I wish to find more ways to represent myself in the city. It’s always in my mind that when I get to the prime of my career or be important, I can live like a real person so full of confidence. It’s the golden age of everyone’s life during the 30s. I’m already a true display of the generation. And that had led me to think, I must dress well, look better while I still can.
Fashion has always been on the loop to me. I never try anything complicated and the nature of casual wear which I love should never be that complicated. It all derives from denim (my jeans). Thanks to my teenage grunge rock influence and a popular Japanese reality show (電波少年) back then. Who’d have thought someone with a broken pants can be on the stage rocking in front of thousands, right? It’s so much joy to see all the little details (stitching, buttons, rivets…) vary from brand to brand. I had invested my favorite and probably the most expensive pair so far to a Dutch brand 2 years ago. The Dutch designers just know denim!
Inevitably, fashion comes with a price…
It was interestingly enough that I did my first ever visit to the Art Basel HK this year. As I’d imagine, the exhibits were everywhere. However, none of them makes any sense to me. I did know know what the artists’ intentions were, what messages they tried to convey. On the other hand, I carefully observed the visitors in front of each art. Almost all of them were snapping pictures, selfies. Everybody care less about which master did it anyway. This type of fair is less than ideal to appreciate art. The fair and gallery curators had assumed the public already knows about the artists they represent. I’m sure their job is just to sell as much as they can.
It’s just very odd. This reminds me of the wine trade shows for trade visitors only, but they somehow let the public visitors in. One thing that I’m certain, neither of us has earned any art knowledge, nor raised our art awareness.
I was somewhere in a Hong Kong (MTR) subway station waiting for my friends to arrive. I was thirsty and it was sensible to get a bottle of water when the restaurant we were about to head to might not accommodate. The convenient store nearby at the station was selling HKD $8 per bottle for the 250ml distilled water that’s made locally. I’d normally get it when I travel and work. But this time around at possible one of the poorest districts, I thought this was totally wrong to make that $8 purchase.
I went up to the ground and tried to look for a place that sells in a more reasonable price. I was unable to find a shop that sells refreshments in a block distance other than another convenient store that sells at the same price.
This got me thinking how much we got sold to believe the prices are optimal for consumers. It was absurd and I wanted to use it as an experiment to see what I could find in this district. After meeting up with my friends, we headed to the restaurant and on our way there’s a non-franchise convenient store/pharmacy. They had the 750ml bottle from the same brand earlier. It only costed $3.
This tied to some of my recent observations. You could be an idiot the first time and second time if you can’t find the alternative yet. But if you settle for the third time and on, then this is just a wrong cycle for a business that do not deserve. You may argue for a person’s acceptance level. That rule does not change however. I’m only worry that the majority of people settle below the acceptance level, because they all think everything’s fine this way. The acceptance level keeps pushing lower and lower until nobody knows where the initial level was.
I’m a night person. I’m most awaked when in the evening. I don’t sleep until midnight or some say almost the early morning. It gets worse when I’m working flexible hours. Half of my daytime can be my bedtime. The night is when I think I begin seriously working on jobs and projects. I often think I should do the best out of the day (before sun down), so instead of working, I head out just to do whatever I want to.
Over the years, it’s just depressing to sit at a desk in front of office. Unnecessary meetings and gossips had consumed all the mental resources of a good man.
I remember a walk in the near by the promenade after lunch was a usual habit to balance out my confused thoughts. It’s still my routine to have this stroll even now and then when possible.
I always had this thought, I should get a taste of how things would be out of the standard 9-6. Precisely, I want to stay out of all the busyness during the peak hours where everything becomes a chaos. Ironically, I’m exactly at it.
Others are thinking how are you going to live with THAT income. It’s simple, as much as it sounds irresponsible, I’m really not. Maybe it’s not about a career switching or how doubtful with my path. I just think it’s a good time, a good opportunity to experiment life with my own provision.
