Da Oficina

Thank the Lord for weekends.

Finally got around paying the rent today.

I’ve noticed I’ve grown to appreciate the TV show The Office a heck lot more now. It does capture very clearly that atmosphere of eavesdropping on cubicle gossip while looking very busy with paperwork. And the show recognizes of the photocopy machine and the water cooler, the two pillars of office life. Bzzzt. Glug glug glug. I’m very good at taking the photocopier apart and fishing for jammed paper now. It’s a fossil, the one we have.

We were handing out forms for the students this morning and one of them was a University Evening for the senior students. One of the unis listed for Australia was UNSW, and when I saw that I just had a sudden vision of taking the bus from UNSW, down Anzac Parade, to Oxford Street and Liverpool, before hitting Elizabeth Street and getting off at a corner of Bathurst. Did that every Sunday back then in Sydney, for church. Hard to believe I used to find that so mundane.

And I was thinking while my classes took their tests today that I’m glad I’m not the one who had to cram the night before and be plagued by the exam jitters. My first year of not having to go through that again. Still, though, everytime I pass the university dormitories on the way home, I find myself missing student life. It was so much simpler, I was responsible only for myself, there were less politics, and no one else would get hurt in the event of my negligence. And student life was a heck lot more social too.

Well, the change is good overall anyway. Time that I got a new perspective on things anyway.

I thought I’d take a break from writing during my first month of work, at least, but I’ve got three story deadlines this month: Dean Alfar’s Philippine Speculative Fiction 3, the Anthology of Southeast Asian Literature, and Hong Kong University’s Yuan Yang, a journal of Hong Kong and international writing open to all Hong Kong residents (or so I understand).

And here’s something new. A Japanese colleague of mine who’s the artist-in-residence in the school is going to do a short monologue as part of a production by a Hong Kong theatre company. She wants to do a drama piece about Filipino domestic helpers, and she wants me to help her with the script (and she only recently discovered, in complete happy shock, that I do speak Tagalog, haha. She approached me solely and initially for help over writing the script). We’ve already brainstormed over afternoon tea and we’re really psyched about it. Next Sunday we’ll be going out to interview some Filipinas (i.e. crashing their Sunday picnics). I’m really excited about it. I swear, it so cool to find someone who is so interested about the lives of Filipino maids in Hong Kong and who wants to give them a voice, because it’s true they never get represented in any art form here in Hong Kong, or in any social discourse for that matter despite their numbers. I can’t figure out if it’s because it’s a delicate subject that Hongkies and foreigners just don’t want to talk about, or just something that they don’t care about, or just plain social taboo. I’m really glad I can help her out and get it out there; we’re expecting a rather stunned audience, haha. Add to that, she’s a painter as well; she’s made sketches of a subway scene that has a Filipino maid cradling a Chinese baby. She plans to find a few models for that and turn the sketches into a painting that she’ll be displaying in the school’s art gallery. That is going to turn a few heads, I’m certain, and I’m so looking forward to it.


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