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Autobiography Case

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The 1980s in Hong Kong was a time of both economic stability and political uncertainty. Under the British colonial rules, Hong Kong flourished and became a leading financial power in Asia. But for most of those living in Hong Kong during that time, the apprehension of a nearing end overshadowed the economic bloom, for Hong Kong was to be returned to China in 1997. As the handover of 1997 edged near, emigration statistics raised to historical highs. Many families left for western countries to carry on their free way of life. My family was one of them.

I was born in 1984. I had a taste of the rigorous education system in Hong Kong in the late 80s. By the time I turned six and was just starting to have a slight understanding of things, my mom decided to take advantage of the green card she have been holding for almost ten years and make the move to the States. Because according to her, "Hong Kong is going down." She took me with her but my father decided to stay behind because of his growing business. That was 1991. Luckily, the Chinese government announced that Hong Kong was to be established as a Special Administrative Region and was never subjected to communist rules. In the years that followed, I would be traveling back every year to spend time with my family, and that was always my favorite time of the year.

The move here wasn't difficult for me. Because of my tender age, I adjusted to the life here within a year. We first settled in east Oakland where occasional gunshots can be heard from the windows. To compensate having a second household on this other side of the world, my mother took up an embroidery job in a factory where she sometimes had to work long hours during busy weeks. I was very confused then as to why she would want to move here and live a life that was less than what we had. My mother was an elementary school teacher before she gave up her career to immigrate here. In Hong Kong, our family owned a condo that was on the 33rd floor of a building that sits on a hill. It overlooked the whole city. Comparing to the little studio we first rented upon our arrival, the two was a stark contrast. Our lives in two different ends of the world were also a stark contrast.

What seemed like a plunge in our standard of living at the time was soon forgotten as I settled into second grade. For the first time in my life, homework seemed to be non-existent and I was somewhat beyond the level of coursework that was assigned to me. With more time on hand, my mom subjected me to different extracurricular courses. That was when I found my creative passion. I asserted it as a talent when I won the annual drawing contest in my school for three consecutive years. Even though I was the only student in the school's history to have done that, I was never content enough to pursue this passion of mine until many years later.

My junior-high years went by with no significance. Then with the transition to high school, came my rebellious and experimental phase of life. My mother still worked long hours from time to time. That gave me a lot of freedom to do whatever I pleased. In my freshmen year, I rapidly expanded my social circle, and with those fun-loving friends of mine who would rather be anywhere but the classroom, I started skipping class. On the days when I wasn't in class, which was very often by the end of my freshmen year, everything I did with my friends was a blast.

My freshmen year was in late 1998, early 1999. That was also the height of the raving scene. Government regulations on those large scale parties were minimal, and since no alcohol were involved, there was no age limit. I went to my first rave when I was fifteen years old. I instantly fell in love with its culture. But whether I loved it because of the music or because of the ecstasy, I couldn't recall. For the next few months, I "raved" almost every weekend. Most of the times I took ecstasy or smoked marijuana, and occasionally my friends and I were able to get hold of some acid tabs or "magic" mushrooms. Maybe it was happiness from just a pill, but those raving days gave me some of the best memories of my life.

With the endless parties to attend and my constant absences from school, my academic health plunged. But this all ended by the end of 1999 when I had a fallout with one of my fellow classmates. The fallout



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