images of hong kong
— leung ping kwan
translated by michelle yeh, 1990
I am looking for a different angle
to approach the issue of point of view.
This old photograph was
taken at Bright light Studio on Nathan Road.
Who would colour-touch them these days?
looking up, I see the Midlevels on the screen.
She’s from Shanghai, can’t forget her past glory,
White Russian cafes on Jaffe Road, violin
music. What is going on?
A bottle of Twin Sister Cologne smashed to pieces on the floor.
Hawkers throwing jet olives into postmodern highrises.
I agree with her that everyone thinks differently.
He studied anarchism in France, came back
and worked first for Playboy, then for Capital.
We gaze at the moon, from different angles
we gaze at the moon. The clock-tower in Tsimshatsui
Sunset at Aberdeen. They plan
to redecorate this roam. Queen’s Restaurant. China Club.
One press of the button, endless images
too much titillation from trends distracts you,
too many trivial matters, different occasions,
constantly changing identities. When can we – –
He is good at writing reportage, his specialties are
dogs and pornography in capitalist societies.
When can we sit down and talk?
Reproduced images and sounds of singers divert our attention.
Desire is redefined by the expansive screen.
You reach out your hand – what do you touch?
History is a series of images
the material for its making can be foil paper, plastic, fibre,
the push-button of a laser disc … We look up
to gaze at the moon. Is tonight’s moon
at the beginning or the end of time?
She is a novelist from Taiwan, thinks she is
Eileen Chang, writes romances about Hong-Kong, neon light reflection,
Star Ferry spattering waves as it reaches the pier, the old train station,
the endlessly reproduced Repulse Bay Hotel.
Exotica for a faraway audience.
We keep changing our position,
we are looking for a different angle
that neither adds nor subtracts,
forever on the margin, forever in transition.
We write with pens of different colours,
but these things, too, easily become superficial.
Is this how history is constructed?
He is a good writer of spy stories with an Oriental flavour.
Entangled with what others have said
Why is it so hard to tell our own stories?
They plan to redecorate this room,
We look up, searching–