I Yearn for Hong Kong
Sitting here in the air-conditioned office, the smell of the place brings me back to my childhood, when me and my parents were in Hong Kong. I’d visit the Toys R Us branch, an entire warehouse full of toys and video games. I’d recall staying in the hotel, with its comfy blankets, and the gentle carpet. I smiled a lot back then, not a care in the world. It was summer, after all, and last month’s school lessons were soon forgotten.
As those memories hit me, I suddenly yearn to go back to Hong Kong. Yet I know Hong Kong has changed. The shops and restaurants I went to won’t be there anymore, and I’m sure the people and atmosphere have changed. A lot can happen in a decade.
Perhaps when people start saying I want to visit this place and that again, they don’t really mean it. It’s not always the area that matters, but the memories we associate with it. It’s as if by going there, we’re not just leaving our old location, but we travel back in time, to the past, away from the present.
The Price of a Book
Perhaps any bibliophile’s gripe is how much a book costs. If it weren’t so much a problem, we wouldn’t be obsessed with finding good libraries, rummaging through used bookstores, or hoping desperately for sales and bargains.
As a book buyer though, I’m matured. Four years ago, I would have complained about purchasing a book that’s only 200 pages long for something as expensive as a music CD. Let’s face it, a number of people have this illusion that more is better. More words, thicker pages, larger books.
I’ve come to realize in fiction though that that’s not always the case. I’ve read through thinner books that give me more pleasure than breezing through a 1000-page novel. A single line, a single sentence, is often more worth it than a hundred words explaining the same thing. It’s a matter of execution, of flavor, of beauty.
I just finished reading Murakami’s Sputnik Sweetheart and in the process of reading Palahniuk’s Survivor. Both are notably thin novels with a hefty price tag, yet I don’t regret buying them. I probably would have a few years ago, as I remember myself at the shelves of Fully Booked, hesitating to purchase A Wizard of Earthsea because of its P450 price tag.
It’s too easy to forget that sometimes, it’s not the quantity that matters, but the quality.