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City Out of Breath

City Out of Breath K E N C H E N So all night, we walk in one direction: up. This is really the only direction you can go in Hong Kong, a direction hinted at by skyscrapers and aspired to by the Hong Kong stock exchange. By "we," I mean my father, myself, and our guide--my step-grandmotherto-be--who somehow possesses both our combined age and our combined speed. Trudging up the stairs behind her, my father and I are already panting. We stop and laugh--really only an excuse to catch our breath--but by the top of the stairs, we're bent and sagging, our hands on our knees. And there, at the end of the street, she's waving at us to hurry up--almost as if to fan away whatever remains of our quaint Californian version of walking. When we catch up with her, she says--in what seems like an especially Chinese blend of ridicule and public affection--that we walk too slow. If an American city at night is film noir, then Hong Kong is just a camera blur. The residents of Kowloon speed around with the same look on their faces, as if they're irked at their bodies for not being cars. You http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Manoa University of Hawai'I Press

City Out of Breath

Manoa , Volume 17 (1) – Jul 7, 2005

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2005 University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-943x
Publisher site
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Abstract

K E N C H E N So all night, we walk in one direction: up. This is really the only direction you can go in Hong Kong, a direction hinted at by skyscrapers and aspired to by the Hong Kong stock exchange. By "we," I mean my father, myself, and our guide--my step-grandmotherto-be--who somehow possesses both our combined age and our combined speed. Trudging up the stairs behind her, my father and I are already panting. We stop and laugh--really only an excuse to catch our breath--but by the top of the stairs, we're bent and sagging, our hands on our knees. And there, at the end of the street, she's waving at us to hurry up--almost as if to fan away whatever remains of our quaint Californian version of walking. When we catch up with her, she says--in what seems like an especially Chinese blend of ridicule and public affection--that we walk too slow. If an American city at night is film noir, then Hong Kong is just a camera blur. The residents of Kowloon speed around with the same look on their faces, as if they're irked at their bodies for not being cars. You

Journal

ManoaUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Jul 7, 2005

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