Saturday, July 30, 2005

Lan Kwai Fong

I caught up with a few old friends when I was in HK and I was extremely disappointed. I was actually describing how I felt to one of my current co-workers and i said how 'i was really surprised with how.... ' and before I could even finish the sentence she answered it for me: 'how superficial they are'. She lived in singapore for a little while and like me doesn't exactly fit into the materialistic scene.

We talked further and at first i though that perhaps they had changed. One friend in particular was particularly shallow and rather racist to 'locals'. Keep in mind that both of her parents are actually chinese its just she was brought up overseas. She was new to Hong Kong when we were first friends and i thought perhaps all the male attention she received had gone to her head. But then as my co-worker asked 'was it really them who had changed?'. Perhaps it was me having returned to Melbourne for a year who was seeing them from a different perspective.

I'm really not sure.

I read a interview with anthony won chau-sun recently where he was quoted as saying:

'Of course expats love Hong Kong. We have this colonial mentality of thinking of Westerners as superior so they live in Mid-Levels.'

While I don't completely agree with him, he does raise a good point. There are two types of expats in Hong Kong. The first type earn a very decent wage, and live in the midlevels. They are the type that love their LV bags and other designer brands. They might have domestic helpers and socialise mostly within their expat circles. It always makes me laugh when people talk about the greeks or the Vietnamese or whatever race sticking together in Australia because judging by some of the behavior of some of the expats in HK they do exactly the same. Americans tends to do it very well. I remember taking Mr T to a cafe in Hong Kong and him saying 'i'm the only chinese person here'. Not only that but there was no chinese waiter/waitresses and no chinese menu and the waiter was kind of rude to him. In fact I think he was the only chinese person on the block.

Sadly I think that type (the mid levels type) are the majority. The second type I would like to think I belong to. Especially considering I can only think of a handful of people that actually belong to this category. There are westerners in Hong Kong who attempt to learn about the culture rather than pretend they are back in the US or Aus, or wherever. Who attempt to try the local cuisine (the good thing is it's actually cheaper and tastier), and even the language. More importantly though they don't look down on 'locals' and refer to them with all sorts of generalisations. It can be a lonely place though existing without actually belonging to the larger expat scene or the local scene. Having said that though I've come back with obviously a lot more knowledge not to mention tried all sorts of amazing cantonese dishes.

Speaking of knowledge. I'm still continually surprised with some expats ignorance. I recently heard an acquaintance who has lived in Hong Kong for five years say 'chinese people don't drink'. Mmm thats strange I'm sure I saw lots of bars and quite a few of my friends (Mr T included) drink themself stupid. How can one live there and make such a stupid statement? I've also had friends who have grown up In Hong Kong without learning more than two words in cantonese. Now i know its a hard language and you can get by without speaking it, but its just seems really disrespectful to not even attempt to learn when you have there for twenty plus years.

It sad when you think about it, sad for the expats who fail to get a real sense of Hong Kong life, and sad for 'locals' who have to put up with rich snooty bastards who think they are better in some way.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

The real Mongkok

I worked in Mongkok for 6 months so I know the area a little better than some of the other areas in HK. It's such a crazy place and while the shopping is great (although stay clear of the touristy markets like the one pictured above) there is only so much even I can take before it starts to get really annoying. Something to do with excess crowds and the pollution that just drives you a little crazy. I've figured out the way to make it seem a little better though. Simply remember to stop and take little breaks enjoying desserts like this:

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Lego version of mongkok sent to me by Mr T to make me smile.

As cute as it is. Mongkok is the most densely populated area in the world, somehow I don't think they have enough lego people in the pic :-)
Finally, finally, finally

some good news

test results reveal that it was just a temporary reaction to the test and that he should be able to walk again very soon.

Thank bloody god (not literally of course).

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

RIP Mr T's grandma.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The last few days have been pure hell.

My brother still can't walk.

