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THE HONG KONG AGENT
Full English Transcript

By Robert Iolini

The Arrival

Onscreen Text
January 1st 2007, Mountain of Great Peace "Tai Ping Shan,"
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China

THE AGENT
My transfer is uneventful. A gentle wind from the direction of the west bodes well. I stop at a mechanical water display and attempt a decode. Satisfied, I move on to infiltrate the local inhabitants - participating in their viewing ritual.
From here it’s birds - eye perspective of Hong Kong and Kowloon harbour cities.
The Luxury space cruiser hovers along side, reluctant to leave.
Interstellar dwellers desiring terra connectivity gather on the outdoor observation deck, some even mimic the camera posings of the locals below.
Others simply gaze off into the distance neither at the city below nor at us.

MUSIC CUE: Stealstealground
Swimmingbird
Where am I going without you?
Where am I going without you?
I am the swimming bird
hoping to drown
I am the flying fish
Willing to crash

THE AGENT
After a few moments I turn for a final look at these beings aboard their spectacular craft, then turn my back on them and head down into the fecund city below.

MUSIC CUE: Stealstealground
Swimmingbird
Pouring rain from the underground
You turn me upside down

Pay-As-You-Go Shamanic Mobile Service Centre:
divine intervention #3

MUSIC CUE: Dickson Dee
String 05 (Unreleased 2005)

THE AGENT
Beating. Beating the curse.
Byakko
The White Tiger God
The white tiger is powerful

TAOIST SCHOLAR - Dr Lai Chi-Tim
Imagine that there is a relationship between some persons who give a bad or negative curse. It’s very natural. If you have a bad fortune in the past, you will find some answers. You will find a reason. They attribute the reasons to some person they don’t like. So in order to correct this harmful force, they will invite some women to hit some papers. In Chinese way it’s Da Siu Yan

THE AGENT
Calling to Byakko
Sacrifice
Flesh Fire Seeds Blood
A final divination
Lucky for me
I get one side up, one down Sing Biu

The Beat Goes On:
mother used cantonese opera to brainwash son

T
Well my mum is addicted to Cantonese opera. She started to listen to Cantonese opera song I think when she was young, and when I was three or four years old I started to listen with her. Because whenever she’s at home she just play the Cantonese opera tapes and CDs loud. When I was about eleven years old, she started to learn the Cantonese opera song, she learnt how to sing it. And I started to learn myself. A few years later I started to sing with her. And right now I can actually sing a bit…

MALE SINGER
They always go the front and back alleyways. And still talk after he left. About the faith between husband and wife. Which was lost long time ago. Oh…. Our fourth sister. Don’t know what she did bad in her previous life that jinxed her to marry this “Siu Dai Ah” (her husband’s name),he looks so cheap.

FEMALE SINGERS
Yeah, don’t know why she got married to him, he is so dirty and so rough…

MALE SINGER
Shut up Gosh, the more I talk about it the before I get annoyed. Maybe fourth sister did something bad in her previous life. But I don’t owe him anything. He just keep coming back everyday for money. How rude, don’t know what she likes about him so much.

FEMALE SINGERS
(babbling on hysterically)

MALE SINGER
Shut up! how rude. When did I say you can talk. I’m the big brother, I can talk, I can scold, but you are not allowed!

Daimaru Ghost Bus:
return of the emperor

THE AGENT
So which part of Japan are you from?

T
Hong Kong.

THE AGENT
Nagasaki 9th August 1945?

T
My dad’s birthday.

THE AGENT
Tell me about it?

T
While the Americans were busy depopulating the island of Japan, my grand mother was busy populating the island of Hong Kong. And my granddad was busy changing his name.

THE AGENT
Young? Maltby? (British Commanders)

T
Sakai Takashi (Japanese invasion commander)

THE AGENT
I thought your grand dad was fighting them?

T
He was fighting the Japanese while hating the British. At least their skin was the same shade of yellow. Ironically he ended his days neither British nor Japanese.

THE AGENT
Still, he’d be happy to know that forty years later you’d be thoroughly Japanified. Listen, how much farther to the Daimaru Department Store?

T
You’re a little late; it closed in 1998. I guess the The Asian Financial Crisis didn’t travel west…..

THE AGENT
So what’s with the sign on the front of the bus?

T
Memory follows function; around here people use buildings and sites as memory markers, it helps to keep them anchored as they drift….

THE AGENT
By the way, got any tips on where I can find a 1997 EVA series 02?

