壽終正寢, 撤回, and Crossing the River of Language

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What is politics without rhetoric?

Since forever, politicians have been praised and criticized for how they speak (or tweet). What a world leader says on a public platform, and how their words are interpreted or translated, is of monumental significance. There’s the famous anecdote about how the second atomic bomb was dropped in 1945 due to a mistranslation; in response to the Allied Forces’ threat that massive destruction would follow unless Japan surrendered, Prime Minister Suzuki replied, “Mokusatsu.” It’s a word that can be interpreted different ways to imply “no comment” or even “not worthy of comment.” You can guess which one had more serious repercussions, and provoked the Allied Forces to drop the second bomb…

Frankly, I’m not a fan of this anecdote, and don’t believe in blaming translators for total warfare. I think Harry Truman and his pals have some soul-searching to do. But I do think that this anecdote (along with a couple more that you can read here) goes to show how important it is for us to always interrogate meaning, to perceive language as a medium that is constantly in flux. Instead of accepting that meaning gets “lost in translation” or thinking of a translated text (into English, often) as the endgame of the text, we should endeavor to participate in the process of translation as active readers. After all, translation itself is a productive and interactive form of close-reading. Translating requires brainpower; reading translations should, too.

Recall the famous riddle about having to ferry a wolf, a goat, and some cabbage across a river. Your boat can only carry one at a time, and you want to successfully bring everything across. If you take the wolf first, the goat you left behind will eat the cabbage. If you bring the cabbage, the unattended wolf will attack the goat. So, how do you get to the other side with everything intact?

The solution, which involves multiple trips back and forth across the river, has always reminded me of translation. It’s always going to take more labor (mentally and physically) for the translator to preserve the meaning of the original, to bring everything across the river of language. Sometimes, we can’t take everything with us; sometimes, the goat will eat the cabbage, the wolf will eat the goat. But with every trip across the river, you become a stronger rower, and the waters become more familiar. From a translator’s perspective, the riddle isn’t only about keeping meaning intact; it’s also about getting better at your craft through practice. And, as readers, it is by joining the translator on the trip across the river that we can empathize with the challenges of a translator’s task and realize the stakes of bringing meaning across borders.

I say all this because Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam has recently proclaimed the much-hated extradition bill to be “dead,” or “壽終正寢.” In the minutes following her declaration, the Hong Kong people have done the good and important work of ferrying across the river to unpack exactly what that means.

Hongkongers have been protesting since June against a proposed extradition bill that would severely harm juridical rights in Hong Kong and allow convicts in the city to be trialed in Mainland China (a country with a legal system that constantly violates human rights). Lam, who has shown little sympathy towards the protestors, finally declared yesterday that the law is now 壽終正寢 , “dead.”

If you were to read this headline in English, that the bill is now “dead,” you might not think much of it. After all, the word “dead” in English more or less means, well, “dead.” Consider the following headlines:

Here are various forms of “deadness,” all used in political contexts. But if we put our close-reading glasses on, we’ll realize something these headlines all have in common: “dead” always has a qualifier. Something may be “officially” dead or “basically” dead. Something can be dead “again” (so was it ever really dead??) or dead with a “but.” So, when Carrie Lam says that the extradition bill is “dead,” little sirens should go off in our heads, even when we’re just reading her words in English translation. Look at the original Chinese phrase Lam used, ” 壽終正寢,” and things get more interesting.

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Chinese people love idioms, and 壽終正寢 is a particularly interesting one. It means to die of “old age,” to die of “natural causes,” to have “reached the end of one’s life.” I wouldn’t say that the bill died of “natural causes,” necessarily; one would like to think it was stampeded to death by the history-making protests that have swept Hong Kong’s streets. For this reason, many are urging Lam to revise her statement, and instead say that the bill has been 撤回: “withdrawn.” Cut out the wordplay and fancy rhetoric, HKers are saying, and express yourself in legitimate, political, legal terms.

Don’t get me wrong, I love wordplay. Especially in poetry. But in politics? I get suspicious. As Wong points out in the tweet above, the bill is not truly buried in the ground until it is withdrawn from legislature.

But whether or not 壽終正寢 is dead-er than 撤回 will also depend on your imagination: is something that is dead easier to resurrect, or is something that is withdrawn easier to re-propose?