I do believe everyone needs to work hard to get to where you want to be. But an effective way to work hard is far greater than its alone. I want to be able to collaborate and contribute instead of because someone is a boss. Not the ramification I’m referring, it’s the inherited social class from their family that leads to a disconnection with their staff. How they think they’re different and superior had already set a clear boundary for all. It can be intimidating as much as a stranger taking hold of all the activities.
After all those years in the States, I had friends. Most were students, some were ex-colleagues. Some remained in touch, some just disappeared (back then Facebook was still so new) no matter how hard I try looking them up. There’re always something I have in mind want to say to them as time gone by. They’re part of who I’m now, whether it’s the time we spent in school, hangout, workspace. There were all there for a reason.
If somebody still remembers you, you just have to be thankful you are part of their life as well. You might be just a tiny role under his/her long list of friends. At very least, you are bounded by care and aware of the past in a very similar like way you do.
This friend of mine used to worked in the same office with me while in the States. He’s not the most talkative in front of me, but in and out of the office he had taught me a few things. He’s always calm on the outside and inside is like a super computer working a formula to solve an equation. Yes, he was in the I.T./computer science territory. In order to readapt life in Hong Kong and he refigured his formula – his career. He’s a role model.
His wedding last year was his milestone, a beginning to a new life. He specially asked me to take down two dozens of photographs in positive film. I could not be happier to capture these moments in a (analogue) way no other would understand. Perhaps results did not come the way I wanted because of all the restrictions in church and their own hired photographers/videographers. These two keepers may not even be in perfect exposure, to me there’s enough room (hopefully him too) to reimagine the entire day as part of the memory. A bride whom I did not know and my friend looking down the aisle.
These came from my backup camera for the day. I love the documentary part of my first unofficial attempt on a wedding shoot. And I also love the fact that, “do not expect me to give you results you’d expect from a traditional wedding photographer, but I’m going to show you something else”.
You ever wonder who’d be refusing to travel to a destination the second time where you know you’d be enjoying? It’s most probably because I’m in between old and new job, and it’s me wishes to cut down my expenses (clearly not working out with my shopping habit, even more so with the year-end discount). My sister eagerness had dragged me into the trip. I was not even in the mood for the trip planning. It’s a coincident in which my last minute picked motel was located a very convenient location to go anywhere we wanted. That had really set up great for a trip without a concrete to-go attractions.
I’d be lying I had not planned. I had the major attractions in mind but for the particular shops and restaurants, we had no clue until we decided let’s just explore an area on the map. ‘Life is like a box of chocolate, you’d never know what you gonna get.’ Forrest Gump said in the movie. And it’s making perfect sense as I explore during the travel.
I had been a tea lover since early last year. And to some extent, I’m particularly into the tea planted in Taiwan. It’s so exhilarating when I hear them introduce their teas for the season like a piece of art. The way they speak and the words they use had taught me a great deal what appreciation is all about. We all look up to that lifestyle.
As the flight enters the ‘Formosa’ from high above, the green fields on the island patched up like the last season’s patchwork fashion. They have the luxury to respect their land in the old fashion way still. They can grow and supply in some way; in contrary Hong Kong can only grow steel and concrete to meet a very different kind of demand. You just want to enjoy something that’s made in Taiwan. What’s made in Hong Kong these days? Do we instinctually buy the imports? It’s always interesting to learn about the differences of the Chinese communities and what represents the place under different governance and system.
What is life like to be carefree? For the most part, nothing has changed yet until my bank account runs dry in a few months. It’s just pointless to worry now while I should be enjoying my break. I have left my skeptic part of me behind. That is, if your reading glasses are fogged; why not just take it off until the moisture goes away?
I realized a few things I hadn’t while I still had my day job.
First, I could enjoy reading books.
Second, I’m so open to try out eateries (on my budget) out of the district.
Third, the city feels so right during the office hours.
