Archives for posts with tag: Hong Kong

It has been brought to my attention that the way I spend my days here is tipical of a wealthy HK Tai Tai (housewife). My routine consists of sightseeing or acupuncturist in the morning, meeting up with friend over her lunch break, shopping in malls in the afternoon, evening activities such as Chinese opera or fortune teller, dinner and/or drinks. Therefore I am meditating a career shift to become a professional HK trophy husband. I am fully convinced I have the stamina it takes to be a hardcore one. So I am going to place this ad in the personal section of local newspapers:

Hard working NGO professional seeks celibate HK resident with seizeable disposable income and yacht club membership for limited partnership venture. Fluent in 4 languages and with proven track record of charming potential Cantonese in-laws, will trade career for life of outings, eating, shopping and shmoozing. Can also manage philanthropic interests of said HK resident and blend in very well with interior design of duplex apartment overlooking the harbour. Willing to keep silent and look pretty during house receptions. If interested, please send CV, photo, notarised copy of bank accounts’ statements and writing sample (two pages max, single spaced).

image

Advertisements

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for gender-blender type things but I am worried I am slowly acquiring a reputation for being HK’s most timid and clumsiest crossdresser.
Sometimes I seek refuge from the heat and humidity in shopping malls, indulging in window shopping and the occasional purchase. The experience inevitably goes wrong circa 3 minutes into the forey, when a shop assistant inevitably creeps in on me to let me know I have been looking into the woman section of the shop all along. The worst part of it is that by the third minute I have usually fished out an item of clothing (for instance a pair of micro shorts) that clearly belongs to the woman section as opposed to the usual stripy and tight pink top I have learnt are a respectable thing for Asian men to wear.

image

image

The Hong Kong government is running a campaign aimed at getting citizens’ feedback about the HK airport (which has won multiple prizes for being the most functional in the world). The rationale is that they see the airport as a key to keep HK competitive so they are asking citizens for their views on how the 2030 expansion plan should look like (foresight, anyone?).
Seeing the ads on the MTR (the underground) prompted me to ask my friend about HK politics. While the city has an active local politics that is free and fair, she complains that HK people are rather disengaged from politics. To be honest I do not find it hard to believe. After months of discussions about why the military has put so and so on military trial for protesting in Egypt and a 5-week stint in Libya where everyone is happy to walk about with guns and fire them in celebration in the midst of crowds, I am quite happy to let consumerism embrace me and put my political self to sleep.
My friend agreed that in a society where efficiency is the norm (and with the comparison of mainland China next door), citizens become more like very empowered customers rather than politically engaged citizens.
My friend told me that while HK people can be quite vocal (those stereotypes about the Cantonese must come from somewhere) and happy to take a protest to the streets, politics is not on the radar of most youth. A few weeks ago it was the anniversary of the Tienammen square events. During a discussion one of my friend’s friend admitted that until recently she did not know that the portrait hanging on the square was of Chairman Mao.
Maybe she thought it was the portrait of China’s next top model?

image

My friend and I went out for brunch this Sunday in Soho, a very trendy neighborhood in Hong Kong. We were sitting by the window, so in addition to enjoying some great eggs benedicts with salmon, we also got to do some great people watching.

What I realised thanks to this gastro-anthropological experiment is that (male) expats in Hong Kong tend to be of the fit, groomed and anglosaxon variety, walking about passionatly in love with their significant other or worn by their Hong Kongese girlfriends (or occasionally boyfriends) almost like a status quo accessory.

While my friend told me that the expats of the ‘sleezball I have drunk all of my free-lance money’ persuasion tend to hang out in the cheaper bars in a different part of town, she also agreed that the expats in HK tend to be of the `eye candy` sort and she confessed than when she was a child she thought all white people were beautiful (she has since then lived for long periods in Europe and America so she has been disabused quickly of this stereotype). I also thought about how I usually take care of my appearance in Cairo when going for brunch  (let’s say casual-not-so-chic).

All of the sudden I felt terribly under-dressed and made a mental note that once back in the West I need to step up my game, go to the gym, lose the anarchic hair cut end and the whole mumbo jumbo if I am ever to get a date again. Last time I felt like this was a year ago in a gay club in Beirut – and I thought none could outdo the gays and the Beirutis with their dress-to-impress psychosis. Well, I had forgotten about Asia I guess.

Also, on the subject of natural and man-made beauty: this is the view of Hong Kong’s eponimous fragrant harbour at night from the Peak.