“HongKongopoly” by Jason Eng Hun Lee

Outloud Too


The object of the game is to become
the wealthiest player through buying,
renting and selling property.
Parker Brothers

Pick up a top hat, tailor made,
or try on new leather boots,
the latest edition for players,
enter by steam ship or train
and take a stroll across town,
ready to turn your fortune around.

Start with petty cash in hand
and get off to a decent start,
travel early and work hard,
trading time into dollars,
double time, overtime,
monies gained for each advance.

Turn your coin to investment
in one turn, gamble with each
purchase, swap a card or two,
make your connections known
around town, find  a free parking space
and some room to breathe for a while.

Pay the utility bill for each quarter,
read the metre and multiply by ten,
pay your doctors fees, school fees,
work out your percentage form,
income tax, luxury tax, donate
to the community chest, then plunder it.

Take a chance, go for broke,
go to the nearest station,
go for the next lottery, the latest odds,
the shares index, numbers
scrolling down the board,
numbers spilling onto streets.

Put your house up for rent,
wait for a flat fee that will pay off
your mortgage in a single day,
set up a hedge fund, a new scheme
that will earn you more, and watch the bank
pay dividends in your favour.

Then build up your estate,
stack the plastic up, side by side,
identical properties lining up
more wealth in your pocket,
more dollars in your hand
than you know what to do with.

Upgrade yourself to a hotel,
plush, red-bricked and ominous,
looking out over all the others,
print your name on every building,
squeeze a round out from each person
then break the bank with your millions.

Entertain your guests, pay them a visit,
write a cheque out with their name
on it but charge them interest,
lose your friends gradually, lose
your bearings, lose it all at the roll of a die,
just to find out what money can’t buy.

[This poem was first published in OutLoud Too, eds. Vaughan Rapatahana, Kate Rogers and Madeleine Slavick, pp. 70-72. ]


Jason Eng Hun Lee is Lecturer at the Department of English Language and Literature.  [Click here to read all entries by Jason.]

One Comment Add yours

  1. Thomas Deng says:

    Dr. Lee, did you just invent the word “HongKongopoly” for the poem?

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