It seems that the wolf, cabbage, and goat have all been successfully ferried across the river multiple times in the past 24 hours. Translators have done the careful, interrogative work to interpret Lam’s words. We’ll just have to wait and see what she says next; and then the ferrying will begin anew.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Carrie Lam said 壽終就寢 , not 壽終正寢 . The article has been updated to reflect the correction; thank you to Julia Mak for spotting it!

Days When I Hide My Corpse in a Cardboard Box

HONG KONG REVIEW OF BOOKS 香港書評

May Huang reviews a new collection of poems from Hong Kong.

Lok Fung, Days When I Hide My Corpse in a Cardboard Box, translated by Eleanor Goodman (Zephyr Press, 2018), 144pp.

It is an important time to be reading and writing about Hong Kong, a city that made headlines recently for its million-strong demonstrations against a proposed extradition law. Protests give us opportunities to observe how bodies, culture, and politics interact, as does Days When I Hide My Corpse in a Cardboard Box – a new collection written by poet Lok Fung (penname of Natalia Chan) and translated by Eleanor Goodman. Defiance occurs in subtle ways throughout the work, which centers on both domestic and public spaces. In the poem “Ion Lover,” a woman goes to the salon for “perfectly / ion-straightened hair,” a classic post-breakup hairdo, an act of self-affirmation. The hairdo does the job: the speaker is…

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Spider-Man: Far From Home | Seeing is Not Blip-lieving

Up until last year, I had a very vague idea of the Marvel universe. I mixed up DC and Marvel all the time (to my boyfriend Kevin’s chagrin) and couldn’t tell you who “Captain America” was. But two years into dating Kevin, a veritable Marvel fanboy, I’ve since become acquainted with the universe’s characters, plot devices, and Easter eggs. I’ve even become, dare I say, somewhat of a fan.

Marvel is the largest movie monopoly in the world today, and has seen a particularly successful 2019; first came the milestone-marking, box office-shattering Captain Marvel, then the internationally-awaited, much hyped-up Endgame, and now the much-needed, refreshing follow-up: Spider-Man: Far From Home.

Below is a spoiler-laden review of Far From Home. If you’ve yet to see the movie, swing away to a different corner of the web before reading further!!

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While the title of Marvel’s latest installment is “Far From Home,” the film primarily serves to bring us closer to home. The past two Marvel movies were set in space and intergalactic in scale, but Far From Home takes us back to planet Earth, where society has more-or-less adjusted to the undoing of Thanos’ snap. The interim five years, known as the “blip,” have resulted in an altered society in which half the population is exactly where they were pre-snap, while the others are their post-snap selves. Society has the facade of normalcy, but things are decidedly not the same. This idea of alterity is at the heart of the film, which couches a profound question amid a seemingly feel-good, comedic film: what is real?

It isn’t a coincidence, perhaps, that the word “blip” should remind us of technology. A “blip” may be a dot on a display screen or an interruption on the radio. If you “blip” a recording, you censor part of its sound. Far From Home centers on a dangerous, technologically-manufactured “blip” that deceives the entire world—including Nick Fury (more on him later).

The movie’s villain “Mysterio” (Jake Gyllenhaal, who will always remind me of Taylor Swift’s RED album) is proof that we are both still living in Tony Stark’s shadow and stepping out of it in Marvel’s new era. Previous Marvel movies have explored the dangers of Stark technology (e.g. Age of Ultron), but Far From Home comes with a personal twist: Mysterio and his team are ex-Stark employees who have all been personally victimized by Tony. Now, in the wake of his death, they want to seize control over his legacy and, well, take over the world. The only problem? Tony has left his super-AI “E.D.I.T.H.” in the hands of young, insecure Peter Parker (the brilliant Tom Holland).

We spend the first chunk of the film dealing with the Elementals, giants that use natural forces to wreak havoc. Only later do we realize there is nothing “natural” about them; on the outside, they might have the visage of a sea monster, but inside is an intricate web of weaponized drone-projectors responsible for faking villainous appearances while wreaking very real damage. It is by controlling the Elementals that Mysterio is able to put on a heroic show of “defeating aliens,” which makes him yet another worldwide hero with a hidden identity.