T
Mecha’s are dead. It's all about sexy girl figures now. We're even selling them to the Japs. Heard of the Twins? Anyhow, try the Sino Centre in Mong Kok. Ask around for Master Mersa, they’ll know who he is……

THE AGENT
Mmmm melancholy gentle mid-winter glow
Mon
gkok
p-p-p-pop palace-ebo?
tunnelling inward to the centre of now new neo-Nippon-nature well-come to my tight fit maxi-maze - outer neon skin sheds ray-on-gun mysteries reflected in the thousand street eyes alive with hope and uniqueness, each pair a floating vessel carrying a billion possible memories.
Now in decode mode, mobile and scanning, sensing no malice, only sadness, respect, awareness, sensitivity and then unexpectedly from this saline eyeball world a tear-drop falls…….

Escalator Love:
blues in june

MAN
Where do you want to go now?

WOMAN [surprised]
You’re asking me?

MAN[embarrassed]
Yeah, just for a change.

WOMAN [slightly confused]
You don’t know what you want?

MUSIC CUE: Stealstealground
Bad waves of paranoia (part 1)
Bad waves of paranoia
Your monkey folks are killing me
Bad dreams and hallucination
My rock'n'roll is killing me

MAN
Actually I’d like to just stay here and be still for awhile.

WOMAN
It’s too dangerous. We’ve got to keep moving, We have to go with the flow or else.

MAN
Or else what?

MUSIC CUE: Stealstealground
Bad waves of paranoia (part 1)
Backbeat and infatuation
Your perfect skin is burning me
Backchat to their conversation
My hippie style is burning me
We are too weird to live
We are too rare to die

WOMAN [gently]
Look, imagine you’re in a beautiful white space, no walls, no ceiling, immaculately clean and safe, you’re surrounded by every possible object of desire. You feel yourself gliding effortlessly along the smooth white surface. You’re surrounded by many people all happily gliding along with you. You stumble and some-one instantly appears by your side and gently helps you get back on your feet. In a moment you’re back in the flow…..

MAN
That’s exactly the point, the power is out there, not here, in me… I feel as if I should be afraid, but it’s so safe and cosy in here…..
WOMAN At least we’re free. Well, free enough…I mean, the streets are still public….

MUSIC CUE: Stealstealground
Bad waves of paranoia ( part 1)
Bad waves of paranoia
Your monkey folks are killing me
Bad dreams and hallucination
My rock'n'roll is killing me
We are too weird to live
We are too rare to die

Hello Kitty MTR Interlude:
spirit of the age

THE AGENT
I elevate down three layers to the subterranean transport hub. The platform seems unusually people free, the carriage mimics a temple entrance with its dual layer spirit doors. I hesitate before entering, suspicious of the intention behind the meticulously Hello Kitty covered surfaces. Once inside I search for a clue, everything appears normal, but then I spot a young woman standing alone by the doors with her back against the wall dressed as a Gothic Lolita, concentrating on the bright pink plastic portable game held between her active fingers. She seems oblivious to her surroundings. Is this Hello Kitty carriage decoration her doing? Are my fellow travellers impervious to her magic or are they skilfully hiding their fear as one does when confronted by a vicious animal? I decide to assume the role of provocateur, pull out my camera and cavort around the carriage, as expected nobody flinches. The Lolita continues her manipulation and the train rolls on……….

The Shamans of North Point:
divine intervention #2

MUSIC CUE: Dickson Dee
Dream On

THE SHAMANS NEICE
I had my first experience with shamanism when I was very young, about 6 years old. One day after school, I felt a pain in the left side of my chest so I told my parents about it. My parents misunderstood my condition to be an early stage of heart disease. They were very worried but instead of sending me to the hospital, they took me to see my Aunty So. Aunty So is from Fujian - a province on the Southeast coast of China, she now lives in North Point or little Fujian – a district on Hong Kong island.
She is a Dang Ki, a powerful shaman. The deity that regularly possesses her is named General Li.
Shamans who have their own deity can do anything, because the deity’s power is absolute, for example if a ghost or spirit is disturbing a person the deity can punish the ghost and get rid of them. The most important thing is that deities are always good.
Aunty So doesn’t operate in a temple, she operates out of her own flat in North Point. Her flat is divided in half, the right side is for normal living and the left side is the shaman’s workspace, where Aunty So regularly gets possessed.
After I enter the room Aunty So lights three incense sticks, then she calls to General Li. “Please General Li, please come, your client is here, so please come”. Then she just sits in a chair, and folds her legs under her. After a few seconds she starts to act like she is going to vomit. Moments later she stops, and begins to speak in a male voice, calling me xinnu - female believer - she no longer recognize me as her niece. She then starts to heal my pain by massaging and blowing wind on the left side of my chest.
During the healing process, my aunt, who is usually a nice and friendly relative who loves me dearly, changes into a totally different person. She seems to be drunk, she acts and talks like a child. Then she says that my pain is due to my own carelessness and naughtiness. I try calling her name to wake her up, but my parents stop me and tell me to show respect to General Li, the god who has possessed my auntie’s body.

