This weekend was very eventful, thus assuring me that I do have a life outside of work.
Saturday started with meeting with my friend Nell, an old high school classmate from back home who’s studying for her master degree here in Hong Kong, at the Ocean Terminal at Tsim Sha Tsui to board Doulus, the world’s oldest passenger ship (just two years younger than the Titanic) which goes around the world as a floating book-fair, collecting volunteers and books from each country and selling the books way cheap. Admission was 10 HKD. I didn’t get to buy a lot of books because I think they were running out already; I bought a lot more when Doulus berthed at the Philippines. In any case, I read in a newspaper article that 150, 000 more books are going to make their way to the ship by next week.
Afterwards we went all over Hong Kong Island looking for a wire-adapter Nell needed for her mobile. Which we didn’t find in the end; not even the cellphone company sells it. Then we got back to Kowloon and had dinner in the restaurant at her dormitory. With a stomach full of beef curry, I crashed at her place till the late night looking at the profiles of old high school classmates in Nell’s Friendster account. (I don’t have Friendster. And will not have one any time soon.)
Sunday was even livelier. I met with my colleagues Haruka and Gabe for church and they met Nell as well. During the service, the CEO of the Hong Kong branch of a human rights organization, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, came to give a report of what they had been doing with the support the church had been giving them. After the service, my friends and I went and met with the CEO, who’s from the Philippines as well and had gone to the same university in the Philippines as me (UP rocks!); she even asked for my undergraduate student number – there’s a gap of twenty-seven years. I told her I’d be interested to volunteer as a writer for the Hong Kong branch, which is one of the kind of people they are looking for. Nell also said she would be interested to volunteer as a researcher for them as well; if she follows through, she’d be doing a lot of field-research and data-gathering for them. Of course, I’ll be getting more information first before I commit to anything; from a web check, it seems that CWS has elicited a bit of controversy, especially with their claims about Sudan. Thankfully (perhaps), that’s rather far off from the area that the HK branch works in (namely East and Southeast Asia. Though not to say that this area doesn’t get its own share of controversy as well).
(Still, though, imagine me involved in advocacy. People certainly can change.)
So that was Sunday morning. The four of us had lunch in a dimsum restaurant near TST, then it started pouring, and Gabe took a rain check because he wasn’t feeling well. Then the three of us went to Central to interview some of the Filipino maids during their Sunday picnics for Haruka’s dramatic monologue to be performed with a Hong Kong theatre company. We went to the World-Wide House, which is like Filipino-land as most of the shops there are run by Filipinos – it was crammed full, end to end, with Filipinos and products from home. Haruka kept saying how crazy the whole thing was. Then we walked around the walkways and passages connecting the mall with the International Finance Centre (IFC) and sat and chatted with a few Filipino domestic helpers next to their banigs. It was an eye-opener for me, and I’m already from the Philippines; the experience had Haruka completely floored.
Anyway, we spent some time in McDonalds afterwards to regroup our thoughts and help Haruka take down her notes, then we had the brilliant plan (I’m not being sarcastic) of buying Filipino food from Little Quiapo (a little carinderia in Central that sells laing and adobo and caldereta and the like…unsatisfactory cucinta, though) and carrying it to the Central Ferry Piers and having dinner there at the waiting benches. I can’t remember which pier we were on, but it was a prime spot; given how capitalist Hong Kong is, I’m surprised the pier wasn’t turned into a restaurant. The pier juts out between Kowloon Peninsula and Hong Kong Island, and the rich people in their yachts would pass us by. Beautiful spot. And at night, the harbour of Hong Kong Island is all lit up (the HSBC building, the Bank of China, and the IFC are magnificent at night, when the light show begins), and the Kowloon harbour is…well, less magnificent. Wonderful evening. And there we talked about life’s unsolvable problems, as people are wont to do during long chats in the evening. Then Haruka took the train back and Nell and I got into the bus and headed home.
And now I’m back to teaching the differences between phrase and clauses, and independent and dependent clauses. Till the next weekend anyway.