Tuesday, November 3, 2009

In Memory of Those Who Fought and Perished in The Tian'anmen Square Protests of 1989

This unassuming photograph is nonetheless the very postcard for "Let's Going, Let's Gone: Goodbye for Mao"---an esoteric phrase I coined to size up my own emotional situation---and that of the greater People's Republic of China. "Let's Going, Let's Gone" is intended to be a mock-Chinglish* rendering of some standard English catchphrase like: "Let's Get Out Of Here---and Now!" Funnily enough, the English text of the exit sign of the train station in Baotou, China, wherethrough I passed en route to Mongolia not quite a year ago, read tactlessly: "GET OUT OF HERE" [meaning: 'The Way Out'].

My then co-worker, Jordan of Kent, England, (whom I suspect is really from around Lagos, Nigeria, and the bearer of an altogether different real name, considering as how, I once eyevesdropped on one of his many passports the title 'Makembe Okonkwo'*), belly-laughed over that one for about 2 nights and half...if not for a fortnight.

*Chinglish is a now popular portmanteau for often hysterical mishmashes of the Mandarin and English languages---one may be unlucky enough to spot them on public signs, billboards, and product wrappers. They are often so absurdly worded and "serendipitously" mangled, that one cannot often help but to collapse into a tiny, hunched-over, convulsing ball on the floor of the supermarket, dragged wholesale into the asphyxiative dry heaves of hysterical lung-lytic laughter. Numerous humour sites online attest to the aptness of this coinage.

*"Goodbye for Mao" is an activist, but still unfortunately paranomasiac* rendering of 'Goodbye for now.' I replaced 'now' with 'Mao' to signify Mao Tse-Dong, he who is regarded as the most recent savior of China in China, but a murderous, bloodthirsty casus belli-maniac in most of the Western World. Dare I say outright my own position on the man and his position I might be assassinated in the night as I soundly sleep---with a bullet in the belly from an assassin sent from the West and a bullet in the back from an assassin sent from the East. Khas veShalom, that I should have a Full-Body grande mort.*

*'Okonkwo' is the name of one of the most important character's in Chinua Achebe's masterwork "Things Fall Apart"---a classic Nigerian, and now Pan-African, semioticon for the Fanonesque struggles of all humanity against unwarranted Colonization---but its eventual "assimilation" into the national character.

*Paranomasia is a documented condition wherein a sufferer is pathologically compelled to logorrhoeate puns in everyday discourse. A very malady I am said to suffer from acutely, by my Aunt Brauna, et al. In fact, on her visits to me in Virginia, and on my visits to her and my Uncle Marc in NYC, I was frequently permitted a 7.25 or so pun quota for each visit---a quota which, gone over, could result in severe chastisement, albeit still in good fun. We call it Chutzpah, the whole shebang. Of course, I believe Aunt Brauna will contest this quote of 7.25 puns as too high---the actual limit was much, much lower, it is sure to be disputed.

*grande mort---as opposed to "le petite mort" which is French for "little death"; the phrase has been used variously to refer to the existential aspect of the orgasm, as well as to a general state of losing a part of the self to the advances of the void...so, by grande mort I mean "big death", or death proper