Worms Swallow Tiger:
see no evil

T
When the people talking to me I’m just facing him or her but my eyes try to look at different things yeah actually I’m not focusing on the person who I’m talking with I’m actually scanning the environment with my eye ball observing the whole scene of the environment but not focusing on one or two things I can discover something that other people can’t I always don’t feel safe I feel kind of fear for me to live in this environment so I started to scan the environment that I’m inside to discover the environment gives me a kind of feeling of safety.

MUSIC CUE: Snoblind
Infested Killswitch

ARTIST - OSCAR HO
Hong Kong people's evaluation of Beijing's performance has consistently been good. We all feel that Beijing has truly honoured the agreement. They could be quite mean to their own people in the mainland, there's no democracy over there, and they're still not letting us have democracy – but neither did the British. Basically we can still have freedom of expression, but there is self-censorship - things like that happen.
In 1997 I was interviewed by Newsweek and I made this comment about the future of Hong Kong. And I said I would rather be devoured by a tiger than eaten alive by worms. We don't see any tigers, but I do feel worms everywhere. So there's a kind of cultural invasion, which it's hard to pin down, but you can feel it and see it all the time. It could be as simple as many of those celebration parties, the rituals, the performance, this endless applause, more patriotic activities, you know, National anthem before news at six, the subtle changes in schools, the increase use of slogans, for example, the way the police handle the demonstrations. During the British day they didn't have that kind of stuff. So there is this kind of cultural dimension - I cannot pin it down in a detailed and specific way, but you can feel it. Those are the worms I was talking about. OK, are there any differences - yes, there are very prominent cultural differences here. But then on the one hand it's not that really noticeable. But this actually suggests quite significant cultural differences. But this is probably the most terrifying way of invasion.

Routine Duet:
canto pop singer gets snapped

YOUNG MAN
Ahhh! I am so tired.

YOUNG WOMAN
How come?

YOUNG MAN
I've just got back from work. .... It's a long way from Hong Kong to Shen Zhen…. Gosh, the journey is so long.

YOUNG WOMAN
So you work in Shenzhen?

YOUNG MAN
Yeah. I have to go there everyday. But…. Gosh it’s so tiring… having to go back and forth…. have to wake up very early

YOUNG WOMAN
But... But what do you do in Shenzhen?

YOUNG MAN
I’m a junior photographer… Taking pictures of products mainly. But the boss is from Hong Kong, he opened a studio in Shenzhen, so that’s why I go and give a hand and also get some working experience.

YOUNG WOMAN
So you mean you help your Hong Kong boss to take pictures of stuff in Mainland China.

YOUNG MAN
Yeah, but it’s weird, he actually sells to the U.S market, that’s why it’s very busy these days, because it’s close to Christmas, there are heaps of stuff that need to be shot, like the Christmas trees, you know how Christmas is a huge thing in the States. They just keep on coming lot by lot.
Christmas trees and candles, and some other small props that you should know, like little snowmen and so on. Then I just shoot them lot by lot.

YOUNG WOMAN
So you have to take pictures of the same kind of things everyday?

YOUNG MAN
Yeah. Yeah, these days I do. And I just have to go back and forth, and have to wake up early in the morning everyday. Like around 6 or 7am and I’d have to go already. Then when I get there, it’s just work work work, and then over time. You don’t get paid for the over time. Then come back, tired, and go to bed. Next day, same routine again.

YOUNG WOMAN
So that means, you have to wake up early for work and come back really late.

TOGETHER
Everyday the same thing.

YOUNG MAN
Yeah, it’s really boring.

YOUNG WOMAN
Same shit everyday like a ‘child carer lifestyle’?

YOUNG MAN
Yeah, almost.

YOUNG WOMAN
That sucks.

