Pride of Place: Abel Han Song

Pride of Place: A series in which teaching staff and students from the English Department reflect on a place in Hong Kong. [Read all entries.] [Revisit the “Pet Sounds” series.] [Revisit the “Headspace” series.] [Revisit the “Ongoing” series.] [Revisit the “Interrogative” series.]

Photograph by JC Gellidon (via. Unsplash)
It is one of those Mondays when everyone stands in silence, like a phone on mute. You can sit, of course, if arrive early enough, or are old enough. If an alien or a god arrives on the MTR on a Monday, he or she would be ignored, or touched by this intimacy of human beings: hands on handrails, arms by shoulders, shoes and sneakers, cheek by jowl. Yet everyone tries to find their own place among others, using their screens, earphones, and newspapers, to fill the lacuna, to entertain themselves with stories of someone else.
You are trying to focus, but on what? The girl, wearing makeup? The man, playing mobile games? The boy, looking at himself in the window, fixing his hair? They all fall into tranquillity by the window’s mirrored darkness, as the train sails under the harbour, when the announcement lady rests for a while, when the cracking sounds sound like waves. In the dim light, they all — at least for one moment — fear that the next station will be not Admiralty or Quarry Bay, but somewhere in the water. But the platform arrives as usual, and then the concourse fills gradually. They head off, in their boots, high heels, and leather shoes, tap-tap tap-tap, as if they are not random passengers, but an army on the march.

AbelAbel Han Song is a graduate student at the Department of English Language and Literature (Class of 2016). [Click here to read all entries by or about Abel.]


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