Three random thoughts from a Hong Kong millennial.
1. I’m realizing how much my commute influences my feelings about the city. Recently, I’ve started to see the city as more open and caring, which I suspect comes down to me ditching MTR-riding during rush hour, and instead switching to buses and walking. Yes, the MTR is better for the environment in the long run, but it’s a brutal world down there. It’s sad how willing people are to push and shove you in order to get on the train.
On the bus, people are nice to each other! I’ve had a fellow commuter, worried that I’d miss my stop, gently wake me up from sleep. I’ve had five passengers join forces to chip in for my bus fee because my Octopus ran out of money and I stupidly didn’t have any cash on me. Is it possible that years of MTR riding will make you cynical?
2. In my opinion, walking is hands down the best. When you’re walking, you’re in charge. You can choose to go the quick way or the longer but more pleasant route, stop to check out that cat in the Chinese herbs store, or take a detour and say hi to your favorite tree. It’s fun and liberating, which is NOT an exaggeration when you compare that to being sandwiched between two people on the train. On my walks, I’ve discovered so much more about Hong Kong, like the city’s lovely variety of birds or this gorgeous view of Kowloon Bay. I’ve even become friends with a security guard.
3. What I’m reading… Chinese writer Lin Yutang’s translation of “Six Chapters of a Floating Life,” a Qing Dynasty autobiography by Shen Fu in classical Chinese. Deciphering classical Chinese used to be the weirdest experience: I understood all the characters but I had no idea what it was saying. But this book is a game-changer. Here’s an excerpt about Shen’s life as newlyweds: “I began to sit down by Yün’s side and we joked together like old friends after a long period of separation. I touched her breast in fun and felt that her heart was palpitating too.” This book is basically all blog posts from ancient China. It’s so much fun!