Home is where the heart is but what if your heart is broken? In the last 5 years I have lived in 5 different lodgings even having to move from place to place within the same year. I have deliberately refrained from referring to these places as ‘home’. On the contrary they were just a […]
Born without a penis has been a lifelong curse leaving me in no woman’s land and plagued with a sense of not belonging. Not enough for/of anything …
In my own family I stuck out like a sore thumb, labelled a rebel and black sheep from a young obstinate age, refusing to bend to thousand years old tradiition and values. In the adopted country the colour of my skin meant I couldn’t merge into the crowd despite giving myself an English name in the Sixth Form. I was extremely lucky not to have encountered any nasty racist incidents and my best friends are British but a part of me always yearned to seek my roots.
In Hong Kong, my birthplace I have found some kind of peace. I find it comforting to walk amongst my own people and be just another Chinese face in the crowd. I feel that I have come home and that my life has come full circle. Although I am far from being one of them, marked by my dress sense, attitude, movements and mannerisims, yet I feel I have been accepted and my eccentricities put down to having been brought up abroad. Ah she grew up in London seems to cover a multitude of sins.
Hong Kong can be an intimidating, fast pace kind of place but luckily I have found a quiet haven in an out of the way part of the New Territories. The locals hate its inconvenience, being inaccessible by road and the long flight of concrete stairs that need to be negotiated daily but that is exactly what affords it a sense of serene seclusion. There are only a few houses and half of them abandoned by the elderly who could no longer negotiate the steps. I share this sanctuary with a young family downstairs, a soicable Filipino family opposite and lots of single people living in bed sits.
I belong to neither the very poor who make do with one room for the whole family nor the filthy rich of the nearby gated community. In limbo again, not the grassroots and not the ivory tower either. Perhaps I am the bridge between the two. I have had glimpses of both worlds at different stages of my life thanks to my higher education.
It struck home the other day while at my first barbecue since returning to Hong Kong that I am accorded a lot more respect to the hired help, though I don’t really see myself as any different. We are both offering a service in exchange for money. I observed that the latter never sit at the dining table to eat but at the kitchen counter and even young kids just order them about without even a please or thank you, which I really dislike. When I started to help clear up it seems that this does not become an English tutor, a professional and that this should be left to the maids, it is their job. Status is very clearly defined; I am seen as an equal and they are not. This concept is alien to me, as far as I am concerned we are all human and therefore deserving of respect.
I guess if I had been more ambitious, career minded or married well or not have succumbed to bad health I could have joined the league of those of the gated community. Every time I enter the hallowed grounds I try to imagine what it would be like to live behind those ornate gates being waited on hand and feet and driven around in a high status vehicle. To be honest I don’t think I would like it. I would prefer to do things for myself, why should someone else fill my bowl of rice when I am perfectly capable. I value my space too much now to share it and I am rather fond of my small but cosy flat where the ‘common’ folks live.