Shenzhen lies there like a gigantic huge fat magnet pulling me to it like so much metal shavings wastage. Wednesday I succumbed again. The clothes I was having made, lunch, perhaps a foot massage and some new earrings in what looks exactly like Venetian glass … irresistible.
But the day turned out to be something of a disappointment. Not a nasty surprise disappointment, just … not the Shenzhen I know and love? It started at the border. I should have been prepared for this especially since I wrote about it last time I went to Shenzhen but … there’s something about those officious, jumped up little uniformed tossers with masks sticking their idiotic ant swine flu forms into my face that makes my blood boil. Every time.
The discrimination, (Chinese people can’t catch it, apparently) the waste of time … the waste of paper. I filled in all the questions thus: “None of your business” “I don’t know” “Secret” “Deng Xiaoping” “Born in 1723″ in Chinese on both forms, which were duly scrutinised and stamped. So much for the high alert.
Then off I trotted to famous Hades Lo Wu Shopping Center which I secretly almost like … but not this time. The financial tsunami has driven those who eke out a living there absolutely bonkers with desperation, and the chorus of “Missy missy melicure pelicure you buy DWD mowie OK” was so deafening that I couldn’t hear my own screams for help. They have also really cranked up the little fingers plucking at your elbow action, which is a cause for shoving them into their own lunchbox I reckon.
When I crying and dizzy got to the tailor I found that the dresses I had drawn and shown him a photo of and for which he had duly measured me, turned out to have been made for Dame Edna Everage. Instead of the curve-enhancing little cocktail numbers I had envisioned, they were tents with zippers down the back. A shirt reaching mid-thigh had become an A-line dress down to mid-calf. For this, the tailor blamed me. But of course! I had sneaked into their shop at night, changing the measurements, drawings and photos.
The photo doesn’t do him justice at all, I have to say. You can’t appreciate the completely see-through … jumper? showing sagging man-breasts and well defined nipples unless you see it live. Then there was the pavarotti-like eyebrows; tattooed or painted on? Hard to tell, but completely rectangular they certainly were. What an apparition!
He immediately launched into mainland pleasantries talk: “Where from.”
“No. You’re Russian.”
“Yes you probably know better than me.”
“You can’t be from Hong Kong.”
I’ve only had that conversation about 10 000 times so far, but every time I wonder: If they can’t accept the answer, why ask the question? Why can they be from all over the world but I not from HK? In all fairness I’m not exactly “from” HK, but I could easily have been born here. Isn’t your birthplace where you’re from?
I divide mainlanders into two groups:
1. When I say I’m from Hong Kong they laugh and think it’s a great joke, then ask me where I’m really from. It is a terrible thing for them if I don’t tell them and they can’t rest before they’ve found out.
2. They get angry and strident, just saying, like the guy above: “No,” then proceeding to tell me where I’m from.
I have to give it to the Maindoes, once they’ve made up their minds, it’s impossible to shift them. Oh, but please, people, go shopping in Shenzhen again! I need the skin on my arms but it’s now all been plucked off by awful little fingers.