YOUNG MAN
So what about you?

YOUNG WOMAN
Me? I’m working part time in a bank.

YOUNG MAN
Like the ones that have to wear a suit?

YOUNG WOMAN
Yeah, I have to wear a suit everyday. Officially work starts at 9am, but they ask you to arrive at 8.30, but they don’t pay you extra for it. They don’t give you any money for that.

YOUNG MAN
What is there to do so early?

YOUNG WOMAN
Nothing, you just have to listen to the briefing. Then I have to get changed and put on all the badges including the trainee one. It’s too early to understand anything that they say. And because I have to wear the trainee badge, the other employees know that I am new and bully me. And the customers are mean as well. They treat me like I’m nuts, and try to push me around. And the duty manager has got a really bad attitude.

YOUNG MAN
Working in a bank must be pretty busy?

YOUNG WOMAN
It’s very busy. After work I have to clear the accounts by counting money. Obviously there is a machine there, but they won’t let me use it; I have to count the money by hand.

YOUNG MAN
That’s weird

YOUNG WOMAN
Yeah, they say manually is more accurate, but in fact using the machine is faster and more accurate. Don’t know why, it’s so strange. Yeah. And they don’t let you go to the toilet.

YOUNG MAN
What?! Not even the toilet?

YOUNG WOMAN
No, you’re not allowed. Like there is a lot of customers everyday. So they don’t let you go to the toilet. Like you can only go during lunch time and after work. The rest of the time it’s extremely busy. And they make you do your make up early in the morning. Yeah!

YOUNG MAN
But then make up is kinda essential.

YOUNG WOMAN
But like a full- on make up?! It’s such a hassle. As if the morning wasn’t hard enough!

YOUNG MAN
That’s hard work

YOUNG WOMAN
Yeah really tiring.

YOUNG MAN
You are doing a part time job at the bank. Is there something you want to do?

YOUNG WOMAN
Yeah of course, I want to be a professional singer. But what can you do? You have to earn a living.

YOUNG MAN
Oh…..

YOUNG WOMAN
I definitely don’t want to work in a bank.

YOUNG MAN
But you just do it everyday, like me

YOUNG WOMAN
Yeah, everything the same

YOUNG MAN
Routine again.

YOUNG WOMAN
Yeah, it’s a job, of course

YOUNG MAN
OK

YOUNG MAN
Wow, it’s end of June already

YOUNG WOMAN
Yeah

YOUNG MAN
There should be a public holiday soon. I think at the end of
June.

YOUNG WOMAN
Yeah, I think at the end of June is the 10th anniversary of return to China. Isn’t it?

YOUNG MAN
Oh yeah, but it’s nothing to do with us.

YOUNG WOMAN
Don’t even know what it is.

YOUNG MAN
That’s a bit exaggerated.

YOUNG WOMAN
Like there are so many ads in the papers and commercials. Saying like what’s going on sale. Doesn’t have anything to do with me at all. I don’t care.

YOUNG MAN
Actually…That’s right

YOUNG WOMAN
Only the important people care about it.

YOUNG MAN
Just an other day off, nothing special anyways.

YOUNG WOMAN
Yeah, I just know there is a holiday

YOUNG MAN
Ha ha ha..

YOUNG WOMAN
Yeah, and I don’t even know what for….

A Mall Like No Other:
utopian accident #2

THE AGENT
A model for extraterrestrial Colonisation
Autonomous zone. Generic and mobile existing everywhere in time and space. Impermanent. Regenerative. Pure, nostalgia and preservation free. The total liberation experience.
Safely explore and express without the inconvenience of those pesky phobia producing earth bound organisms.
Simultaneous perspectives in this free flowing geomantically precise floating world. clocks rendered ornamental, their impotent hands, no longer holding anyone to ransom. Desire, memory …..dissolves

SOCIAL SCIENTIST 1 - Cally Yu
From the MTR to the school, everything is covered. You never see the sky. You have to get through those shopping malls before going to school. It’s a problem. Why people facilitate you to go shopping. And your school is just beside the shopping mall. There’s a big problem in Hong Kong. “Don’t you think it’s a big problem?” The students say “Oh it’s OK”. “Why not? It’s good.” So they ask me “But why do I have to think about these things?” Some students are happy about the mall culture. They’re happy about that. “Just shut up.” “I love shopping”. “Just shut up.”

