In case anyone is wondering the new job is going OK. In the sense that I have something to write about lined up for this week and the next and maybe the next which maybe is as good as it gets. My boss is being marginally nice to me. People are ocassionally talking to me in the office. I am so busy that I don’t have time to doodle at work and yesterday I actually started work at nine and finished at nine.
However, I shall take a break from venting out the job angst to record an incident that happened over the weekend. Yes, a long time ago but still.
So Saturday I escaped Shenzhen and got home in record time, looking neither left or right at the shops in LoWu. I literally made it back home in two and a half hours. I practically pounced on V and held him tight. Never had I been so glad to see him after only a one-day separation.
That evening we had been invited over to a friend’s house for a pre-Dusshera dinner. Yes, one more ocassion where I should have invited people over and ended up them inviting me. Anyway, at some point V suggested that we wait up to watch the rugby world cup… or go down to some bar in LKF. Now we do not follow rugby but it looks like an exciting sport from the two-and-a-half times we actually watched a game so I am not averse to catching the finals. However, the match started at 3.30 am. Now, I am averse to unreal hours because it just messes up you’re day the next day. Yes, I am growing old and all that. I just no longer see it as worth it. It’s one thing if you’re out and having such a good time that you don’t notice how late it is; another to force yourself to stay up to watch the final of a sport you don’t even follow.
Anyway, somehow we ended up going to Wan Chai where all the pubs were overflowing with well, basically, white people glued to the screens. I felt like some kind of fraud squeezing in there to get a view, because there was so little space and we had no idea what the game was about. Also, it was England against South Africa and of course, everyone was cheering for England and I dislike that as well. I find it hard to cheer a British team due to some post-colonial hangover and also because all the Brits I know tend to be faintly obnoxious. Or maybe I’m just prejudiced.
At some point, I got tired of standing for 45 minutes trying to get a glimpse of the screen and so I decided to stand off to the side. The thing with Wan Chai is that it also doubles up as the red light district. So the sidelines are crawling with whores who I would think could easily be told from an Indian girl in jeans and no make-up.
I thought. But at some point, this guy comes up to me and stares right in my face. So after a point I go “what”. So he goes, “you’re leaning on my car”. So I look at the other poeple who are also leaning on my car and go “what about them?” and he goes “now you have to kiss me”. I make a face and move away. His friend goes “it’s ok you can sleep in it” and they walk off.
I end up flaming with embarassment. I wish I had called his bluff because I really don’t think that was his car. I wish I had ignored him and not been, for a moment, frightened. For the first time since I’ve come to Hong Kong, I felt unsafe.
It was my first experience of what Amitav Ghosh calls ‘the shadow lines’ – invisible lines that are not really there but that everybody knows about, the lines that if you cross you are plunged into chaos. In Hong Kong, one of the lines is between ‘ordinary’ women like me and women who have to have sex for a living. And to step across that line you just have to move two paces away from the regular crowd at a bar and lean on the car near the curb.