Whoever puts one’s feet on the leased land of Hong Kong these days finds his or her shoes sinking into the concrete of Asia’s world city. Every next step is a little stickier, slower than the previous one, every breath is a little less deep, every thought is a little shallower and more materialistic. You touch the concrete with your feet and feel yourself spending your energy, money, exerting your curiosity, thirst, knowledge, self-appraisal. Tiny tin studs count each of your steps and entangle you with their magnetic tentacles.
You think “A” – and you read “AXA”.
You think “B” – and you see “BEA”.
You think “C” – and you observe “Citibank”.
You think “D” – and you notice “DBS”…
You reach “Z” – and you stop thinking at all, as if you never could.
Escape in “M” (“MTR”), get refreshed at “7” (“7-Eleven”), shop in “W” (“Wellcome”), switch off at “O” (“Ovolo”) . Take a lift down-down-down deep, another lift up-up-up high, see your multiplied reflections in the glass and steel of the shiny blue city of contrasts.
There you are – a minute drop in the ocean of faceless people burying their blank features in the cold blueness of smartphones, smiling at screens, weeping at screens, screaming at screens. Love, hatred, disappointment, excitement – all human treasures hidden behind the blurry screens of innumerable pairs of paralyzed eyes. Touch this abandoned body – and you’ll hear a metallic voice saying “sorry-sorry-sorry” and slowly fading out as if at the end of a music record.
Weather forecast, stock markets, route calculation, nearest Starbucks, the lift operates odd floors only, pedestrian crossing sounds, bus stop suspended, sorry for inconvenience caused, post no bills, touch no walls, say no words.
“What is your name, pretty stranger?” – “Siri”.
“What is my name, then?” – “Your name is Kirill. At least, that’s what you told me.”
Cheek to cheek, heart to heart, lips to lips, wire to wire – we are making contacts, maintaining contacts, leaving footprints of likes and favs, digitizing our every emotion, glance, movement. Beggars and rich gaze around blindly, blinking away dollar signs from their eyes, scared to look down at the slush of concrete, scared to look up at the infinity of the sky.
“Will you go out with me tonight, pretty stranger?” – “Yes. But please send me a reminder”.
And then all of a sudden the heavy leaden-colored ocean above Hong Kong gets breached. The water pours down, wetting faces, hair, hats, umbrellas, shoes, and concrete, washing off beggars and rich, turning off smartphones and fusing connections. You catch raindrops with your mouth, press your hand towards a window, feel the unusual coldness of glass and watch indifferently how this never sleeping city of contrasts is slowly melting down.