FREEDOM FROM FEAR

It was Saturday morning. As usual, I was driving my children to Chinatown for them to attend Chinese language school. The ABC radio station cut through programming to report live from Beijing. The reporter was in Tiananmen Square and the loudspeaker was on. Suddenly he said the lights in the square were turned off and tracer bullets shot across the square. People were running and there were the sounds of gunfire; he had to get out but then the radio station didn’t carry his voice anymore, just sounds of people coming through.

Tears streamed down my face. Surely I should have expected that the pro-democracy movement would end with repression but with weeks of following the news from China, I willed myself to believe that finally China would change.

My 10-year-old daughter asked, “Mama, what is happening?” I answered weakly, “They are getting rid of the students.” I feared the worst. After Chinese school, we went to the Chinese Consulate. There were some Chinese students from Hong Kong with their microphone and many others from the community. Older Chinese-Americans brought water and paper cups. We exchanged phone numbers. A reporter was talking to my elder daughter. That evening, the local news showed the reporter asking my daughter if she knew what was going on. She answered: “The people in China want freedom.”

A week later, on a Monday morning, the radio station reported about a replica of the goddess of democracy statue that was crushed in Tiananmen Square and appeared in front of Los Angeles City Hall on a pedestrian bridge. Tom VanSant and members of Visual Artists Guild had built the 23 feet tall replica of the statue. As VanSant attended the City Hall meeting that morning to gain approval for the statue, a 4.5 earthquakestruck. The statue did not tumble down and the city subsequently allowed the statue to stay for a month.

Thirty years have now passed.  My daughters have now grown and have families of their own.

Still we remember.

We remember those who perished; we remember those who disappeared; we remember those still imprisoned; we remember those who were forced into exile.

For a short shining moment in the spring of 1989, the people in China, inspired by the students, suddenly found themselves speaking the truth, expressing their own China dream.

It was then that they gave each other a precious gift, a gift of freedom, the freedom from fear.

May we continue to share that gift.

~  ANN LAU

CHAIR, VISUAL ARTISTS GUILD

 

My, My, Mylar

Glendale Water & Power (GWP) is reminding customers that metallic or mylar balloons and power lines do not mix. Power outages caused by mylar balloons coming into contact with power lines are on a record pace. Last month Glendale residents experienced two power outages related to mylar balloons. A total of 3,055 customers were out of power for about 44 minutes. Two other reports of mylar balloons in power lines were reported and crews cleared them before any additional power outages resulted. 

The months of May and June are when most outages related to metallic balloons occur due to Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and graduation celebrations. GWP urges customers to make sure balloons are always tied to a weight, as required by California law, and to never release them outdoors. “Outages caused by these metallic balloons are frustrating for our customers and can also cause a lot of damage to our system. It takes time to safely remove balloons from the power lines, restore power, and repair any damage they may have caused,” stated Steve Zurn, general manager of Glendale Water and Power.

The safest metallic balloon is a secured one. Only properly weighted balloons should be sold to customers, and buyers should never remove the balloon weights. Releasing metallic balloons is a risk to public safety. Serious injuries and property damage can occur when the balloon contact is severe enough to bring down power lines.

To prevent outages and injuries, GWP recommends the safety tips below for handling metallic balloons:

• Do not attempt to retrieve a balloon or any object tangled in power lines. Instead call (818) 548-2011 to report the problem.

• Never tie a metallic balloon to a person’s wrist. If the balloon contacts electricity, it can travel through the balloon and into the person, causing serious injury or death.

• Never attach streamers to any latex or metallic balloon.

• When done with balloons, puncture them several times or cut the knot and throw them in the garbage to prevent them from floating away.

• If you see a downed power line, stay away and call 911 immediately.

Visit bit.ly/mylrbln for mylar balloon information and safety tips. See a video of what happens when mylar balloons come into contact with power lines: bit.ly/blnsafe

~  ATINEH HAROUTUNIAN

MANAGER

MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS

CITY OF GLENDALE

 

LETTERS WANTED:

Send letters to kevinu@pasadenaweekly.com. For news tips and information about happenings and events, contact Kevin at the address above or call (626) 584-1500, ext. 115. Contact Deputy Editor André Coleman at andrec@pasadenaweekly.com and at ext. 114.