On August 1, 2022, and after over three hours of walking and walking and walking around and around and around the airport along with other arrivals to Hong Kong from Singapore, where I was prodded by various masked people in blue overalls to go here, there and everywhere to various testing and “holding” areas, it was off for a one week mandatory incarceration at a COVID-19 quarantine hotel in the backwaters of Kowloon.
It was the only hotel available to me. It was a hell hole.
Everyone is different. And the mind is a fragile place.
The stay in isolation in a tiny room where no windows were allowed to be opened, no one was allowed in to clean the room, three meals placed outside my front door daily with a Big Book of rules and regulations to read, and the warning that breaking any of these rules would see me fined and in jail, has changed me forever.
How much that one week has changed me, only I know.
This isn’t some competition to see who has gone through a worse time.
I know what I know and I also know what I am not supposed to know.
It’s was not the Midnight Express, The Shining or the Walking Dead, but this was happening in what once was “Asia’s world city”.
This was taking place where, once upon a dim sum, Hong Kong was the most exciting and vibrant city in the world and “The Gateway To China”.
Today, Hong Kong is Humpty Dumpty with no one knowing how to put the cracks giving it no centre back together again.
There’s no need to even think of being with someone these days. You know who’s still around, you’ve heard all the stories before, and, without wishing to sound cruel, they have nothing to offer. Maybe they never did?
Listening to them could start different triggers twitching and rockets going off as these days patience is not a virtue.
Patience is an albatross, or an unnecessary intermission, because you’re now wired differently.
You’re in a Hong Kong you don’t recognise, and where you don’t belong.
It’s a city that’s waiting to be found, but which is difficult when lost and confused with no sense of history and, seemingly, an orphan with no plans for a future.
The thought of being around certain people makes you feel ill. It makes you wonder when and where and how things changed and might be rearranged and change. But change into what?
Your past has pretty much been wiped clean. Where you find yourself now is Blade Runner territory, and all you have for company is the new Solo you.
Do you miss any of the people who might have once been in your life? You think you might, but no, you don’t.
Maybe this is a good thing as its a helluva lot more interesting and challenging than falling back on old ways and remaining there being comfortably numb and going through life by numbers.
The most interesting person you know is this new you and you still haven’t figured him out.
Who has he become? And who’s that with him?
I am writing this on my mobile phone while “Mr And Mrs Smith” is on television.
I have never seen it and realise how fortunate I have been. It’s an unmitigated disaster and with some truly terrible formulaic acting.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie keep running around killing people while maintaining their secret other life and that’s pretty much it.
If you haven’t seen this piece of shit before, you don’t need to. I just waltzed you through the whole story.
Yesterday I watched something called “The Lovely Bones” about the living looking for the dead and the dead looking after the living. Something like that. It was directed by Peter Jackson and is a garbled mess.
The one redeeming quality to it was watching Susan Sarandon playing pretty much the same role she’s been playing for almost two decades. I love her voice, find her intelligent and sexy as hell.
Susan Sarandon, I would love to meet along with Diane Keaton and Sandra Bullock.
There’s something very special about these three women. They have that something called substance. Their voices say so much and more. You know that they won’t speak emoji.
I dated a Danish girl for a few years who looked like Sandra Bullock. I now realise that was the only reason for my unrelenting pursuit of her and trying to make it last when there was nothing more to her. Not even a good taste in shoes.
Shallow? Guilty as charged.
Jeez, just how guilty have I been by continuing to play that shallow shell game?
How many times did I mute the voice inside me trying to make itself heard by speaking the truth?
It’s embarrassing thinking about how much crap I tolerated instead of just calling things for what they were- nothingness.
But where’s that somethingness?
Is that even a word?
If not, it should be.
Everything around you that matters should have some somethingness.
This is what’s going to make every aspect of living life to the full filled with somethingness that matters.
This is where I believe Hong Kong, and many of us who live or lived here, have gone wrong; we were shallow and accepted everything and nothingness without questioning what we were allowing in.
This is why we are now burdened and bloated with so much fatuous stuff.
We refuse to address the elephant in the room called Nothingness in the shape of pretentiousness and gorging on a nouveau riche lifestyle and ignored anything even close to Somethingness.
This is where maybe Hong Kong became derailed and continues to keep going down the wrong paths.
Priorities are either all wrong or maybe never existed...
This allowed in Pandora and what she had in her box.
I’m sure we saw it happening, but we still allowed her in because of being dazzled by all that glitters and which turned out to be Fool’s Gold.
You remember that “celebrity chef”, too?
It was during these halcyon days in Hong Kong that characters like this were welcomed in and fawned over by the city’s socialites and attention seekers without bothering to check any curriculum vitae and see what was waiting around the corner...
Hong Kong was caught napping and asleep at the wheel and totally unprepared for the multi headed beast unleashed...
Copyright © Hans Ebert, August 12, 2022