SOCIAL SCIENTIST 2 - Professor Tai Lok
Every two years we have to think about, you know, that we’re in crisis. Because in Hong Kong everything is replaceable. Anything. Everything. From poor working class. To mass consumption. To brand. To niche market. And also from UK. US oriented. To try to bring it into the local context. Then from local, to Japan. Then from Japan to now it’s more global.

SOCIAL SCIENTIST 1
But another small group of people. Students. They are more independent thinking, more liberal. They will quarrel with each other. But somehow when they can cannot convince each other, they are hostile to each other. Very hostile. Just saying something very bad. “Uh, you are poor. You don’t have any money. That’s why you’re saying this.” “You don’t like shopping because you are poor.” “Because you have no money. You have no say”.

SOCIAL SCIENTIST 2
Gradually around the mid seventies things become affordable. They start to learn how to consume. That was the beginning of mass consumption. Everyone consuming the same thing. You have trendy stuff, and so on. The gradually by the time of the eighties and nineties there’s a further change of becoming more brand conscious. You need to have an icon. You need to have brand names. Like Giordano. Typical late seventies, early eighties Hong Kong local manufacturers brand. You need to borrow something that sounds Italian. In order to make it appealing. So the eighties will be brand culture. And then by the time of the nineties, of course. Young people, because of their growing affluence would be looking for alternatives. New initiatives.

SOCIAL SCIENTIST 1
Some people think that “You guys are poor.” “You don’t want to get rich.” “So, you don’t like development” “You don’t want to have good development.” “Please, go away.” That exclusive sense. Very strange.

T
We could be in outer space or on Mars.

THE AGENT
Yeah, (looking to outside view) but is that really the outside world? Or just an image? (looking up to the ceiling above) It’s heaven. Look the sky. like clouds……… flowing.

T (looking at the Escher escalator)
It’s not heaven. Seems to go down and down without end. Deep into the core of the earth, down and down, there is a city, the Festival Walk.
The most important things in the world don’t exist in here.

THE AGENT
Do you have a fantasy that you could be sitting in there with a beautiful woman, being served meticulously prepared delicacies, sipping a rare and ancient drink?
T
I have a fantasy that I'm fighting in the street with a beautiful girl, with my guns and my red flag capturing the summer palace of Alexander Kerensky...

THE AGENT
A Dream? But it’s all here for you. You don’t have to fight for it, because it’s already part of you.

T
I can recognise and appreciate the aesthetics and artistic qualities of these things, but I have no desire to own any of it.

THE AGENT
OK, so it's about practice. Maybe if you practised you'd start to like it.

T
Maybe, but my ideology keeps me from being confused.

THE AGENT
And if your ideology changes, what then?

Escalator Love:
the dream

ARTIST - Oscar Ho
If you have gone through a plague one thing that every one of us realises is that things can be ticking away from you at any time. Things could disappear just like that. I could talk to you today and tomorrow you could be in hospital. So I think that nurtured a sense of, you need to take what you have very seriously. They could disappear in no time.
After the SARS, the next big event was the July 1st one million people on the street demonstration. You see things are growing and accumulating. There's certain mentality that dictates the whole governance of Hong Kong since the colonial days. Like this obsession with economic growth, the lack of respect for culture. It has a lot to do with a colonial culture and a refugee culture. The government is like the board of directors of a big corporation.
It's not that the government has become more suppressive - they're just doing what the British in a sense, had been doing - it's the people that are changing. So, as I said, there's no problem with the people, it's the government. It's not sensitive enough to realize the changes.

MUSIC CUE: Snoblind
Damascus Blues

MAN
I had a dream last night that I was at the train station, I’m riding on an escalator, indulging in ‘overprotective parent’ thoughts evoked by the emphatic disembodied ‘please hold on to the rail’ female voice, again and again………. next moment a crash and cry, as bodies tumble backwards, man as dam, wedged upside down, holding back the cascade from above. Amidst the floundering 45 degree adult bodies a small child stands impervious………. for an instant all is frozen, then, officials suddenly materialize. Impressed and suspicious at the efficiency of it all, I step onto the train and smile as an accomplice warns me to ‘mind the gap’….

WOMAN
That’s too dark for me…..I have to trust in order to function, sometimes it’s hard, but what else can I do?

MAN
Well after SARS I lost the ability to trust this system. I’d rather not have to think about it, but right now I’ve got no choice…

WOMAN
But all that brought us together, for the very first time in my life here, I felt connected and powerful. And then July 1, that was beautiful…..

