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Quick stopover at Lantau

August 8, 2022

The name Lantau Island is based on the old local name of Lantau Peak (爛頭). Its Chinese name 大嶼山 is sometimes romanized as Tai Yu Shan.

Lantau Island, the largest of Hong Kong’s islands, lies at the mouth of the Pearl River. 

Marilyn Chin Born Mei Ling Chin
1955
Hong Kong

Marilyn Chin’s father changed her name from Mei Ling to Marilyn because he was fascinated by Marilyn Monroe. The two names sounded similar, so he thought it was a good idea.

In addition to writing poetry and fiction, Chin has translated poetry by various Asian writers, notably by the modern Chinese poet Ai Qing, the Vietnamese poet Ho Xuan Huong, and co-translated poems by the Japanese poet Gozo Yoshimasu. She has edited ground-breaking anthologies of Asian-American writing like Dissident Song (1991) and Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation (2004).

Sose International Film Festival
The Reality Behind What We See” ~The Poet, Yoshimasu Gozo

Chin’s work distills her experiences as a feminist and Asian American woman. Her poetry is noted for its direct and often confrontational attitude.

“Chin struggles passionately and eloquently in the pull between the country left behind and America—the troubled landscape that is now home.” – Anne-Elizabeth Green

Visiting Lantau Island is largely about stepping away from the dense, urban hustle of Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula. Life is a little slower—but not too much—and the roads are a little windier. In a country that boasts the largest number of skyscrapers on earth, the extra personal space on hilly Lantau Island feels welcome.

Talk about raising the significant attributes or features found in our countries; extending their geography through poetry, poets create an inqusitive inquiry. In this way we put our cities and regions on the touristic and literary maps.

Read Marilyn’s poem about the island, written at time when she stepped away from her adoptive country with the big apple and spent some time in silence, at the foot of the Buddha.

Lantau

While sitting prostrate before the ivory feet of the great Buddha, I spilled almost an entire can of Diet Coke on the floor. I quickly tried to mop up the mess with my long hair. I peeked over my left shoulder: the short nun said nothing and averted her eyes; to my right the skinny old monk was consumed by a frightful irritation of his own. He was at once swatting and dodging two bombarding hornets that were fascinated by his newly shaved head. “I hope he’s not allergic.” I chuckled softly. And beyond us was the motherless Asian sea, glittering with the promise of eternity.

 
 

Tian Tan Buddha, also known as the Big Buddha. Hong Kong, China.

The Tian Tan Buddha statue at Po Lin Monastery is one of the largest of its kind in the world. The 112-foot-tall bronze statue weighs over 280 tons and sits prominently at the top of 268 steps. The “Big Buddha,” as it’s called locally, isn’t old (it was finished in 1993), but it’s impressive still the same. 

3 Comments
  1. I seem to remember that it is a fair old walk to reach that statue too! 😉

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