Tag Archives: I Love You



I return, and as a lover who, after a lengthy period apart, reunites with his beloved, I search for all those familiar signs to connect my memory with what I now see. Thus, I wander through your wet markets, savor your haute cuisine, and listen in on the buskers nearby. It is not the sensory enjoyment that I relish per se, but the memories that are inextricably linked to them that provide comfort.

Some may see an urban Wasteland; but with each rusted bolt and murky sewer, your every pulse reminds me of where I came from, tells me where I stand, and perhaps, if I am attentive, shows me where I am heading.

And so, Hong Kong, I love you.

“A world that can be explained by reasoning, however faulty, is a familiar world. But in a universe that is suddenly deprived of illusions and of light, man feels a stranger. His is an irremediable exile, because he is deprived of memories of a lost homeland as much as he lacks the hope of a promised land to come.”
–Albert Camus,
The Myth of Sisyphus


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Filed under Geoff Wong

How We Came To Know That This Was The Beginning And Not The End

How We Came To Know That This Was The Beginning And Not The End

We found it there in the shadow of that tunnel, just as we had found it in other things along the way. I had sensed it the moment I stepped off the cool airplane carpet and onto the city’s hot streets – or at least, I had sensed its absence – and I looked down at my chest and saw for the first time the erosion that threatened to cave my ribcage in and bury my heart in my stomach. I had always hoped that it would stick around forever – but I think I lost it somewhere in the shadows under my bed. So I began my search, foraging through the mossy air and fish-markets to find what I had lost. If I was vigilant, I would catch glimpses of it in the heat waves and steam wafting off the top of a bowl of noodles. I caught sight of it in dumplings. Or in other things, in festivals and glowing lanterns. In dilapidated apartment buildings. In the musty temples or in the porn on sidewalk newstands. In the concrete. In the noise. In the humidity. In the incense. I’m telling you this so you can keep your own chest from collapsing. I’m telling you this so you know.

It can be a tricky thing, losing your sense of home.

It can be downright, shit in your pants terrifying. So there we were, paralyzed, dangling from the precarious balance beam of hope and hopelessness, and staring hard into the twilight of that tunnel. When I said earlier that we found it there in the shadow of that tunnel, I guess that wasn’t really God-honest truth. You can’t really find a thing like this just like that. but in the echo of my frantic cry, I felt it. Maybe I just needed to hear it in my own voice, as if the answer to my quest was whispered into my ear by a phantom draft that drifted from the curved outline of the tunnel. Maybe you wouldn’t have been able to hear it, or it’s something you haven’t lost because it was never had, or you’re too far around the bend to even care anymore. Maybe I’m just a jealous lover coming back to find that life here has gone on without me. Maybe we’ve got too much history to give it up. I love you Hong Kong.

“…the end of our exploring,

Will be to arrive where we started,

And know the place for the first time.”

– T.S. Eliot

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Filed under Preston Hartwick


The city of eight hundred fifty two.

rebuild it or cover it,
change it or redefine it,

but do little to forget it.

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Filed under Christal (dearskye.)

I love being a fool, if being a fool means being in this city


When I was younger,
I would look up to the brilliantly illuminated buildings
worn out by years of labor…

…then a droplet of dirty water from an old air conditioner would hit my eye.

Hong Kong, this is why I love you.

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Filed under Natalie Nicole Lau

quickly the bamboo


“Do you know what’s so amazing about Hong Kong architecture?”

This is my cousin, the hard working architect. Lucky that: the recession didn’t affect his job; UC Berkley is on his diploma; he was raised right and raised well; life works out just by working through.

Unlucky that: He is an architect.
Yet lucky again, he’s in Hong Kong, the cities of cities.

“You probably won’t find it anywhere else. Up and down in a single day like that. ‘Bahm-bahm-bahm, gum zhou hei zho!’ (Bam-bam-bam, built just like that!)” His hands move higher and higher like a succession of fists, illusions of a foundation, imaginary duplications. “They’re so fast, you’ll never see anything like it. One day it’s there, the next day it isn’t. The builders are extremely talented.”

History here is built just like that.
Danger is not a warning to be careful.
Danger is a warning: It’s going to disappear.

“One day it’s there, the next day it isn’t.
The builders are extremely talented.”


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Filed under Christal (dearskye.)

directions to….

hk love

directions to making a memory for constant replay about the city you love and the person you love that will withstand changes even if the city and the person do not

Return to the city where you were born, where you grew up, studied, met the people who composed you, fell in love and then left. Wait for a sunny day in the summer. August 1st, 2009 is a good day. Make sure someone you love and who loves you (possibly the love of your life to use the phrase) is with you. Maybe today is the last time you’ll be together for a couple of months. Maybe the two of you can not possibly be in this exact place again for the next three years.

Find a subway. Get on a train to Jordan; it’s on the red line between Yau Ma Tei and Tsim Sha Tsui. Or you can walk there if you’re already somewhere close though distance is relative and the city is sweltering. Exit onto Nathan Road and walk towards Tsim Sha Tsui on the left side of the road. It is difficult to get lost, but if you do, wander until you find the main road again. Keep walking straight until you pass a McDonalds. Walk until you see a long line of people. Wonder to yourself what they can all be thinking standing out in this heat waiting for something. Get in line. Wait.

Eventually you will reach the head of the line and be asked how many you want. Probably you’ll be asked in Chinese so if you don’t understand just raise two fingers. If you’re lucky enough to both understand and speak the language, tell them you want two and hand over twenty-two dollars. Wait.

You will be handed two brown paper bags, each containing a circular waffle made up of bubbles curled slightly to fit inside the bag. These things I know are certain: it will be crispy on the outside, chewy inside, warm and perfect. Hopefully the sun is shining, but it’s not suffocating. Hopefully the person you love is next to you. With chance and luck and maybe fate, hopefully the two of you know you love each other. Maybe you’ll eat now. Maybe you’ll leave this city and not return. Perhaps.

