After four months in Beijng I visited Hong Kong and it was almost like coming home. I’d never been to Hong Kong before but the city breathed familiarity. Old English influence was in the street names , secluded walkways, sidewalk walls, wrought iron gates and lush tropical growth that reminded me of colonial Jamaica. Cluttered Chinese store fronts with battered doors and cool , dark interiors posted signage in indecipherable text but familiar cantonese pinyin. KwongTung, San KaTsuen .. so different from the mandarin Xi’er and Dongsishiqiao. In Hong Kong the air is musty, verdant and flavoured with salty sea breeze.
It was exotic & unusual yes – there were hidden shrines to ancient village deities and roof top temples with chanting monks -but familiar in the reverence for ancestors and the musky smell of burning incense. On the steps of temple I recognized my grandmother’s features re-incarnated in an old woman who could have been my Ja Poh forty years ago.
It was as if I had stepped back in time, as if I’d been here before. As if I’d come home.
Hong Kong, 2010