Monday, March 10, 2008

Final Day in Hong Kong

Yo, E-Ching! Remember this?

Well, you wouldn't, 'cos it's been repainted. But perhaps you remember this guy:

He still looks the same after 20 fuckin' years!!!

For all of you kids in the dark: this is Mr Kann, who taught my sis in primary school in Hong Kong. Thassaright: Quarry Bay School, that British international school where the two of us picked up our weird-ass accent from 1987-89.

And it's still there. Same building, though done over with pastels and with a slightly more variegated staff. Same multicoloured upper-crust expat kids who approach you in strangely crisp English asking whose parent you are (actually, in one case the 7 year-old addressed me first in Cantonese, then later confided in me his discomfort in his part in the school play) - and all are flabbergasted at the thought that anyone could have attended their school TWENTY YEARS AGO.

Twenty years is a lifetime to these kids. Hell, it's a lifetime to me. But these kids were BORN in 2001. For them the War on Terror has always been happening.

But enough digression. The uniform's changed a little, and most of the old guard left in a mass exodus a couple years back, due to retirement, I think - our dear old principal Mr Harrison is now finally a gardener as he's always wanted to be. (Oh Christ, I sound like an Etonian.) Odd that so many of them stuck it out after the '97 Handover - my two main teachers were Mrs Pauling and Mrs Gately. The first based her Masters Thesis on tape recordings of me then became principal of a school in Cambridge; we visited her in '95. The second died of cancer ages ago.

I was, however, personally taught by Miss Hardy (who's been Mrs O'Rorke for the last fershugginen years, which rather confused me at reception). She taught us music, including many melodious hymns and carols which primed me somewhat for my unfortunate and temporary conversion to Christianity. Neither she nor Mr Kann seems terribly fazed to know I'm writing for, though - they're more chuffed that one of their ex-students is actually a writer, because everyone else becomes a doctor or a lawyer or a banker. If I'd stopped by earlier I could have been an invited guest for show-and-tell.

Here's the courtyard. I shot this during recess. Children are strange animals; I'd love to have them someday but I'm not sure what to feed them. Coincidentally, my QBS recess years were when my queerness first exhibited itself... but that's another story.

Will add further photos when my computer's being less temperamental.

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