As the boat swayed over the chop of short waves, I stretched my gaze over to the opposite pier. Fixing my eyes on the clock tower illuminated against the night, I searched for any signs of movement – the whip of a leg, the flailing of an arm, the rotation of a torso. With just a few minutes left on this brief ferry ride, I fast-forwarded to the most awesome track on my minidisc player and absorbed those final moments of inspiration.
It was 2000 and I was a high school kid going to Saturday night break dance practice.
13 years later I’m taking that same ferry ride. Though now a tourist instead of a resident, I nonetheless go through the same movements I did in my teens. It’s been a long time, and I make no efforts to be deliberate in re-accustoming myself to my former home. I’d spent the morning taking that all too familiar escalator ride to see my old apartment in mid-levels. The afternoon was spent wandering around Central district, making my usual circuit of video game arcades and bakery shops. And now I was once again on the Star Ferry to Tsim Sha Tsui, letting the nostalgia wash over me with each rolling wave.
Setting foot on the promenade brought back a rush of old feelings. I felt that same nagging anxiety to hurry along, but now I didn’t really have anywhere in particular to go. Where before my objective was that one circular patch of breakdancable floor space, now my attention could be spared for other things. Like that view across the harbor.
Why didn’t I ever appreciate this before?
With no clear agenda at hand I was free to wander around. Although I’d come to this place every Saturday for the better part of 2 years, a good stretch of the promenade was still foreign territory to me. But now, older and wiser, I had a plan. I had done some research and knew exactly where I needed to go.
Hello Bruce, we finally meet.
The idol from beyond my generation, glorified in bronze, here in his native Hong Kong. How it took 13 years for this meeting to occur is beyond me. Part of me was ashamed I hadn’t even known about this iconic statue (and not coincidentally Hong Kong’s 2nd biggest tourist trap) until perhaps a year ago. Yet another part of me smiled at the thought that they had chosen the TST Promenade, a place infused with so many of my own memories, to set his legacy.
When the student is ready, the teacher appears.