i’m back.

it’s hard to determine when is the best possible time to write, especially for inspired prose pieces like this
how do you preserve the spur of the moment feeling, the authentic perspective that is not too crowded out by logical, objective thought without sacrificing coherence and comprehensibility?
this piece has been in the writing stages ever since i left campus, but never bothered to finish.

I’m back here again, four months after leaving this place.
what feelings do I come back with?
i’ve not been sleeping well, either due to jet-lag or to the thin blinds I have in my bedroom.
but it shows that it’s possible to be not used to things you were once used to despite only a short time away.
in my short time back, this has already allowed me to see hong kong and my own life in a different perspective.

there are definitely things i have been reminded of again: living in an asian society.
i’ve recently read, as in on the plane back, that there’s much more of an emphasis on society in Asian cultures.
Having lived in close quarters since the early ages, Asians have developed a culture that stresses harmony and tolerance.
There’s a lot more interaction between people, the necessity to pay dues, keep tabs, give respect to, renew relationships if possible.
you need to be courteous around elders, doing favors for each other.

(this probably sounds biased but i really think there is a difference.
this is a possible theory as to why many more people live in suburbs in western, especially american societies, instead of crowding in huge cities in Asia.)

i’m also drowning back into hectic city life, and it’s kind of difficult transitioning back in.
there just seems always too much to do. since everything’s so close in the city, there’s never any excuse not to do something.
traffic jams, busy people. you can’t plan your life. the city plans your life for you.

it feels claustrophobic to live in a city. it’s not only the frantic pace of life, people who seem to be everywhere, cars always in front of you, but also
the sky is smaller here.
i wasn’t sure when I was in the States but i have no doubt about it now.
it’s probably because of the smog. the smog acts as a screen, trapping light and heat, not allowing light to reflect beyond the smog, decreasing the depth of field, thus creating an illusion of a shorter sky.
it’s suffocating to live here. everybody’s rushing to do something and it makes everyone tensed.

and as I screamed to the people in the household earlier tonight, RELAX.
I was easy going and mostly indifferent at Brown.
but now I’m starting to feel my heart beat pounding like the pulse of the city.

i personally think I like quiet and peace more, the slow pace of life.
living in a city is hard because it’s trying to divert your attention in a million places.
supposedly, you need to focus your finite attention and energy on things you like to make life worth living, to make life feel less like a constant battle of wanting to do more.

i mean it’s possible to have a slow pace of life, go somewhere like the outlying islands for the day. but it feels like too much of an effort to do that. plus, the sky is not necessarily bigger out there.
it’s with ambivalence that i come back to my birthplace that i have lived for 18 years.


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