What’s black, white and red all over

Hop Inn Mody, Kowloon. 
Sunday 9th November 2018.
18.43 my time.

Munching on warm roasted chestnuts as I type.  Wearing Icelandic looking woollen jumper over a long floaty red dress.  I kept these
 two items from the H&M stash.  The temperature has dropped, and it’s beginning to feel a little like Christmas.

The dorm was empty when I emerged bleary eyed from my bunk.  It wasn’t that late, about 09.30 but most roomies are only here a couple of days and get up early to make every moment count.  I’m making every moment count too, just in a slightly different way.

Lovely friend Yo had asked to see some of the H&M stash before it went back.  So I decided to transform the empty dorm into my own H&M walk in wardrobe.  It occurred to me everything I’d bought was black and white and red, and that this has always been a strong theme in my wardrobe.  And I discovered today it’s also H&M’s Christmas Instagram ditty.  Here are some pics from when I first visited Hong Kong in the 80s, wearing clothes I purchased in HK that trip.  And here’s a picture of an outfit I bought for Phoebe, and some of my favourites from my on line albums.  I’m just so predictable, just didn’t know it.

Being a kind and considerate roomie, not one who showers at 3am in the morning, does frog impressions throughout the night and repacks every item around 4am, I Tidied it all away, and walked to swimming pool.

There’s a K11 glitzy shopping arcade a few moments from the hostel.  With a typical covered ‘stage area’  Today as part of the Christmas celebrations, a singing school are entertaining with Christmas carols and the cutest children singing when they’re not picking their noses, chatting to each other or waving to their Mums and Dads (yup OK, parents and carers if I have to be politically correct, do I?  In my own blog?) .  The school is called Red Vocal and kerpow,  it hits me, where I get my love of black and red and white.  The children, all black haired, are kitted out in red and black and white.  It looks exactly right.  Sequinned red Santa hats with white bobbles, girls in red dresses with black sashes and boys in black leidherhosen and braces with red shirts.  And me in my red floaty dress and a black tie around my waist.  Given that I now believe my first gift to be the blow up Father Christmas that accompanied me to England, my black, white red fetish makes complete sense.  Must have burned into my retina at a very young age.  

 Naively I never thought that the big C was a problem in Hong Kong.  I’m not sure why, perhaps because they seem a very healthy nation compared with back home.  Rarely see overweight Chinese.  And folks doing self massage, do in (tapping acupressure points, may be spelt incorrectly) stretching, doing tai chi, is extremely common, and to me very comforting.  But Cancer IS a huge problem here, just like everywhere else, and at Kowloon Park a ‘Hong Kong fights Cancer’ promotional event is taking place.  Complete with another makeshift stage and lots of local groups performing (the kind of thing I’d do if I lived here), music, dance, singing,  traditional Chinese music, martial arts demonstrations.  All the voluntary and statutory groups who are related, some more tenuously than others, are in tents around the central arena, with literature, freebies and  activites for the children.

I can’t remember the number of times I’ve been involved in similar sorts of events, usually as an organiser.  It was great to take my inner child – little Laura – and to be on the receiving end for half an hour.  I made this with help.  Can you believe I applied the, take me back to my childhood in an instant, UHU glue, to the wrong side of Santas beard.  I couldn’t make it fit.  “Do you need help?”asked the young teenage volunteer switching from Cantonese to perfect English when she hears I cannot speak Chinese. “Don’t worry, you won’t see the glue when it dries”.  Oh the embarrassment and shame of not speaking my native tongue, and having no spatial awareness.

I haven’t quite finished it yet.  Felt I had to give up my seat to the more age appropriate punters.  I picked up a couple of very useful leaflets, one from the Vegab stand, and got the locals take on the very best vegan restaurants to take Lucy to when she arrives January 9th next year.
Many have asked “what next?” regarding my root tracing.  One of the leaflets I picked up from the event is a Womens Charity, set up to support and empower women and protect the elderly in the exact area my Mother was.  So I will contact them and see if anyone has ever heard of my haystack needle sisters and/or my Mother.  I’m still getting help and advice, from a facebook post I made to a site called HK in the 1960s.  And Winnie is like a terrier with a juicy marrow bone, ringing me up with ideas and next steps each day.  Everyone is so helpful, so generous, so full of warmth and well wishing, it makes me want to cry.

The patient and gorgeous Mr P arrives on Wednesday.  I am so looking forward to not being Billy No Mates and to being coupled up again.  Just us two, sharing a little studio flat in Sai Kung.  A small, exquisitely designed studio apartment over looking the harbour.  Home from Home.  Counting down the days to Christmas and our trip to Vietnam.  Will be awesome. 

I won’t be sad to leave the 8 bed dorm, but I will miss some of the hardworking, kind and friendly staff.  Especially Rosa who cleans the dorm at the weekends.  Rosa’s from the Phillipines and is always chatty, asking me how I’m getting on.  Today I asked a little about her.  Does she have grandchildren?  She has 2, she says.  Both in the Phillipines, one in college, one just finished.  A boy and a girl.  But they’re her children now she adds.  He son died this year aged 40, from a sudden heart attack.  He’d been drinking a lot since his wife’s death from a brain aneurysm in 2014.  Rosa had just bought him a ticket to come visit her in Hong Kong.  She had been in the Phillipines for her annual holiday just 2 days when he died.  I hug her.  I don’t really know what to say.  But she thanks me for listening.  And wipes away a little tear, as do I.

Remember that post the other day?Family Matters.  Perhaps you can tell yours that they do.  I know I’m going to.

By backstagestives

Looking for my long lost family in Hong Kong
And previously....
Fell in love with coastal living 5 years ago. And moved to stunning St Ives. A place to create and grow and flourish. Got me a home and a job. And never looked back. Everyone talks and writes about the famous dead people of St Ives. Virginia and Alfred and Ben and Barbara and Peter and Wilhelmina. Well I thought I’d introduce you to some very nice folk, and they’re all very much alive and make St Ives a much the better town for it.

3 replies on “What’s black, white and red all over”

Hi Laura!
I have enjoyed reading about your adventures. Makes our Christmas nativity sound like a mad house. There was very little red and no Santa in sight. For me shop bought nativity costumes are not the same. I loved it when the stage got covered in cotton wool balls that were shed from the homemade sheep costume and the tea towel on the head of the shepherd. Mr P spent an evening with us recently drinking Sherry sitting by the fire missing you.
Family matters. What would we be without our dear ones? Our Elliot is still travelling and has just left China from where he sent presents. Yorick opened his birthday gift which included Chinese foodstuffs with instructions in Chinese. Happy days!
Keep hunting. The power of word of mouth is incredible.
Devinder x


Hellooo. Happy belated birthday Yorrick. M said he’d enjoyed a Chinese evening. Ommitted the sherry bit and told me he’d had his Dorey fix instead. Imagine it’s a crazy time for you at school. But i do remember the feeling of being in school amidst throngs of tired and excitable children. Repeating old ideas, tinsel around hoops, lantern and paper chain making, cloves pushed into oranges and trying to come up with new ones, a 1000 origami cranes in pink, Father Christmas clay tiles, but the oldies were always the most successful. And the different takes on the Christmas plays. Ah, nothing like a little nostalgia to start the week in grey but 23 degrees HK. Sending huge love across the oceans


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