(Wenchang Wang 文昌王, a Taoist deity physically represented by the Big Dipper/Ursa Major)
After an arduous journey, if I’m allowed to call it that, of over 24 hours, I was only half-aware I had arrived. Luckily my backpack had followed me all the way, because I wouldn’t be surprised if it got lost on the way with all these delays and rebookings.
I met up at the airport with my friend Emily, who I had hosted a few months earlier in Belgium. I had a far different menu to offer at the time than what she would be able to show me in Hong Kong. Belgium isn’t particularly metropolitan. Our cities do not have millions of inhabitants, but maybe a few hundreds of thousands inhabiting the historical and gentrified parts of town – not to mention the horrendous looking 1960’s apartment blocks on the outer reaches – before all dissolving into a mixture of pastures and villages meeting you in its typically ribbon developed manner. We aren’t particularly mountainous, as we are called the Low Countries for a very good reason. A reason that goes back to a past where we, partially, won a big chunk of our land from the sea. That past was what I mostly served during the trip, with the spacious farmlands that were a relief for her. I would realize over the course of a week as to why wide plains were so held dear.
It was weird to see her in her own habitat, especially when we exited the building and I saw Chinese characters covering every inch of my view. Though in Hong Kong they are always subtitled with English and as such you have no issue finding out where exactly you are or need to go. That would only last until I had entered Kowloon, where ordering food or buying any item was a bit more of a challenge with only characters to be seen.
Now the real journey began. And from here I go full-on gonzo. I had left the world of Europe, of old standards, of old rules, and had crossed the threshold I had set for myself. Effectively, I had gone to Croatan in a way and in doing so I had become a puzzle for myself as I was surrounded by a greater one surrounding me. The questions I had about the environment caused me to subconsciously set up a questionnaire about my inner workings. I had to apply a different toolbox if I was to resolve the issue of constant impacts this asteroid belt of a cultural shock was to me. Even slightly subjectively stating the events and trying to reproduce and analyse my impressions wouldn’t do it. Not even a systematic deconstruction of the environment would suffice. It seems that after going through the whole list of what modern aesthetes did to get a clearer look at the world, I didn’t find any of them really satisfying.
This is where my keyboard will – after the first 2 posts having resorted to the usual travelogue – ride me. This is where I’ll return to a working method that was originally used to unearth the world surrounding man, a very primal one in terms of exploration: possession. I’ll become the servant of the archetypical Scribe and let him do with me in this particular format as he sees fit.
A bunch of synchronicities and realizations happened as I wrote that: keyboard was the only thing I could use as my mousepad was locked and I realized I had bought a Wenchang Wang (文昌王) amulet at Longshan Temple in Taipei without knowing it ( I bought it because it appealed to me, and for good reason it seems ). This fella has been called upon by scholars and writers who need inspiration. Well what are the odds hu?
So, all reassurances. Time to make this happen. Time for this gweilo to go gonzo.