MAN
My concern is with now, and tomorrow…. I’ve got another 40 years of life to live…

WOMAN
You’re different. You can always escape, like you and your friends did before. The rest of us have to stick it out, or find other means of escape….why didn’t they give us all passports? Why did you come back?

MAN
This is my home, well, at least it’s where my parents live. And I think I’ve got something useful to contribute…

WOMAN
When I was a kid the sea used to be just down there.

MAN
Our leaders are great alchemists; changing water into gold……

The Shamans of North Point:
divine intervention #1

MUSIC CUE: Snoblind
Synthetic Push

THE SHAMAN’S NEICE
The time is 2003. Hong Kong is attacked by SARS and the girl is a nurse in a public hospital. One day she breaks down, just suddenly breaks down. Her mother thinks that her daughter might be cursed by someone, or a god. But the doctors think that the daughter is just crazy, from having to deal with the pressure of the SARS epidemic, so she just broke down. But her mother insists that her daughter is cursed by someone. So she brings her daughter to General Li for a consultation, General Li says that her daughter is possessed by a ghost from the Qing Dynasty. He tells the mother that in a past life her daughter was a princess, and the ghost was a great warrior and he loved the princess. But the princess refused to marry him. So he committed suicide. And although the girl was reborn again, he still wants to be with her. So he keeps trying to disturb the girl, he just wants to be with her. So General Li practices some exorcism on the girl – after the first exorcism the situation of the girl doesn’t improve too much. But after the second time and the third time, the girl really starts to recover from her madness.

Lunar Eclipsed:
abstract (trans)actions

TAOIST SCHOLAR - Dr Lai Chi-Tim
Chinese people believe that every year there is one major star deity who is in charge of the fortunes of this year. Many Hong Kong people are eager to know whether their deity has any conflicts with the year of the star deity, whether any conflicts. If there is a conflict they have to do something to pacify this conflicting relationship.

THE AGENT
February 19th 2007 Che Kung Temple, New Territories.
Spin the wheel, beat the drum, shake the sticks ‘til kingdom come: Smokey blue clouds of hope and prosperity engulf the city as six million hands light sixty million joss sticks and twelve million ears strain to decipher soothsayers tones above the relentless sacred back-beat of sixty thousand factories playing the pearl river delta blues.

TAOIST SCHOLAR
For example the coming event of the lunar new year, for Taoist believers they will go to a Taoist temple to perform a small Taoist rites to say thanks giving to those deities who helped them in the past year. The second objective of course is to pray for good fortune in the coming year. And the third objective is that if the fortune in the last year was bad they want to reverse their fortune in the coming year. Especially in day three of the first month of the lunar new year calendar; it’s very crowded in Taoist temples.

TEMPLE GOER
These three days will be a big day. Every year on the second day we come here with the whole family. Asking something from god. Making some wishes for the year. And then the next year we’ll come again. Wong Tai Sin: OK he’s one of our gods. So many followers, cannot be upgraded to a god, but so many followers, and then some people come here and they find it comfortable, and then they believe something, and then make a wish, and then; oh it’s good. All over Hong Kong there are small temples. They may have different kinds of gods.

ANTHROPOLOGIST - Professor Joseph Bosco
The word belief is a problematic concept, because belief is something we use in the west from a religious point of view to say - you believe in God, you believe in Jesus, something like that - you would divide the world into believers and non-believers. With the Chinese religious beliefs, they just are. You may have some scepticism, you may not be sure how true it is, or you may wander whether this particular incident is true or not, or instance is true or not..., but the cultural reality is very very real. Anthropologists usually divide the supernatural entities in Chinese society into the gods, ghosts and ancestors. The gods are usually were humans before, they had done good deeds, and they serve as a deity on earth before being reincarnated like everybody else. Ancestors are of course, everyone has their own ancestors...people who came before you, usually people focus on the patrilineal ancestors. And then the ghosts are often people who have died before their time, and are therefore angry because of that, or people who don't have descendants to worship them, and are therefore forced to wander the earth because they're not properly propitiated.

The Star Ferry Incident

MEGAPHONED INVISIBLE STAR FERRY PIER PROTESTOR
We would like to know why you are in such a rush to bring this tower down. Why do you want to get rid of this tower within 24 hours? Is it because you are afraid that finally the Hong Kong public realises the work, the dirty work that you do? We are as a public, in love with this country, and we are doing this because we want to protect this country and it’s cultural heritage. Demolish history and get rid of our heritage. Not even Macao, not even Singapore, not even a city like Barcelona……..

