100 Blessings

Started the mini art project of drawing 100 Blessed Sleeping Tigers (躺平福虎) on handmade paper. Finished drawing half of them, will start mailing out the postcard fai-chuns tomorrow.

Contacted many old friends to get their mailing addresses and the 4-letter fai-chun greetings they liked me to write. This mini art project turned out to be a great conversation starter and helped me connect with friends near and far amid a pandemic that kept me away from many social activities.

The 5th pandemic wave is worsening in the city. Over 100 COVID cases were recorded today and a couple of housing estates are now under a 5-day lockdown. Following the Mainland’s zero-COVID policy, hundreds of thousands of people need to undergo COVID tests daily, is this effective and sustainable? I doubt it. Experts expect at least 2-3 months for this 5th wave to be contained, it will probably take longer from the looks of it. With the pandemic worsening, I’ll likely have more solitary time in coming days to focus on more R&D work and for prototyping some paper products to be released when the time is ripe. Add oil!!

Sketch… Sunday Service

Social Isolation

The government announced that it will extend its current unreasonably strict pandemic measures for 2 more weeks into the CNY holidays. Besides my weekly calligraphy class meetup and a consultation session at a paper artisan workshop, my time this week was mostly spent at the studio and at home.

Had a funny thought this morning when I woke up. I realized that I managed to get past the whole day yesterday (Saturday) without uttering a single word. I think I’m now quite adapted living in social isolation, just not sure if the stored up social energy from earlier holiday meetups would last for 2 more weeks.

The consultation session with my paper artisan friend was quite fruitful, we confirmed to collaborate on a mini art project for CNY. With a spark of inspiration, I came up with the Pokémon-inspired fai chun yesterday, plan to draw 100 of them on handmade papers crafted by my friend. If the spontaneous art project turned out to be as “successful” as I imagined, I may finally be able to launch a more ambitious project that I have been dreaming up for years!

The full moon tonight reminded me that there’s only 15 days left before CNY, it’s time to get busy!

5th Pandemic Wave

The 5th pandemic wave had officially arrived in HK according to the government officials and their consulting experts. Around 30 or so COVID cases were reported daily in the past few days. The government rolled out one of the strictest pandemic measures on Friday and banned all eateries dine-in after 6pm.

The latest pandemic measure didn’t really affect me personally (yet) as I already dined out much less after the government made its ubiquitous tracing app mandatory across all restaurants a few weeks ago. Besides, I had a few meetups with friends during the Christmas and New Year holidays, the stored up social energy should last for a couple of weeks and hopefully the new pandemic wave would be more or less contained by then.

With less time spent on social activities and reading up news, I turned my focus on studio work. Began designing and writing the CNY fai chuns early this year. While I was at it, I started prototyping some paper products I have been dreaming up for years. Should have the designs ready to discuss with a paper-making friend soon. Also plan to update my 3 outdated websites and do some cleanups before CNY. It looks like I should have a healthy amount of work to keep myself busy while riding off this 5th pandemic wave for the rest of January!

Sketch… Sunday Service

Holiday Meetups

Had a few meetups with friends this past week, some of them I haven’t seen since the pandemic began 2 years ago! It’s good that we met up just before an imminent 5th pandemic wave. After 80+ days of zero community COVID cases, a few Omicron variant cases linking a restaurant near my parents’ place were reported. Hopefully, this wave will be contained soon so that family and friends can meet up again in the upcoming CNY holidays.

In mid last week, an online news outlet, Stand News, had their office rampaged by the police. Some executives from the media were arrested and it ceased operation entirely on the same day. I started following Stand News after a major pro-democracy media, Appledaily, was raided and folded mid last year. And while I’m writing this blog post, another online news outlet I support, 眾新聞, announced they will cease operation on Tue. With all the news outlet that had a good reputation of reporting truth (sometimes not what the government wanted ppl to see) gone, a dark veil seems to have covered our already darkened city.

With a pretty crappy 2021 behind us, I was somewhat hopeful in a better 2022. Perhaps I’m a bit too optimistic, might be better not to carry any expectations. The city is dying too rapidly, I should stay focused and expedite my extradition plan back to “our home and native land” this year.

Sketch… Sunday Service

Christmas 2021

Received 2 sweet Christmas greetings in the mail from Canada and US this year. Technology advanced from mail to e-mail and to the more common instant message greetings nowadays, but getting a mail in the post from friends who cared enough to go through the trouble of mailing me a physical greeting beats 1000 instant messages! I wanted to return the favor, but missed the international mail deadline again, will try to make up for it with a CNY greeting.

Frankly not in a joyous holiday mood this Christmas, actually I have been feeling rather gloomy for most of the year due to the never ending pandemic and the helplessness of witnessing the rapid deterioration of the city. Countless people from the pro-democracy camp are detained or imprisoned or had fled the city and are separated from their family and friends this holiday season. As though that wasn’t enough to kill the holiday mood, the government secretly dismantled the many Tiannamen Square Massacre related sculptures across universities, just before Christmas! How could one feel joyous in such an atmosphere?

Regardless, the joy of receiving the 2 greetings from faraway friends had inspired me to spread some toxic positivity this year. I decided to bring back my studio’s annual tradition of crafting Christmas trees. The design, prototype, refine, and production process took just about a week. Made 2 dozens “Christmas trees” and delivered more than a dozen to friends. Hopefully they’ll find a little joy in knowing that a friend cared enough to go through the trouble of delivering a physical greeting to them this holiday season, just like the joy I experienced when receiving my friends’ greetings in the mail.

Sketch… Sunday Service

Sketch… Christmas Worship