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(n.) the realisation that each passerby has a life as vivid and complex as your own.
In a city as busy, bright, vivacious and layered as Hong Kong, it’s easy to lose yourself. It’s easy to lose yourself in a melting pot of cultures, a country where British and Chinese traditions both remain present, learning and seeing anew almost every time you step outside. It’s easy to lose yourself in the imminent fun and neon lights of this concrete jungle. It’s also to lose yourself and forget that you’re an individual, where hoards of people teem this way and that at every hour of the day. Will there be a quiet moment? A quixotic minute before the silence is broken by chirping crickets and the ascending murmurs as street vendors begin their daily grind?

Once a day, I try to take a few moments whilst begrudgingly outdoors and contemplate passerbys. There, even in that word alone we condemn everybody else to be everybody else. But every single individual has a life just as vivid and complex as your own. They may also be struggling to discover what he or she wants out of this life (or simply what they want for dinner, such is the diverse eating availability in Hong Kong). They may also be pondering their temporary pedestrian neighbour’s world. They may be worried about family, about future commitments, about wasting time. The possibilities are endless. Each individual’s life is as complex as the next and what’s even more fascinating to me is that we’re somewhat intrinsically involved with each other’s. See that girl sitting across from you wearing the ultimate in camel coats? She’s a part of your commute and you’re a part of hers. She’s probably considering complimenting you on your excellent choice of lipstick, in the same way that the ‘where is your coat from?’ question is tracing your well-dressed lips. When you bought that coffee this morning and smiled* at your barista, you probably made his or her day, you were one of a small handful that will genuinely smile and vocalise their gratitude for that sweet brown nectar of awakened consciousness.

(Turtleneck chiffon top, A Korean boutique;
Rose quilted faux leather skirt, Zara;
Leather trainers, Lacoste;
Duster, 3.3 Field Trip;
Chanel Boy.)

* I’m working on the well-researched knowledge that you, my reader, are a smile-at-strangers kinda lady or gentlefellow.

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