ANARCHIST
It’s kind of funny that it’s happened in this ten years point. But it did help to create some kind of noise, talking about cultural heritage.
A lot of discussions have used this incident, this Star Ferry thing. It seems to be kind of evolving or growing into some kind of a movement. Basically about town planning, peoples participation and decolonisation.

ACTIVIST
Actually we started at the end of last December. Right after the event in Star Ferry Pier. Then we think that the problem of Star Ferry Pier is not only a problem of conserving the clock tower it’s related to actually us as Hong Kong people do we have the right to voice our preference or our choice of how this kind of historical architecture or historical area should stay with us in Hong Kong.

POCKY
I think I mentioned earlier that I regarded the Star Ferry Pier as a family member who would soon die. Actually, I had a very close friend who passed away a few months ago. I projected the emotion of losing a friend onto the Star Ferry Pier. And that's why the works are a little bit different this time. Maybe I can explain in more detail. My best friend was a popular guy who had many friends when he was still alive. However, after his death all his friends seemed to disappear. His wife told me that nobody contacted her except me after his death. This made her very sad. This situation made a strong impression on me. That's when I started to think about the Star Ferry Pier. I thought that no one would remember the Star Ferry Pier after its demolition. This idea motivated me to take extra care to make the documentation as good as possible.

DONALD
So you said you went to visit his wife before, But then afterwards, for example, did you both have a look at your photos and keep in contact?

POCKY
Well, every now and then, I would go and visit her. But, at the beginning, my friend’s wife didn’t….. really understand and was very unhappy. Why when he was alive he had so many friends. But then after he left, She didn't understand why those friends treated her husband as a stranger. As if he never existed. After I heard that, I made and effort to contact her and show my concern. I think until now, apart from me, no one has visited her.

DONALD
But did you show her your Star Ferry pictures? For example give her your book?

POCKY
No no, I haven’t. I haven’t had time yet…

DONALD
OK...

Vertical Narratives

THE AGENT
juxtapositions of space and time.
hyper polished surfaces reflect wealth in rows of designer boutiques endlessly repeating up endless malls
escalator as art
down on street level it's either Blade Runner close and dense humanity and food stalls reflected in the clusters of neon signs above or
wide avenues with once again repeating dried herbal medicine shops
shark fin mounds take centre stage on white tiled floors
outside on the footpath mounds of dried lizards stretched across bamboo frames spill into the gutter their dulled eyes reflected in the thin stream of water collected from outflow hoses of
a thousand air conditioners
refrigerator drones chorus down
the gothic crumbling cathedral of Queens Road West
meanwhile back at the Centre
it's all sanitised artificial space colony living
descend to the lower levels
without ever having to touch the ground or breathe tainted air
shop and shop and shop and eat and shop and shop and eat and ....... collective pastime?
hungry ghost, Ghost in the Shell
the dead, the living, Tao-Buddhist fear
even ultra architecture can't escape the ghost factor
Feng Shui or else!

Nam Shan Estate:
utopian accident #1

MUSIC CUE: Dickson Dee
16:28

T
In 1953 there was a big fire in Shep Kip Mei that burns all the squatter huts. It’s just like Hiroshima or Nagasaki. And then the UN and the Hong Kong government tried to solve the problem of the refugees of the big fire and then they tried to start the public housing estate building in Hong Kong. The Nam Shan Estate is a really unique estate with a very unique architectural style and also the planning. We are now on the playground on the podium. Down to the second floor there is a shopping mall, we call it a shopping mall, but it’s just like a street. And at the bottom, there is a market. Well actually it’s a really traditional and classical with red floors and a very noisy environment. It’s not a modern

market, it’s just like the seventies.

When the residents open their windows they can see the market, the podium, and also this playground. The residents can see different layers, they can actually easily communicate with each other. So the community can easily be formed by this multilayered perspective.
One third of the population of Hong Kong living in the public housing estates. The public housing estates is the main source of the Hong Kong social movement. And also the main source of Hong Kong local community culture. In 1989 the residents in Nam Shan and also the Tai Hung Tung Estates were supporting the Beijing students in Tiananmen Square.

Two years after the Handover in 1999 the government imposed an A Grade Security Policy in all public housing estates in Hong Kong. There are security guards to make sure that no strangers get in to the public housing estates. In the past the residents actually tried to mobilise themselves, they actually get inside the public housing estate blocks and then talk to each other. The traditional mobilisation methods are not going to work because of the A Grade Security Policy.