At the same time that people are wondering who Mysterio is, Peter Parker is asking himself the very same question: who am I? On a school trip to Europe where his only plan is to woo MJ, Peter is toeing the not-so-fine spider thread between superhero and high schooler. Tired of being asked about the Avengers and unsure about his own place among them, Peter simply wants to be a normal kid for a summer. But persistent calls from Nick Fury and the threat of the Elementals render that impossible, as Peter is summoned to help Mysterio fight his manufactured threats. Indeed, the multiple costume changes that Peter goes through seem to point to his unstable identity; we first see him in the awkward-fitting Iron Spider Armor, a nod to the significance of Tony’s legacy in this movie. Then there’s his regular suit, which Aunt May sneaks into his suitcase although he doesn’t want to pack it. Then comes a dorky black stealth suit that earns him the name “Night Monkey,” adding another tier onto his identity crisis. Finally, the suit that matters the most (and feels/looks the best) is the one he creates for himself aboard Stark’s private jet, en route to cancelling Mysterio and retaking E.D.I.T.H., which Mysterio tricked Peter into handing over. Not the most believable turn of events, but disastrous nonetheless.

Far From Home recognizes and builds upon the fact that we live in an era of “Fake News.” The movie opens with a shoddily put-together high school news broadcast, and closes with a professionally doctored breaking news report (ft. J.K. Simmons’ JJJ!!!) with severe international and personal implications. In what seems like a deepfake video edited by Mysterio’s cronies, Mysterio comes back from the dead to expose Peter Parker as Spiderman to the world. Since the beginning of time, all iterations of Spiderman have been concerned with one common imperative: protecting their identity. But in today’s world of privacy risks, it will take more than a mask to achieve anonymity. If Peter lives in a world where something like E.D.I.T.H. exists, what’s to prevent tech-savvy villains from uncovering Spiderman’s identity with the snap of a finger? This is what makes Mysterio such a compelling character; he comes from our world, and like a cunning and crafty businessman understands the extents that people will go to in order to believe in something, anything.

Despite its many LOL moments, Far From Home thus takes us down a dark path of intrigue and deception that hits close to home. While our world may not have any web-shooters (or so we think), we are indeed living in a society where believing in the inauthentic is all too easy. Every time we sign up for something, skrull (wink wink) through Twitter, or turn on the news, we are bombarded by marketing campaigns, carefully-construed narratives, and reminders of how far technology has advanced. Far From Home screams the timeless Spiderman adage (“With great power…”) without ever having to say it. And what do we make of a Marvel universe in which Nick Fury, its founding father of sorts, isn’t even Nick Fury?

Of course, not everything that seems shallow and inauthentic is harmful; Ned and Betty’s relationship, which we can’t quite take seriously, is actually pretty endearing. Yet Far From Home ultimately wants us to remain vigilant and attentive in a world that has laid traps for us everywhere. Scrutiny is rewarded; for instance, it is through paying attention to Peter that MJ realizes who he really is. I love Zendaya, she is the fearless and no-nonsense MJ we deserve. It is also through attentiveness that Mariah badass Hill shoots down a drone that is seconds away from targeting Nick Fury. On a similar note, it is also through paying attention to how weird Nick Fury is in this movie that audiences will have their rewarding “AHA!” (or “wtf”) moment at the end when we realize that Fury and Maria are actually Skrulls.

But the movie also wants us to believe in a different kind of vigilance, one that is less trained, less visible, but more instinctual in nature: our Peter Tingles. Our gut instincts, our sense of what’s right and wrong. When it comes down to the wire, our “tingles” will be our greatest defense. And only by remaining confident in our true selves can we harness this secret superpower, this crucial ability to hold onto what’s real in a world of deception.

A heartfelt, beautifully choreographed, and visually stunning production, Far From Home is easily the blockbuster movie of the summer. With its jaw-dropping ending credits, the film already has us eagerly anticipating how Marvel will next spin its webs.

#IStandWithTaylor

In the past few days, some friends have asked me to explain the “Taylor Swift drama” that has been in the news recently. Why me? (ME!). Because most people who know me know that I am a big Taylor Swift fan, and have been for the past 11 years. But being a Swiftie doesn’t mean I’m incapable of being critical of her work or actions; rather, I believe it makes me a more qualified and generous judge of her character compared to the average listener of her music. Do I ever raise my eyebrows at moves made by Taylor and her team? Yes. But am I also a hardcore fan who will defend her to the best of my ability? Yes. In this post, I hope to elucidate why I believe standing with Taylor is important, especially given the double standards of the toxic, often male-dominated music industry.

Below is an image that Taylor shared on her tumblr:

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What happened?