And I know these directions are certain.

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Filed under Charis Poon

What the Fork.

Above: My Grandpa, Cheung Ching.

Translations of Fictitious Journal Entries

loosely based on a true love story

Dear Work Report,

I am relieved. My work is done. After three arduous years, I believe I have finally convinced Mrs. Leung that Cheung Ching is the right man for her daughter. I think Mrs. Leung was completely sold on the idea when I told her Cheung Ching spoke English and conversed with an English man yesterday when I was spying on him at work. Well, at least I think he was having a conversation with him – I’m a matchmaker, I can’t be responsible to know such things. The foreigner said something to him and Cheung started moving his mouth quite frantically and took out every fork that was on the Sincere Department Store catalogue. At the end of his feverish oral movements, the foreigner nodded, looked at the various forks and pointed at one and walked away looking satisfied. When I summarized that to Mrs. Leung, she looked to so blissful, like some bomb filled with happy ready to explode, I knew I didn’t need to say anymore.

So now that all that’s finished. I hope they’ll get married soon. Mrs. Leung has such picky taste; I don’t want to go through the whole process of finding someone she sees “potential” in again.

– Ms. Matchmaker, July 14


Dear Diary,

What a wonderful day! I’ve been dreaming of Red, Red, Red! I’ve started the dowry list! I’ve gotten my calendar out to figure out that special day when all the luck, love, and prosperity will flourish! My mouth waters to taste the tea that will be given to me by my daughter and her groom! What a mystical elation my heart feels!

I had a meeting with my beautiful daughter’s matchmaker to hear of the report she had promised to give me today of Cheung Ching, the young Sincere Department Store salesman from Hong Kong, and what a report! on top of his professionalism, the matchmaker said he was charming and most impressive all – he was speaking English to a foreign customer! Imagine that, my future son-in-law can communicate with the foreign world! There’s no doubt that he’ll go far in this long and treacherous life. According to the matchmaker he was having lucid conversation with a foreigner about forks! His linguistic ability has won me over ten fold!

The report was told to me over tea today and just exhilarated me. So much so, I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening daydreaming about the marriage that will inevitably happen now. I’m glad Cheung Ching has redeemed himself. I mean, you have to understand as being part of a family which owns one of the largest cow-bone-fertilizer companies in Macau, I had my doubts about this boy. He comes from a penurious background and spent the two years prior to his salesman job being pretty much a slave to some unknown architect. Do you know how embarrassing it was to tell people that a slave was courting my daughter? Because of Cheung Ching’s status, I was the butt of all jokes around the mah jong table. It was utterly mortifying. It had gotten to the point where I was going to either blow up in front of my friends and lose face or break that courteous boy’s heart and tell him to give up the chase and I’m quite well known to be one who often shows equanimity, so lucky for Cheung for getting that salesman job. That boy has really gotten onto his two feet.

Though I have only seen Cheung Ching alone from a distance and from his visits to our family home here in Macau,  he has made a strong impression on me. He seems to be a hard worker maybe even fit to take over our fertilizing business when my husband and I grow old! He’ll learn the trade of crushing cow bones and using the remnants of that to maker fertilizer. What peacefulness my heart feels now that such a competent suitor is courting my daughter!

– (My grandmother’s mother’s name), July 14


Dear Journal,

The pit of hell has broken past the mantle of the earth and is swallowing me whole. I cannot lift my face to look at myself in the mirror . I will die alone. I have brought disgrace to my family forevermore and more. I will die alone. The fates have decided. I cannot retaliate. My gaff has left me loveless. What am I to do?

Having worked at Sincere now for almost a year, of all days why did that foreigner decide to ask me something? I can’t even write down what he asked me since I have no idea what he even said to me! Those guys never come up to me. They know better than that. If you’re foreign, you always go to the manager or at least othe person who looks like he can speak English.

Worst of all, this paled skinned freak caught me by surprise. I was daydreaming about next week when I’ll be taking an overnight ferry to see the love of my life in Macau. Then all of a sudden this foreigner comes up to me asking about gods know what. I frantically mumble sounds I thought meant, “I don’t understand.” But obviously I wasn’t communicating that since he kept talking to me, so I looked around hoping to find the manager, but no one was near me! It’s gets worse. As I looked around, I was quite certain I saw a glimpse of the matchmaker hiding behind a display in the bedding department, which is right across from the cutlery department where I work.

In the rush of things, I suddenly heard the foreigner say the magic word, “fork.” The architect I used to assist from some european country, I forget, was a voracious eater and always asked me to help him get his forks for him. After hearing the foreigner say that exact same word as the architect, I went right to work taking out every single fork in the cutlery department saying, “very nice” with my thumb up to every fork I took out. I was trying my best to smile and stay composed, but any fool would have been able to tell how ridiculous I looked. Thank goodness the manager didn’t show up, he would probably killed me for taking everything out. Luckily, I guessed right, the foreigner did want forks. He eventually picked a set and said something along the lines of “geelee gooloo.” After he finished saying whatever he was saying, I bowed like a small child bowing in front of parents at a piano recital. Why did I bow?! No one bows anymore! Why did I bow?! Stupid.

Oh the dread. I’m just waiting for the poison to begin its work. For that judge to slam the hammer down and sentence me an undeserved death. What havoc and embarrassment when the matchmaker goes and reports what she saw to Mrs. Leung, god knows she already hates me. I better start making plans to do something productive next week since I doubt Mrs. Leung will want me to see her daughter ever again.

– Cheung Ching, July 14

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Filed under Jonathan Wu