I have stacks of books, food magazines and some monthly art journals on the desk right next to me. It’s not that I do not have time, not that I’m lazy; It’s just that I do not have a proper reading space at home, with all the complicated reasons when living with parents. That proper reading space means everything when it comes to reading. It allows you to concentrate, relax and even indulge by the authors’ writing. I admit i’m only a light reader, but I understand the benefits when reading the right books, and the right topics can learn a few things or two. If the internet/social media is the fast food, then reading a printed publication would be a proper dining experience. Reading is also a great way to tame your patience. 1 hour of quality reading in a park is now what I do in the week days.
Speaking of food, I just want to use it on all the burnt calories over the weekend. It can be boring to eat at the same restaurants over and over again with the same cuisine especially Hong Kong has so many restaurants to choose from. The most difficult part is to walk through that entrance (or settle the bill). I have not cooked (except cereal) for nearly a month now.
It does feel guilty to wander around the city during the office hours while everyone is at work. Streets, parks, restaurants, coffee shops are all quiet and mostly empty. I just love to take full advantage during those hours.
The Plover Cove Reservoir was my longest hike until I tried the High Island Reservoir – with a total of 22km. The most interesting part of this hike was the “internationally rare acidic hexagonal volcanic rock columns”. 3/4 of the hike belongs to National Geographic dream trail – the MacLehose Trail. Like many seasoned hikers have said, they’d do anything to avoid hiking on those routes. I could not agree more as I stepped onto those sections. It must have been widely advertised by the travel agencies since then, there were just a little too many mix of hikers/tourists. Scenery was also average throughout the way. No wonder most guides recommend taking a taxi to the dam where the rock columns are.
I love the part where I completed it and returned to the same spot 8 hours ago. I dislike the part where half of the route was an open concrete road with traffic.
Flute music played by a man in the wilderness? It sounded unimaginably crisp and I promise anyone could hear from far away distance. To me, it added meaning to where he was playing – at an abandoned village. The flourishing violet mountain flowers by a roofless house which it all covered by green moss, had all seemed come alive again. Do they call it a full circle?
I met a hiker during the journey from Ma On Shan to Wong Tai Sin. By all means he did not look like a hiker just by visually scanning on his outfit and the gear he held. He looked more like a construction worker in his early 50s, with a wooden walking cane and a straw hat. He was singing the Cantonese tunes from the 70s. We greeted each other and he asked where I was heading. It’s not too much of a surprise to end on the same destination. He started telling me the route we were on was a major passage and he described how it was before. The further we walked, the more he explained the Taoism philosophy which he practices in. The idea of the nature correcting itself, how our body repairs, and all the coincidence happens around us are all due to the cause of Yin and Yang. He explained how he found several of his wooden canes. They were all picked up after typhoon or cut down by other men. And the canes he collected had checked out all the requirements – the protruding handle, length, weight, balance and the resemblance of human, buddha and other Chinese mystic creatures (such as dragon).
He then asked if I wished to try an off-the-grid route. I refused at first but as we approached that point, why not! It is one of those loose sand and gravel slope he led me to. I would not know there’s such route existed, as it’s behind a high retaining wall. He has even shared me a few tips when climbing down with a supporting rope.
It’s a compliment from him I supposed, he said he does not often bump into people like me, that’s willing to listen and treat stranger not quite a like stranger. On the other hand, he referred it as our fate.
Before we parted ways, he remarked on our society that’s so different from where he used to grow up from. Knowledge and ideas can be passed along to the rest of the family. How many of us know much about the medicinal use of Chinese herbs and common ingredients? How many of us can address our relatives appropriately (in Chinese it’s more than just cousins, uncles, aunties…). All these names and knowledge, our grandmas and a few other uncles/aunties just know it all, right?
I’m grateful my 2016 had been an add-on to the previous. Departing from the workspace which I’d stayed for 6 years was a decision that had built up over the course of 6 months. I noticed life can be different if I decided to steer the wheel. How bad can it be when I’ve got nothing to lose. I think it’s worse if I look back one day and say what if.