please bear with my nagging. It all began with the Opposition to the Guangzhou-Hong Kong Express Rail Link at the end of 2009. Back then, a conscious group of the so-called post-80s generation stand side by side with the residents of Choi Yuen Tsuen (菜园村) which was to be dismantled because of the construction plan. Their struggle against the government failed, but the spirit never dies; they rent a piece of land in the new Choi Yuen Tsuen, they learn how to plow, how to harvest, until today.

One can meet some really interesting persons from this farm, now that I’m getting familiar with some of them, I would like to say something more about it. The “bosses” are Chow and Jenny, one is a part-time teacher in the department of Cultural Studies of Hong Kong University, and the other is a teacher of photography in some arts center, both of them are around 30, although I could never make such a guess from their vigorous appearance. The other members that come to help regularly include a professor of visual arts from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (if I do make some mistakes please forgive me, one can’t remember so many information without writing it down), a girl (who is the youngest among them, 20 or 21) about to go to university to learn arts in United States, another teacher of photography like Jenny, and a lot of others who maybe doesn’t come so often.

Besides work, of course I am keen on the social activities inHong Kong. Jenny told me there was a forum titled ‘the world after revolution’, and it was held where the occupy movement takes place. Wait, Occupy Central? I was so ignorant that I didn’t even know there was occupy movement inHong Kong-and it was begun October of last year! There were like twenty tents in the location ( just below the HSBC headquarter), and some shelves with books and cookers on them, some big tables with booklets about the forum and daily life stuff, like shampoo. There were sofas and various chairs that were apparently rescued from refuse dump. The forum organizer invited grassroots’ NGO or individuals fromJapan,Korea, andTaiwanto do separate presentations about their social activities. It was open to the public and the information was circulated in the Facebook. There were 40,50 attendants I suppose and the forum lasted 4 hours. Casual, but informative.



[1] Antonio Negri (born August 1, 1933) is an Italian Marxist sociologist and political philosopher. Negri is best known for his co-authorship of Empire, and secondarily for his work on Spinoza.-wikipedia



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