Tuesday, October 06, 2020


Sometime today, fairly early, I plan to head to Chinatown, which is seven blocks away across the hill. Vegetables and dim sum. Plus a long slow amble with a pipe. No milk tea, because one cannot enjoy that indoors there anymore. And it is essential that a comforting cup of hot Hong Kong Milk Tea (港式奶茶 'gong sik naai chaa') be on a table, so that the hands can fuss with it. While observing audibly and visually the other customers. Regulars and new faces.
Grant Avenue (都板街 'du paan gaai'; metropolitan plank street)

The milk tea, you will understand, is only part of the whole.
The observation is a fundamental element.
A pipe caps it off.

A similar dynamic holds for dim sum or plate rice. And again, it is pointless without the noise of other customers, a semi-anonymous hubbub to which one contributes one's own minor notes.

The drawing above, based on a recent photograph, is basically a pattern of blobs. And lines, and semi-regular rectangular patterns. Using both the black and white "colours" of MS Paint. Diagonals, verticals, spare on horizontals.

Above the Bank Of America at Grant and Sacramento is Gold Mountain Monastery (金山聖寺 'gam saan seng ji'), from which one could usually hear the chanting of sutras. The last several times I've been nearby, there was silence.

Much of the neighborhood is quieter than it used to be.
Savinelli Deluxe from Iwan Ries

With fewer people about, the contemplative man lights up his pipe, wanders a while, and speculates about the eventual reopening in a year or longer. How strange for the children in this neighborhood to grow up with so little sound, and with such empty streets and alleys!

And how ironic that the Willy "woo woo" Wong playground (黃顯護遊樂場 'wong hin-wu yau-lok cheung') further up Sacramento Street (沙加緬度街) is being entirely rebuilt for a demographic that won't see it in its new guise for a very long time.

Playgrounds especially should be noisy.


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