Once a month I spend a quiet evening in Wanchai. I will get a haircut, visit the big Chinese bookstore near Southorn Playground (修頓球場) and grab dinner from a neighborhood noodle house before heading home on a double-decker. The solitude is self-imposed and the private reverie cherished.
I had one of those evenings yesterday. I began the night at the hair salon, where a young apprentice named Durex gave me a wash followed by a pampering scalp massage befitting a world-class spa. I can never quite wrap my mind around why people here give themselves such bizarre names as “Concrete,” “Jackal” and “Lazy,” even though Lazy is a perfectly hardworking young lady who takes my order at Starbucks. With names like that, how can they ever expect to be taken seriously in life?
While my hairdresser snipped merrily away, I picked up the latest issue of GQ (British Edition) – one of my guilty pleasures – and started reading an article on the new Macau. I buried my head in the glossy pages while the young stylist dispensed unsolicited advice on male grooming and recommended drastic hair treatments. Sensing my mild annoyance, he changed the subject and asked if I was shopping for a new car, tipped off by the print ad for a new BMW model in the magazine I was reading. I forced a smile and said no…