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      I’m Canadian, but my father often worked overseas. My earliest memories are not of Vancouver, where I was born, but of Malaysia, where I spent my first five years.  The person who took care of me then was not my mother, but Anna, the housekeeper. She was a Chinese Malay and I spent most of […]
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OccupyWallStreet: The people in the park

These are pictures of OccupyWallStreet in Zuccotti Park taken on Monday, Oct. 17, 2011.  The freaky people can be found on the perimeter of the park facing outwards, which is one of the reasons I suspect some of them were hired by Fox News.  On the interior of the park, all ages and ethnicities can be found.  As you can see, the vast majority of people in the middle of the park are perfectly normal looking and acting.  It’s just that you have to pass through a phalanx of some pretty strange looking people to get to the middle.  This is a shame because, even though the passersby could see that there were a lot of typical, average people in the park, the media audience won’t know that because that’s too mundane.  What’s so fascinating about potentially meeting your neighbor at an occupation?  Let’s be voyeurs and take a picture of the scary looking guy with the tattooed face!

The park is full.  There are people sleeping it off in sleeping bags in unexpected places.  It’s hard to see how they manage to sleep with all of the activity going on around them, especially when there’s a good possibility that they could get trampled.  There’s really nowhere to sit so the plantar boxes and stairs are where people congregate to rest, if you can find a bum sized space.

This guy was brave or trying to demonstrate his arithmetic skills.  Most people stopped to talk to him  and he seemed to be having some good interactions.

This is where you can leave your ideas for the OWS think tank.  Keep in mind that the occupation is prohibited from erecting structures in the park so makeshift tables and recycling/sanitation bins made of cardboard pop up here and there.   If you have an idea and you want to develop it into a policy with other 99%-ers, you can contact the think tank at OWSthinktank@gmail.com.

It’s impossible to keep all religion out of the park.  The Hassidim are celebrating Sukkot this week and are looking for Jews in the park to perform a blessing.  I thought it was kind of nice.  It’s a “green” holiday.  Partition Function was singled out by a boy of about 11 who made him bless the four directions with the palm fronds.  Then he turned to me and asked, “Are you Jewish?”  “1/8th”, I replied.  “Mother or father?”, he said, hopeful that he might have snagged another one.  “Father”, I said.  “Nope”, he said, and moved on.  For a brief second, I was crushed.  But I got over it.

The scene below is more representative of the occupiers of Zuccotti Park.  I include day trippers such as myself.  Many people came and stayed for awhile.  There seems to be more men than women, although at the General Assembly, the genders seem more evenly split and the directing facilitator that night was female, with a big voice.  About the GA, there is a reason why they use the People’s Mic and hand signals.  There is no voice amplification allowed in the park.  To get a permit for a megaphone would cost more money than they have.  So, the people’s mic is necessary to make sure everyone can hear what the speaker says, while the hand signals cut down on clapping and other noise that tend to interrupt these kinds of meetings and drown out the speaker.  It’s very effective, you can hear the speaker pretty well and it forces you to listen closely.  I think it’s brilliant.

This picture is rather big and may be partially cutoff in your browser.  In mine, I can only see the left half of the picture.  Open it in a separate window to get a better view of the 99% in Zuccotti Park.  Note that the smoothie stand on the right makes a nice bubble tea, if you’re into black tapioca balls in your drinks.

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