Friday, November 24, 2006

Hong Kong - Nov 24th 06 part 2

Sitting up here on the roof terrace of an evening is a very fine thing to do.

A warm wind blows in off the sea, from the Hong Kong direction.

The sound of potted palms, rustling in the wind competes with a very bad compilation CD from the 90’s which pours out of tinny speakers. “Whatever you do, I will be right here waiting for you” rustle rustle “Near, far, where ever you are…” and so on. It’s the sort of CD that will greet the doomed in hell, much like that Rowan Atkinson sketch from years ago.

Talking of which...

I had diner at a supermarket in Hong Kong this evening (a nice beef curry). It was a bit difficult to find a seat, so I enquired of a very old looking white man if it was alright to sit opposite him. He said “of course” and continued eating a blueberry Danish with jittery veiny hands.

Trying to cut meat with a fork and a spoon is not one of my skills, although I am improving, so I asked him if he’d mind looking after my fiddle and bag for an instant as I went off to locate a knife.

When I returned he asked me if I was Scottish. I replied that indeed, I was. It turns out that he was from Yorkshire and had been living out here in Hong Kong for 27 years or so. He had been a civil engineer in years gone by.

He then mumbled something about missionary work.

I asked him if he had a grasp of Cantonese, he replied that he didn’t but he did speak Indonesian.

I then enquired, if he didn’t mind, did he have family out here at all?

He replied that no, he didn’t, but he was getting married in December.

At this his face lit up and his wee beady eyes glowed from behind his gold rimmed specs.

Now I don’t know if any of you have ever read the graphic novel “The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen”… There’s a character in there, Moriarty, taken from Connan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes novels. In TLOEG Moriarty is seriously ancient and all gnarled and wrinkly, with a rather odd twinkle in his eye. Well. For the life of me, that’s what poor Albert looked like.

It seems that the wedding is going to take place in Indonesia, where he has done some missionary work. He also said that he’s starting to need help with looking after himself.

He then went on to enquire if I had a wife, and I replied that I didn’t, but I had a girlfriend back at home in the uk.

The conversation then took a very odd turn.

He started to tell me that the end of days was coming, and that God was soon going to wipe out those who didn’t follow the ‘righteous’ path, in a similar manner to that which had previously happened with the great flood of Noah’s era.

He started on about how certain choices have to be made in life.

And then his eyes really stared unblinkingly at me and he said that “there will be no death” that the righteous (my word) shall never die.

The look on his face was one of utter conviction. He really, desperately believed this, as if his life was hanging on to it.

It was very obvious that this was a thought that was very much playing on his mind recently.

Of course he then went on to say how “those people, the Jehovah’s Witnesses” were worth listening to. “It doesn’t cost anything to listen, does it?”


I decided against buying the Danish pastry opposite our table that I had been quietly eyeing up, and made my polite excuses and headed off for the ferry.

Before I went, though, I shook his hand and introduced myself. A bit backwards, I know.

He gave me a very strong grip and stared me straight in the eye, smiled and gave me his name.

“Albert. Albert.”


At 7:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That old guy sounds like a fanny.

I'd have ordered some hot soup and lashed it on his god-fearing throat.


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