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Monday, July 16, 2007


I visited Hong Kong with my mom several years ago, staying with friends of hers in Kowloon. We slept in the living room and woke up early to watch rows of little old ladies practicing T’ai Chi, below.

The housing complex where they lived was something like the Jetsons – a crowd of huge concrete towers next to a public park. The towers were connected with everything you’d ever need on the ground floor - stores, elementary school, post office, restaurants that were open 24/7. Completely self-sufficient, it was a city dweller’s dream.

Recently, I came across an array of pictures of Hong Kong. They are astonishing, not for anything but their monotony – rows upon rows of windows, segments of identical buildings that seem without top or bottom.

The whole thing reminds me of the Romantics and their Theory of the Sublime. Around 1800, painters depicted exaggerated cliffs and chasms, which were considered beautiful because the human brain couldn’t comprehend their natural hugeness. Contemplating such vastness was wrapped up in the contemplation of God.

These days, the infinite no longer signifies the otherworldly or spiritual. Infinity is matter of fact. More is simply more. It’s no longer that big a deal. We have Google, we have gps devices – now we’ll never again be without information or directions.

Lately in New York, all I notice are building cranes and billboard ads for new condo complexes. I can’t help but wonder whether Hong Kong is in the future.

Google can provide us the probability of this happening. It can't tell us the future. Yet.

Photo by Repubblica.it. For more great images, click here.


Starbuck and Torrey said...

I live in Hong Kong and know what you mean! Thankfully I grew up on a hill and was surrounded by green! It sure is exciting, though! It's the city that never sleeps!