The government in Hong Kong will not try to make another Nam Shan Estate because the Name Shan Estate works too well to form a big community. But now we can’t find this kind of public housing estate any more. Because the government tried to make the public housing estate to be a prison for the poor.

Ghost Cinema:
spectral times

MUSIC CUE: Robert Iolini & Phillip Mar
Through Train
The spirits of the children were waiting to be reincarnated
They wander here and there seen by people by chance
It makes no difference if they appear in the screen or on reality
The children were on a TV commercial for the HK China railway

ANTHROPOLOGIST - Professor Joseph Bosco
There's a small pond in Chung Chi campus. The story there is that a couple was going to elope, and they said let's meet at ten o'clock by the Lotus Pond. And then at ten o'clock the girl was there, but the boy couldn't get out of his house - his parents wouldn't let him go out. She thought she had been abandoned so she killed herself, jumping into the pond. And from then on, if any male student was walking by the pond at ten o'clock, and the female asks him, 'what time is it now?', if he said it was ten o'clock she would drag him into the pond and drown him. So you have to make sure you don't say its ten o'clock, if you're caught at the pond at ten o'clock at night.

MUSIC CUE: Robert Iolini & Phillip Mar
Through Train
A ghost story is more mysterious than political debate, were there secret talks between the governments?
Six million eyes pinned to the screen frightened,
afraid excited and bored
I felt something strange but it wasn't clear, maybe it's true
From slow to fast, from false to true, from true to very true,
from very true to frightening
We should forget this incident at once. Who is the one who tried to fool the people with evil words?
From one to ten, from ten to one hundred, from one hundred to one thousand, from one thousand to ten thousand
From slow to fast, from false to true, from true to very true,
from very true to frightening
From one to ten, from ten to one hundred, from one hundred to one thousand, from one thousand to ten thousand…..

Feng Shui Face Off:
preternatural intervention

WOMAN
I know who I should bring you to. He’s like a palm reader. You have to pay extra if you want him to read your face and palms. It’s in the middle of Causeway Bay. You have to go up two floors and he’s there.

FENG SHUI MASTER - Alex Yu
In Chinese face reading we have three parts. The first, the upper part is the forehead, including the ears, belongs to the age from one to thirty. The eyebrow thirty one to fifty. Eyebrow, eye, nose, cheek bone, is from thirty one to fifty. The lower part including the age of fifty one to the end. So you have the strong upper mouth here and the jaw with the muscle is good. Even if your face is a little bit like slim. Slim face, not a broad and wide face. But you do have the strong lower part here. So the older the better, the older the better. But you should take care about the problem of your heart. Your heart, because you do have some imperfection here. For the Chinese facing reading it’s not good for the heart.

GOLDFISH VARIATIONS
This fish is in fact an inferior specimen of the progeny of a cross between a Lion-head and an Oranda. The dorsal fin is present but is abnormal. The tail is not good and is out of proportion to the fat body. The head growth is very well developed, but some people do not like this excessive head-growth because the face of the fish looks like that of a person suffering from leprosy.

FENG SHUI MASTER
You do have the high bridge of your nose, and the bridge of the nose is not straight one because it has some problem here. So in Chinese face reading in the age of forty four and forty five, that means your actual age of forty three and four you have some problem, say like some traffic accident, or some problem in your job, in your business, or in your marriage. Or the love affair have some trouble.

MUSIC CUE: Stealstealground
The grass is always green, your face is blue
The grass is always green, your face is blue.
You’re out of control.
You’re out of control.
If you want to relax at work, put a mirror in front of you.

You don’t know what you’re doing, because you don’t know what you’re doing.
Get off work at three in the morning, you just want to find a taxi to drive you home; if you’ve got one.
Your voice is small because you don’t speak out.
Your hands are small because you don’t want to hold on to anything.
I like your clothes, but they don’t fit me.
I like your hair, but they’re too short for me.
You aren’t drinking pure water, because you don’t want to cry.
That’s insane you know.
There’s nothing happier than you hurt someone.
Don’t you think?
You tried to call someone tonight, but you forgot the number.
You’re out of control.
You’re face is blue.
There’s nothing wrong with me.
There’s nothing wrong with me.
I may be suicidal.
There’s nothing wrong with you.
There’s nothing wrong with you.
You just don’t love me…..
You’re face is blue.

THE END