Archive for February 28th, 2012

“You can leave Hong Kong, but it will never leave you.”
– Nury Vittachi –

I’ve always had a fascination with Hong Kong – ever since being taken there by my parents when I was four years old, to explore the area and see where my Father had grown up. Although born in Malta my Father spent some of his childhood years in Hong Kong with his parents due to my Grandfathers work. My Grandfather (not the retired Detective!) worked for GCHQ which is the Government Communications Headquarters for the UK.

It’s one of three Intelligence Agencies along with MI5 and MI6. His work took him across the world and finally back to settle in the UK. GCHQ were in the news recently because they decided to try and hire new spies by setting a code for mathematical genius’s to crack. Only around 50 people managed to solve the code but were incredibly disappointed when afterwards the job vacancy was directed to a £25,000 post. It is estimated that those with the skills to enable them to crack the code are worth nearly £80,000 in the private sector.

On the 1st of July 1997 Hong Kong gained its independence from Britain. Independence of Britain is the correct term, but I believe that complete independence would be a bit far fetched. Britain released Hong Kong to China but articles I’ve read suggest that Hong Kong has a degree of political and economical freedom until China takes over completely in 2047.

So with that bit of trivia aside – here are the photographs from Today. I wandered around the house taking snaps of everything oriental that we have acquired over the years. The majority of our furniture, decor and design in the house is subtly oriental. It’s something I’ve taken for granted over the years, growing up with expensive and beautiful artifacts as if they are everyday ornaments. But when I started working on colour schemes and decor for my own bedroom I quickly realised that the replica items found in places like The Range didn’t even compare. Modern decor is ever-changing and I frequently go into houses as part of my job and see rooms themed to look like the various colour sections of home stores. It was only really then that I began to notice how different my home life is.

Crispy is a fish. I asked my parents today, ‘Why did we name it Crispy?’ and the prompt reply was, ‘You did it.’ The fish was something I chose in a market in Hong Kong and has been with me since I can remember! It probably sounds soppy and sentimental (well it is!) but it’s such a tiny ornament that it’s a miracle it hasn’t got misplaced over the years. Crispy has the same facial expression that I carried in much of my childhood pictures…dubious.

I always grew up with ornaments and trinkets in my bedroom. But they were Chinese spice jars, little perfume bottles with intricate designs upon them, Chinese fans, carved dragons and elegant Chinese dolls. I have a jewellery box full of chinese silk purses – both of which were brought for me when we were in Hong Kong. These things are soon hidden, taken over by modern day items and blended into the background so in the end they’re forgotten. So it’s a nice surprise when I dig around and unearth something that takes me back to being four years old and wandering the streets of Hong Kong (not alone of course!)

It is said to be rare that a person of my age (I was around three – four) can remember things so vividly but my earliest memories are from when we were in Hong Kong. The family then consisted of myself and my parents. My sister wasn’t born yet (although my parents claim she was made in china…) I remember the street markets, the tea shops, how the moon felt so much bigger and closer there and how my blonde hair was a source of wonder for many locals! I also remember the flight – a huge Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet thing! It was amazing, it even had a play area.

So the house today contains many memories for me. Many that I’ve under-appreciated until now.  Probably many more for my parents and especially my Father, who spent his childhood days in a completely different country to the ones in which I have grown up.

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