Thursday, September 10, 2009

10 for 10

This time next month marks my 10th year of being in HK.

Probably because I needed something to help me recoup my blogging ante, I thought of writing 10 posts for the past decade that I have been here. Considering my recent lackadaisical efforts to write on this blog, this will really be a tall order.

But then again, it may very well be worth the time to think about some stuff that I've learned and experienced within the period that my hairline receded for at least half an inch, my weight jumped by 30 lbs more (three pounds a year, not that bad actually), and my Chinese vocabulary improved from swear words to ordering my favorite dish, chiu pa fan.

Just to kick off, here are some random and trivial bits that I picked up along my 10-year, and counting, journey with friends, colleagues and compatriots in Hong Kong:

  • When you want to meet a friend who is not familiar with HK on a Sunday, just ask him/her to go to Black Man. It is a place that is at the heart of HK but is not really identified in any official map. Only Filipinos know about it.
  • An alley is a narrow street. But the alley-alley is a place to shop for cheap clothes and various knick-knacks. It is sometimes called alley-mall.
  • When a Filipino domestic worker says she just came from doing aerobics, do not look for leotards.
  • HK Bank (HSBC main building) has one the biggest concentrations of Filipinos on Sundays. In one day of petition signing, we gathered about 2,000 signatures from the habitués of the place.
  • Winter has started when manangs sell coffee while summer commences when now-you-see, now-you-don't halo-halo stands sprout.
  • Singing is really a passion for Filipinos – be it outdoors in Chater Road or in videoke bars in little nooks and crannies of Central. And no, Born Free is not part of the repertoire. More of Carpenters and Abba.
  • If you are invited for a couple of parties on a single day, expect to eat loads of pancit from sunup to sundown.
  • The nominal wage now of foreign domestic workers in HK is HK$280 less than 1999. Real wage is most probably much less.

Alright, that last bit is not really trivial. It may even be one of the major reasons why I'm still here after 10 years … and why I may still be here for 10 more.