Saturday, June 26, 2004


When I used to live on an outlying island it was an incredible coincidence if I ran into someone I knew in the city.

These days it's strange to go anywhere without bumping into friends. I have just arrived at work having come via the supermarket for some last minute ingredients for today's lunch for thirty.

That particular supermarket used to be my regular but I've been frequenting another one for the last few months. The cashier asked me why such a long time and no see. I told her I've been at the Hankow Rd store and she nodded, adding that it the range was much better there.

While still at the checkout, I saw another friend, a businessman from Ghana. I mentioned that I hadn't seen him for a while and he told me that he'd been out of Hong Kong on a business trip.

Arriving at Chungking I went to see Mabel, the Calcutta-born Chinese lady that runs my favourite movie store. The CD I wanted is the soundtrack of a new movie with a very strange name ('Why? We're in love, aren't we?'). Mabel hadn't heard of it and assumed that I was getting the name wrong. She gave a multitude of suggestions of similarly titled movies which I found quite amusing.

As I negated her suggestions, other customers also pitched in - maybe I wanted 'Tell me that you love me' or 'Is this really love?'. No, none of those. The music has only just been released so I guess I'll go back again after a week.

As I got in the lift someone mentioned to a friend in Hindi that my new trousers are very nice. I enjoyed the compliment without acknowledging that I had understood.

It's days like this that I really enjoy the sense of community in and around Chungking. If you can ignore the posters at the bottom of the lifts asking for information on a recent murder then it's really a nice place to work. I read an interview in HK Magazine last week where a Chungking resident stated that this is the only place in Hong Kong where everyone is equal. I think I agree.

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