Friday, March 23, 2012

A Love Song for Hong Kong, Sort Of

Forgive me in advance for being sentimental this time. I happened to be sitting in front of my computer with a glass of wine, doing what i often do to help myself digest dinner - watch YouTube videos of classic rock/pop stars. My favorites are the old ones of Elton John, back when he still had a voice and when music videos were just shots of him wearing funny clothes, sitting at a piano and singing like a god.

When I watched this one of Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters, I was struck by why I've lived in Hong Kong for the past twenty years - simply speaking, I love the place. I came as an outsider, but immediately felt accepted, much the way Bernie Taupin (EJ's lyricist) felt about New York City when he visited. The song is about New York, but it could easily be about Hong Kong. With apologies to Mr. Taupin, I have reprinted the lyrics, changing a few of the references to ones that are more familiar to me now.

Now I know
"Happy Valley" are not just pretty words to say.
I thought I knew
But now I know that rose trees never grow, near Hong Kong harbor.

Until you've seen this trash-can dream come true,
You stand at the edge, while people run you through.
And I thank the Lord, there's people out there like you,
I thank the Lord there's people out there like you.

While Mona Lisas and mad hatters,
Sons of bankers, sons of lawyers,
Turn around and say, "good morning" to the night.
For unless they see the sky, but they can't and that is why,
They know not if it's dark outside or light.

This Coliseum's got, it's got a lot of songs to sing,
If I knew the tunes I might join in.
I go my way alone, grow my own,
My own seeds shall be sown, near Hong Kong harbor.
MTR's no way, for a good man to go down,
Rich man can ride, and the hobo he can drown.

And I thank the Lord for the people I have found,
I thank the Lord for the people I have found.

The message is clear to 1%ers and all others who spend their days hunched over at their desks as they strive to reach the next tier of small percentages used to measure relative wealth. The beautiful setting of this city is for free, and for everyone to enjoy. No one owns the sea; it is either placid or angry according to its own mood, but always stirring. The rain-forest hills that surround us teem with life, and will always do so, with or without us around. And the people? A heartier, more striving populace is impossible to find anywhere.

It is all here, to enjoy and care for, so long as we choose to notice and step outside.

No comments:

Post a Comment