Two days ago, it was announced that Scooter Braun had acquired the Big Machine Label Group (Taylor’s previous label) from Scott Borchetta, and along with it, Taylor Swift’s entire back catalogue. If you are understandably asking who Scooter Braun is, he’s the manager of artists such as Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, and Kanye West (Trump supporter, husband of #KimOhNo Kardashian).

Why is this a problem for Taylor Swift?

Before I delve into what makes this a problem, I want to first address why it’s a problem for Taylor specifically. She puts it best on her tumblr post: Her “musical legacy is about to lie in the hands of someone who tried to dismantle it.” Scooter, like many other people in the entertainment industry, has always had it out for Taylor. This takes us back to 2016, when Taylor and Kanye had “beef” over Kanye’s song “Famous.” In the song, Kanye sings, “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that bitch famous.” (How did Kanye make Taylor “famous,” exactly? According to him, by interrupting her award acceptance speech in 2009. Even Obama called him a “jackass” for it. ICONIC.) Anyway; Taylor claimed she never wanted Kanye to use her name like that in the song; Kim Kardashian then illegally released a recording of a phone conversation in which Taylor presumably said it was “okay.” It goes without saying that what Kim did was wrong and disrespectful. Not surprising for someone who has just recently tried to trademark “Kimono” for her own clothing brand. But let’s assume that Taylor did say “yes” to Kanye. How many women’s “nos” are manipulated by men into “yeses?” How many women out there understand how difficult it is to say no? How many women are blamed for situations in which they feel like they had no control?

To use a personal example, last night, I went out swing dancing, and felt someone rub my back in an intimate way. I turned around, expecting it was my boyfriend. No, it was a total stranger, who immediately asked me: “Would you like to dance?” My head said no, but what instead came out was, instinctively, “yes.” I spent the rest of the dance regretting it. I realized again, in that instance, that many women are often pressured and conditioned into saying “yes” to everything, when we should have the right to say no to as many people as we want. So, when people accuse Taylor Swift of saying “yes” to Kanye, one of the first things I think about is how easily people (especially men) will assume that saying “yes” is automatic, unconditional, and simple for women. I also think about how t he audio snippet Kim released was blatantly doctored and illegally publicized. And how Kanye later barely received criticism for stripping Taylor’s body double naked in his music video for “Famous.” Scooter was there when Kanye organized his “revenge porn music video” for “Famous.” Scooter was also there when Justin Bieber, Kanye, and some other random dude (see photo above) teamed up on social media to bully Taylor about being “exposed” by Kim. Scooter has, as Taylor rightly says in her tumblr post, been responsible for the “incessant, manipulative bullying” aimed at her for years.

Back to 2019

So, given this context, you can understand why Taylor is not happy with SCOOTER BRAUN acquiring her masters, her life’s work, her greatest hits, her dreams. This is not “pettiness.” This is injustice. Scooter is not only a man who now reaps the rewards of a woman’s labor, he is also a man who has purposefully targeted this woman and is now in a position that allows him to assume some control over her artistic representation.

Why didn’t Taylor just buy her own songs?

Folks have been saying that Taylor once “had the chance” to buy her own music, but “passed.” As Taylor makes very clear in her tumblr post, however, the deal offered to her by Big Machine Records, a.k.a Scott Borchetta, was anything short of liberating. In order to own her previous albums, Taylor would have to ” ‘earn’ one album back at a time,” one for every new one she turned in. This would take at least 10 years. Taylor walked away to set herself free. Borchetta, who genuinely believed he was doing himself a favor by sharing the following photo, posted an exchange between him and Taylor on his website. His post includes one text from Taylor, informing him of her decision to leave Big Machine Records, and one text from himself, notifying her of Scooter’s purchase. It does not take a genius, or even an English major like myself, to note the marked contrast in tone that both texts present. Firstly, I’m pleased to know that Taylor begins her texts the same way I begin my emails: “I hope this finds you well.” Secondly, one line in Scott’s text jumped out at me as carrying the saltiness of a salty, salty ex-manager: “I wanted to pass along to you the same courtesy that you passed along to me in regard to my future.” I saw no courtesy there. Honestly, go read the exchange, and tell me whether you see it.

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Why does Taylor’s fight matter?

