Ways of Kids' Seeing
So Close and So Far
We have lived with masks for two years. We meet without really seeing each other. We feel disassociated. I have met several Pakistan kids at Kung Yung Koon after they have their religious rituals. They play hide and seek, share toys and sweets with me. Somehow, I feel connected again. Strangers like me are immediately welcomed into the community. This experience inspires me to think of how “intimacy” can survive the pandemic, and be a salve.
We have spent two afternoons leisurely playing at Ping Lai Path. I give them some disposable cameras and they burn all the films while they are flying around the neighbourhood. These seemingly casual photos open their world to us with all the blurry shadows telling me what intimacy is about.
I have had a great time in those few days.
There are practically no clear portraits of the kids in this photo series. This is the paradox of intimacy and alienation: We meet by random chance. We share some intimate moments. We forget the alienation of daily routine. We leave for our home and never encounter each other again.
It has proved impossible to obtain consent to show the faces of the kids. I wonder if it is possible to make any agreement even if I happen to meet them again. I ask some girls to help me pass the consent form to their parents. The kids reject the idea and say they would rather not be scolded. The staff asks the reason and the kids only say they refuse to show their faces publicly. It is understandable for Pakistan families to refuse to show their daughters’ faces when they start to grow up.
The photos feel a little distant compared with the real intimate moments we have had in those afternoons. We have to understand and accept differences before we start to discuss inclusion, trust and intimacy.
But what we see here gives a fine insight into how these children understand their own world in the time of Covid, and that understanding, offered to us now, can help build the foundations of community.