Speaking of Hong Kong Island after seven years, I find that most people no longer reminisce about it.
I returned to Hong Kong again after seven years; it is still the same bustling, indifferent city. The only difference was me. The novelty was now gone but still I wished to explore new things. I didn’t want to simply record what happened every day; what I had experienced and the changes brought by them were more valuable to me. Regardless of the season, farewells and learnings go hand in hand. In today’s fast-moving world and arid air-conditioned rooms, the constant change of the four seasons are no longer apparent. We often overlook these amazing details in our natural or human world, but we are gently aroused again when they are written into lyrics. In a tiny space of mere 20 to 30 square meters, I hope everyone can find their own tranquility.
In seven years, the changes in Hong Kong have been minute. Although it is still the same language and environment, its people have become more modest. I have since made friends and acquaintances in this city; it feels like we’re in a better era. Perhaps, because of this, Hong Kong feels more intimate to me now. As my friend’s father said, a hope for the world to be in harmony, for the environment to improve and for children to have a good home. I presume every father will think about the latter, but one usually cares about the entire human race after one has gone through certain hardships, unless he truly has a kind naïve soul.
Everyone has a story but not everyone has a listening ear. Along the way, I have talked to many people who were unforgettable. I know that meeting someone is not easy. Even among strangers, there is only one in a billion chance to meet. What’s more, so many people in this world who were destined to meet have missed each other; we really are one-in-a-billionth in each other’s’ lives. This vast universe could be destroyed in the blink of an eye and the Earth reduced to ashes in a millennium, but what can be passed on for eternity? I think it is the spirit of the material world. It flows through our everyday lives, impartial between silence and constant flux. Hong Kong might no longer be the same in another thousand years and we might no longer feel the same, but the words that were spoken and written, and the smiles that were exchanged, will inadvertently bring back the soul of the material world. All these may change our future.
This time, I wanted to make a simple record of my reflections in Hong Kong. Since young, I always known Hong Kong to be a vibrant city from television, and that was about it. Even when I first stepped foot here seven years ago, I never knew warmth existed beyond its skyscrapers. It was a busy city, made up of mostly foreigners, and its buildings were filled with many people. But I didn’t know that Hong Kong was mountainous.
I’ve only seen images of the Hong Kong cityscape in books, where it did not seem like it had any places of nature. This time I really understood how free souls could roam in tiny spaces. These mountains stretch for several miles, coexisting within the crevices of the city. There are numerous buildings in the mountains, which become embellishments of nature. They remain untouched unlike those found in the Mainland which has been paved for pedestrians. These encounters brought up memories from a long time ago—wasn’t this how humans began to conquer nature? As someone coming from a small hilly city, the world’s busiest city has instead, brought me back to the wildness of nature.
Maybe my Hong Kong journey should have started with a towering cityscape. However, those scenes from movies no longer exist, the people now are also more gentle and the plots not as dramatic as before. But I am a dreamer, and I love finding fantasies in reality. Those vivid and chaotic scenes must have inspired many. The past is now gone, but we should cherish the world today!
Shannon is an architect who loves searching for avant-garde art (which are not buildings) in her travels. Her everyday life is revolves around music creation and scientific fantasies. She used to live in Chicago and Prague, but currently lives in Shanghai practising architecture and navigating through contemporary art.