Hongkong.

I have been wanting to write this since yesterday but I was so tired. Each day so far seems like a different life, everyday I meet, talk to and go out with different people, I can’t see how yesterday is connected to today.So here are some experiences and random thoughts that I’ll remember but no photo evidence. I  guess it’s always like that, the best memories are not found in the photos.

1. I stood outside the door that held the instructions for the application of student octopus card on it and I felt and looked lost. So I approached this guy who looked equally lost and he turned out to be a local. Somehow when he knew I was a Singaporean, he wasn’t lost anymore. He helped me to print the form, checked my form and he even brought me to take passport photos and taught me how to get to the station to collect the card. Its always very nice when strangers walk the extra mile with me, it makes me feel and believe in that there is goodness in people.

2. I stumbled upon this old residence district because I was exploring the neighbourhood on my own. I ordered dinner there and even though I didn’t know how to order in Cantonese and how to go about doing it, I just went ahead and followed what the others did. It’s a nice feeling that when I didnt know how to do something but I did it anyway.

3. I hung with the nus guy Koon Tong and ntu guy Wei Jun a little and we went to watch and participate in a street protest outside the government office at Admiralty. The issue was about the national education – the Chinese government wanted to introduce a national education curriculum to the hongkong schools and the hongkong people are against it because they see it as a ‘brainwashing’ effort. It was an eye opener for us, especially since Singapore doesn’t have anything like that. The students who stood on the stage and gave emotive speeches and there was a huge group of people who cheered them on. Who says hongkong is alot like Singapore?

4. I went on the orientation tour today and I was in a different group with the Singapore guys and Sylvia – my neighbour who is from Berkeley. So I walked up the steps of the coach, saw the first guy seated alone in front, went to sit next to him, started talking and spent the day together. For the orientation, we visited the Tai Po Tsuen Wishing Tree, the Avenue of Stars, the Kowloon Walled City Park, the Chi Lin Nunnery and the Nan Lian Garden. The story behind the Wishing Tree is funny – the original Wishing Tree has partially collapsed so the people actually built a fake tree next to it for people to continue to toss objects of blessing onto the tree. Both the Kowloon Walled City Park and Nan Lian Garden are very nice green spaces. I would love to visit them again sometime later. The day was a bit too hot actually. It’s so unbelievable that I ended the day by the seaside with Lauri, the Finnish guy, for 2 hours talking about life, our dreams and worries. And well, Finnish history too. Sometimes things seem to be not going right at first but somehow it’ll always turn out for the better.  He was telling me about how his family bought a new house and was selling the old one, but the guy who wanted to buy the old one pulled out in the last minute and they thought they were in deep trouble. But then some famous Finnish ice hockey player saw the house, liked it and offered a price way higher than the previous guy. Life is so unpredictable but somehow things always turn out right in the end.

5. It’s a little weird because even though I’m in hongkong, I hang out with more europeans than hongkongers, but it’s so nice to listen to them as they talk about their cultures and the problems that their countries are facing now, it seems like I’ve travelled half of the world even though I’m in hongkong. It’s really awesome to start the day eating cereal on my bed and listening to my spanish roommate as she talks about the problems that Spain is having now. Or learning about the football craze in the Netherlands on a train ride with the Dutch guy Lex. Before I came here, I never imagine that this can happen to me.

Life is pretty awesome I guess, though intimidating at times, and  it makes me realise that people are always around me but because I’m so comfortable in Singapore, I dont talk to these people and that’s how things get myopic. Life is bigger than Singapore and bigger than school indeed.

Hongkong has so much contrast. They have a crowded city and packed residential areas but they also have more than enough greenery and parks. it’s kinda weird that they didn’t just use the forests to build the houses so that they can be further apart from each other? But well, unique, very unique.

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