The Catalogue: No. 25

Monday, February 11, 2019

We mainlanders had a similar reaction to the Hong Kong that we saw in the movies and music videos of the eighties. A life so pampered, while enviable and thrilling, was also morally suspect, reeking of bourgeois individualism and other Western frivolities, such as democracy. In the decades since the handover, mainlanders who once eagerly anticipated the return of Hong Kong have visited this other China and been shunned the moment they open their mouths. The long-lost relatives have been reunited only to find that they have little in common.
Actor Rob Lowe: I was my sick mother's caregiver, don't underestimate the stress caregivers face | USA Today 
Many caregivers aren’t as lucky as I was. A recent study by the National Alliance for Caregiving found that a third of caregivers in America do it alone, without any paid or unpaid help — and this uphill battle can lead to a domino effect of health and financial problems for the caregivers themselves.
When you’re caring for a loved one, there’s nothing you won’t do (or sacrifice) to give them as much comfort and peace of mind as you can possibly provide. Often, that means you’ll skip your social obligations, wreck your diet, suffer sleep deprivation, and even risk your career, all to help a loved one through the most difficult time of their life.
Related (mine): Self Care for Caregivers
You can do this. You are so good and brave, and you will never, ever regret this kindness. Do a little bit of what you love when you can. Step back when you need to. You will get through it all. You are the person someone prayed for. You are the reason someone is still alive. You are more than this role. Your life is still your own.

Missing Hope: A Trio of Miscarriages, and What Happened After | Laura Turner for Catapult 
Most of all, they don’t tell you that fear, to reverse a phrase from C. S. Lewis, will feel so like grief, and so you begin to mourn what you have not yet lost, because mourning prematurely is the only way to protect yourself from hope. You steel yourself against strangers who ask when you are due, against diaper commercials and well-meant but too-early baby gifts, against advice from friends about what to do once he’s here. You don’t understand, you think. He will never be here.
The End of the American Chinatown | Alana Semuels for The Atlantic
The developments in Chinatowns may appear to preserve some of this culture, but the new restaurants and apartments are sometimes so expensive that they are no longer accessible to the people who created the community in the first place. In Los Angeles, for instance, the Blossom Plaza apartment complex has red lanterns hanging in the courtyard, which allows Brookfield Properties, which owns the building, to advertise “the look you want in a Chinatown LA apartment.” But even the Blossom Plaza apartments that are set aside as “affordable” may be too expensive for current Chinatown residents; a studio for one person is targeted at people with an income of $20,350, while the median household income in Chinatown is $19,500. Residents of 651 Broadway told me that some of the stores they had depended on are getting pushed out, including two low-cost grocery stores. Instead, there are boba tea shops, art galleries, a wine bar, and a much-heralded new Asian fusion restaurant that features a $144 steak. The neighborhoods may still look like Chinatowns, Leong said, but are really just “Disneyfied” versions of the neighborhoods they once were.
Esmé Weijun Wang on Karaoke, Work Ethic, and Returning to Fiction | R.O. Kwon for Lit Hub
My relationship with ambition is complicated, and you’re right that it’s so different to have ambition for the work itself, versus ambition for what happens with the work once it’s out in the world. I don’t love this about myself, but a lot of my ambition is driven by a form of recognition; it’s also true, though, that I want the work itself to be impeccable, and for it to be up to my own standards. And I’ve also been questioning, lately, whether ambition is even a “good” characteristic to begin with, or if it’s just another outcome of a capitalist society, such as having a strong work ethic. But for now, it’s still a part of me. It still drives me, and I like that it’s a part of me. 

Love always,

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