My ebook: Journeys with the caterpillar

My ebook
Journeys with the caterpillar: Travelling through the islands of Flores
and Sumba, Indonesia
" is available at
this link

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hong Kong, I love Hong Kong

Hong Kong to me is the New York of the Eastern Hemisphere. Even though Hong Kong lacks the uber cosmopolitanism of New York, it is as a good a match to NY when it comes to bustle, old world charm, and quirk. There are certainly the wiki attractions of the peak, Disneyland, promenade of the stars, shopping malls. But the most unique thing about this city is its Film Noir character. Brass is everywhere inside the buildings, red is the color of the town, with gilded borders of course, set against the grime of old buildings where the polluted Chinese sky is always low and dark during winters. Dark overbridges, miles and miles of grimy subway tunnels, rusty windows intersperse shiny high street shops, their lighting purpose made to highlight the objects of desire in a lake of darkness. The restaurants, blinding in their heavily gilded tapestries and golden dragon centerpieces, are uniformly filled with loud well dressed customers, numbed well dressed waiters and waitresses swimming gently and quietly in between them, serving the next potion of krill. The loud discussions are mostly about Hong Kong style democracy and the resulting quagmires yet pride from the local system’s need for public consultations.

In this city, everyone is always surrounded by a mass of people going the other path he or she has chosen for the time being. Young men with simple enough jobs run within subway corridors wearing crisp three-piece suits, hair gelled like a business tycoon straight out of a 1960s Chinese movie. Elegantly dressed ladies stand all day inside elevators, pressing the buttons with their white gloved hands. This is a place where iPods would be preferred gilded and a profession of acting as a human pillow for the wealthy would make perfect sense. In such a hyper-charged environment, the young try to relish and experience to the full the best part of their life by staying awake all night.

But the same city also has its fair share of characters thrown out of the embrace of its whirlpool. A protester walks around a park several times, protest messages written on card boards around her. She attracts more fleeting attention than any contemplation. Deformed midgets flap their half-formed arms frenetically like bees to attract sympathy that comes in cents. Solitary ornamental fishes, hung in small bags, watch the rest of the world pass by, hoping for a buyer with a tank. Homeless old women prowl the streets quietly carrying out their wealth, a pile of cardboards, the city’s boundless gift to these women. Loneliness comes easily in this most densely populated part of the earth.

Pictures of Hong Kong in this link


sherene said...

Have you seen any of Wong Kar Wai's films? His works set in HK are a tribute to the many shades of this exciting city. I am particularly fond of 'In the Mood for Love' and 'Chungking Express'

Anu said...

Hey, for some reason I am not getting your posts in the feed...see if there is anything that you need to set...

Shivaji said...

No I havent seen the films you mentioned; will seacrh for them in local library.
Not sure whats the problem, I couldn't understand how the whole RSS thingy works on blogger

Anonymous said...

@Anuradha I subscribe to this blog through Google Reader and I can see this. Do you use the Reader too?

Anonymous said...

Pictures were great.

Anonymous said...

Very comely description of the place. Very observant and insightful post to say the least.

About the Film Noir bit - makes me realize Singapore's obsession with squeaky cleanliness.