Scooter’s wife, Yael, addressed Taylor on Instagram, saying that Scooter “believed in you more than you believe in yourself.” Are you kidding me? Do I even need to expend the energy to rebut this? She also tells Taylor to leave her kids out of this drama, whereas Taylor had never, anywhere, in any way, mentioned Scooter’s kids. So. Perhaps it’s true, as Yael says in her post, that Scooter reached an “olive branch” out to Taylor. But after everything Scooter has done to Taylor, why should Taylor invoke the energy to respond to Scooter? Do people have to forgive or even interact with those who have hurt and traumatized them? No.

In the aftermath of Taylor’s tumblr post, different celebrities and media outlets have spoken out, each with their own story, each with their own way of reframing the narrative. Taylor herself is a master at framing narratives. After Kim called her a snake in 2016, Taylor rebranded her next album to successfully and cleverly incorporate the snake motif into her music. Her latest single, “You Need to Calm Down,” is an LGBT-anthem (or at least wants to be) that brands herself as a strong ally (although not without controversy) after years of her political silence. But I don’t want to make this about narratives or social media or celebrity gossip, which is what the tabloids want. This is “drama,” but as Taylor says, “I don’t love the drama, it loves me.” Try to ignore the gossip swirling around Taylor’s post (which albeit invokes it) and focus on the simple, straightforward fact that Taylor Swift is an artist who would like to own her own music and is fighting for other artists to also have that right. People point out that even The Beatles don’t own their own music. So? Since when has established tradition been a reason to preclude future change?

Taylor Swift “grew up in a pretty house,” but has not had an easy time in the spotlight. She is in a position of immense privilege, but also has had to make a number of sacrifices (like, privacy) to get to where she is today. There are articles out there saying that Taylor’s struggles are nothing compared to those of laborers who are also fighting for their own rights. People will say that Taylor has no right to complain, given her wealth and status. But if Taylor Swift, one of the most powerful and influential women in the world, is also subject to outrageous injustice and manipulation, what does that say about our world? That even those with the most power cannot have it all? Or that the profit-driven, business-minded, and often male-dominated music industry can always trump creative thinkers and artists?

The bottom line is that music written, sung, and produced by Taylor Swift, alongside many other artists, is now in the hands of someone who had absolutely no part in making it. It is in the hands of someone who has not been a friend to Taylor Swift. It is in the hands of someone who should, honestly, NOT have it. Whether or not you like Taylor Swift, take a moment to think about the implications of this transaction. Some might say that now that Scooter has Taylor’s music, he’ll want the best for her (now, he has a stake in it). While that kind of ownership mentality is toxic in itself, the facts speak for themselves: recently, Scooter’s team has been re-uploading Taylor’s catalogue onto iTunes and rebranding it; Fearless has gone from being under the “Country” category to “Pop,” erasing the contributions that the album made for country music in 2008. One of Scooter’s friends congratulated him on social media for having bought Taylor Swift. The Big Machine deal between Scott and Scooter would have been nothing without Taylor’s catalog. Taylor’s years of hard work now enlarge the status and bank account of a man who has wronged and disrespected her on many occasions. Imagine if you were Taylor in this situation. Just think about it.

Since the start of her career, Taylor Swift has always been an easy victim. She’s been ridiculed by the media for her dating life when few other artists have experienced the same slut-shaming she was subject to; certainly, no men were victim to such media scrutiny. People love to say that Taylor can’t write her own music, even after she wrote the album Speak Now entirely own her own to prove a point. People criticize Taylor for remaining silent on political issues and criticize her when she uses her voice. Too often, men treat women like easy targets, and assume that their casual “bullying” will have no consequences. Too often, men assume forgiveness. Too often, men think they can get away with anything: even profiting off of a woman’s labor.

What angers me about the Scooter-Scott deal is the way in which it reinforces notions of gender inequality and the soul-sucking nature of many business deals. But what gives me hope is the fact that I believe Taylor can make a change for the greater good. In the past, she has used to power to leverage deals with Spotify, Apple Music, and Universal Music Group to increase artists’ wages and agency. “People throw rocks and things that shine,” but “snakes and stones never broke” Taylor’s bones. Taylor Swift doesn’t have to say “yes” to anyone anymore. I believe that, in the years to come, she’ll be able to make the music industry a better and more equitable place. And that she will continue to be a role model for women and emerging artists everywhere. And for those reasons, #IStandWithTaylor.

