Links: 04/18/14

Written by Natalie Luhrs

I'm a lifelong geek with a passion for books and social justice.

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April 18, 2014

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  1. bluestgirlblog

    It’s bizarre to read a description of a place as being kind of like an outlaw space station from a Sci Fi novel, and realize that it’s somewhere I’ve been, and not noticed at all.

    My mother is from Hong Kong, and I went there as a young teenager in ’92 or ’93, and Kowloon was not treated with any sort of… anything really. We might go somewhere on “the Kowloon side,” but it was more like crossing into Arlington from D.C. than going to a strange lawless land of shadow. No one gave it any meaning. So I know I’ve been there, but I have no memory of it as a separate place from Hong Kong, and I couldn’t tell you which memories were which.

  2. Natalie Luhrs

    @bluestgirlblog: That is a really interesting point–people are super-adaptable. I’m sure the people living there didn’t feel like they were in a strange lawless land of shadow, either. It probably wasn’t all that lawless; even in the absence of a recognized government, there are going to be rules people follow.

  3. bluestgirlblog

    It reminds me of the way Detroit gets described in popular media, as if it were made from the bones of The American Dream and the streets paved with old car tires and despair. I mean, yeah, it’s got a lot of serious problems, but there are regular people living regular lives, living and working and all that.

    The author doesn’t skimp on any chances to call Kowloon things like, “a stain on the urban fabric of British colonial Hong Kong,” and ” the city of darkness,” (that one said twice). Along with “shadowed streets,” and the shocked statement that, “amazingly, many of Kowloon’s residents *liked* living there” (emphasis original.)

    And then she uses descriptive paragraphs from a cyberpunk novel. I mean, yes, the novel is describing a real place that exists in the past of this imagined future, but I would have liked to see that acknowledged.

    Basically, the more I read it, the grumpier I get. Blarg.

  4. Natalie Luhrs

    @bluestgirlblog: You know, I didn’t even think of any of that when I saved this link–I was seduced by the illustration from a Chinese periodical and of the interesting legal limbo of the area. Thank you for saying something–this way of talking about real people and their lives is a huge problem and I notice it when people talk about Detroit like this (I’m from that area) and I need to be better at noticing when it’s happening to other places, too.

  5. Barb in Maryland

    My husband and I both howled in laughter over the 50s/60s house. We each, in our far away childhoods, lived in houses decorated/furnished like that. Thanks for the side trip to Memory Lane.


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