• Jameel Haiat

Hong Kong Diary...April 29th, 2022


April 29th, 2022


Tonight I walk around Lockhart Road in Wan Chai.


It stinks of stale shitty beer and burning cigarettes. There's too much Old Spice cologne mixed in with the pungent perfume of Indonesian and Filipina girls working the men for another free cocktail, hoping to get away for a few hours from their crappy and barely tolerable domestic day jobs. The chatter, the laughter, the noise spills into the streets just as the beer spills from the glasses.


In spite of, or because of the grit, the stench and the sound of it all, it is truly and absolutely lovely.


These streets welcome me, they welcome whoever chooses to gather here, no questions are asked. Wan Chai doesn't care where you're from, what you do or, more importantly, what you’re going to do.

The charm of this neighborhood that hangs on to her red light past by a few loose threads, of a neighborhood that celebrates its origins in the face of a powerful Hong Kong that hungrily drools with an over eager hope to crush this place, brings me joy. It's classic David versus Goliath. I cannot help but root for the small guy, the drunk old guy, the working girl, the outcasts. I am them, of course.


I say let it all live. Them them all be.


This place reminds me of old Lou Reed songs that speak to me about the beauty of the misfit, the celebration of the different, the remembrance of a colorful past of any big dirty city.


What a shitty town Hong Kong would be without places like this.

We need old Wan Chai.

Without places like this, we only indulge more rich obnoxious fucks to parade their money about, as they shop at yet another Designer store while carefully stepping around a homeless person.

We invite the unprotected, the fringe, to move on, to disappear, to become invisible.

The rich move in while the poor move on.

Do we need more of that? Really? I don't know, but I hope not.


I do know this...that stench, that reek of unbridled wealth, that smelly gentrification game, that rot of empty indifferent human carcasses, are a far worse smell than any stale beer or lit cigarette I will ever inhale...

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