Today though he had progress: he could sit in a wheelchair and be wheeled downstairs. Baby steps i guess. Yesterday he couldn't really sit at all. In the back of mind though I wanted to scream 'don't get used to the wheelchair'.

The surgeon broke his holiday short yesterday to see him and told him that he simply doesn't know if the damage is permanent or even what is wrong. Another specialist has suggested that perhaps the discogram has caused swelling in an area which has hit a nerve.

My brothers mood seemed better tonight. Although i'm not sure if it simply just all the heavy duty painkillers they are giving him, his fav is sodium penthanol at the moment.

Strangely I feel like I am walking around with the disease at the moment since some of the closest people to me have avoided me this weekend. Perhaps its not knowing what to say, or just feeling akward calling me for fear of hearing such horrible news. Or just too busy to make the time or effort. Whatever the reason its sad to think that when I need my friends the most they aren't there. Having said that Mr T and two close friends(J & N) have been amazing. My life currently consists of hospital, hospital and more hospital. Yet they are there when i can manage to call them back or message me even if it is late and to hear me babble on and on and even cry a little. Just hearing about something else is also great. I'm not sure what I would do without it.

This week will be hard though going back to work pretending to be ok. Being civil, yet not my normal self and hoping that people don't notice. I'm not ready to talk to strangers or mere acquaintences about it. Besides i think i will probably start crying, and once I start i know it will be hard to stop.

Friday, July 22, 2005

There were tears in my eyes today at work.

I got a missed call from my brother and I knew instantly that something was wrong.

He never calls me.

First chance I got I returned his call and my mother answered.

Instantly I felt sick. Extremely sick. Its amazing how quickly life can turn from relatively carefree to chaotic.

Background info: my brother had a discogram (an X-ray examination of the intervertebral discs performed by injecting dye into the center of the injured discs) yesterday.

During the night he had spasms in his back and extreme pain. By morning he couldn't walk, he couldn't even stand. My mum told me this at work her voice betraying her panic. My mother exposed emotions made it even worse. My mother has endured quite alot of drama in her life and shes always in control well at least in front of us.

I'm not even sure what happened then. I have vague memories of people trying to talk to me as I waited to tell the team leader that I had to leave work NOW and me ignoring them or being not particuarly nice. All I could think about was horrible it was. My brother is the athletic one. The sporty, popular, good looking one. If somebody should not be able to walk it should be me. For fucks sake its my little brother. He's only 22!

Everything between now and then is pretty much a blur. I remember buying him candy while I waited to know which hospital to go to and somebody taking my phone, it was down at the counter for all of about a minute- two at the most. Mother fucker! I had to think at that stage so i used a pay phone and called my home phone then got my brothers mobile which I had to write with lipbalm on the payphone booth. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Later tears in my brothers friend eyes. Trying to remain upbeat in front of my brother. Joking and feeling sick. Morphine and all sorts of other heavy painkillers for my brother.

There is hope though. He has feeling in his legs, his toes and the doctor suggests that there is probably not permanent damage. I have never hated that word more than I do tonight.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

I'm back!

and with this weather and the thought of work tomorrow I can't say i'm glad to be back.

The trip was surreal both good and bad.

Stories and pics to come.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

One more day of work

and i'm off

God I need a holiday!!!!

Sunday, July 03, 2005

The good
  • I finished my essay-which means 1 month off uni-which mean 1 semester of my masters is over (only 7 more to go-mmm thats bad but nevermind)
  • less than a week to my holiday
  • Mr T quittting his job (read: slave job)
  • Next Harry Potter coming out very soon
  • finding this article-on marriage and feminism and the internal battle-i'm not alone!!!-more on that later.
  • going to Origami's final show on thursday night with Claire and Sarah
  • Claire making me an awesome mix cd
  • Discovering sleater kinney as a result-where has the lead singer been hiding my whole life?- i lurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrve her
  • Vegetarian orgasm cake