Also read…

Dell Vostro 5370: A Review

” I thought I knew you because
all night and day our breath mingles together
for three years and ten months
my name, gender, resumé, and ideas…”

“Love Letter to a Computer” by Lok Fung, tr. Eleanor Goodman

This month, I got a new laptop. I’ll start by saying that this won’t be your typical tech review — I won’t be going over processors or graphics or any of those fancy specs. Instead, I want to talk about what often gets lost in tech-translation: the emotional, existential implications of switching to a new laptop.

As someone who lives rather frugally and is very indecisive, I wasn’t exactly jazzed about the prospect of buying a new laptop. And yet, my former laptop — a 13-inch Macbook Pro — was on its last digital legs. The red flags began earlier this year; my Mac would abruptly shut down at 80%, and then 60%, and then 40%….with every passing week, my laptop’s ability to sustain itself without a charger was rapidly diminishing. Finally, I reached the inevitable endgame: my poor Mac would peace out the moment it was disconnected from its (very short) charger.

At first, I tried getting its battery replaced. This did not work, for reasons I won’t delve into here (in short: my laptop is vintage). But eventually, I realized I had to radicalize my life. Get a new laptop. Start afresh. Thanks to a blessèd coupon that a tech-savvy friend sent my way, I now own a Dell Vostro 5370 for about half its original price.

I grew up using PCs, but have been an Apple-user for the past ~7 years, so the switch was something to get used to. But my new laptop was…welcoming, to say the least. I powered it on for the first time ever, turned my back, and a few moments later heard a bright, clear voice behind me: “Hello.”

It was…my laptop. I could diverge here and turn this into a mystery story or a thriller about talking technology, but that’s already our reality, sooooooo

Anyway, once I got my laptop to stop speaking to me (the audio quality is good, at least), I had to answer a few more questions before I could get my laptop to just take me to the login page. As if my laptop were an immigration officer at the airport, scanning my biographical details and making sure I’m entering a foreign country for the right reasons before letting me pass.

Now, a few weeks into my new laptop, I’ve amassed a list of pros and cons and general observations about my switch from Apple to Dell. Here they are, all mixed up together, as they always are in life:

  • First crisis: no em-dash shortcut. This was nearly a deal-breaker for me. I use em-dashes all the time. I’ve used them in this blog post. How? Via copy-and-paste. I searched and searched for ways to make it work but—alas — I’ll just have to do it the old-fashioned way for now.
  • Interestingly, however, some accidental combination of me pressing random things on my keyboard did allow me to activate some other shortcuts. So, not all is lost. But I still can’t activate my Num Lock. No Luck.
  • There’s something very cleansing about starting anew on a new laptop — especially one that will outlive a 3-hour battery life. Nonetheless, starting a new laptop also feels like beginning a new life, one in which your old files and the emotional baggage you carried with/on them are “on the cloud.” Should I mourn my old computer? Or can I rest assured that its contents survive in the limbo state of my backups?
  • Switching over to a new laptop may also be, I think, a form of translation. Instead of control, it’s Ctrl. Forget option, we now say Alt. Apple lower-cases everything, whereas Windows uses Title Case. delete is Backspace, which feels more forgiving.
  • Speaking of translation, I had quite the trying time installing pinyin on my laptop. At one point, I feared that my new laptop would endanger my efficiency as a translator and typer-of-Chinese-characters. Luckily, I figured it out… (I had to install simplified Chinese pinyin and convert it to traditional in order to get the keyboard input system I wanted).
  • I get to turn on my computer using my fingerprint. I also turn on my phone using my fingerprint. Honestly, I love this. Can my computer now get me through immigration?
  • My new laptop is much lighter than my previous Macbook. Might this signify a new, general lightness in my personal life? Was acquiring a new laptop, another material item in my life, a way of casting off other intangible and concrete burdens? Like that of carrying my former Macbook charger around with me everywhere?

In Lok Fung’s beautiful poem, “給電腦的情書” (Love Letter to a Computer), she writes to her computer: ” you’ve given me unlimited broadmindedness and broadband” (tr. Eleanor Goodman). ” I used to think we would grow old together” (cue music from Inception). “But you’ve had your moments of betrayal…I pray you won’t ever stare blankly at me again / ignoring every word I type.” Read the full poem here; it’ll strike a chord (or key?) for anyone who has ever loved their computer and let it go. I’ll get to know (and love) my new laptop soon enough. But as I end this post, let me say goodbye to a mostly-faithful laptop that has served me well (or did I serve it) in its short but productive life—