A strange story prompt that can really get you outside of a rut, is to write from the point of view of an inanimate object. Bring it to life. Anthropomorphize a mailbox, a building, an elevator, or a tourist attraction. The latter was the prompt that led me to this little story.
By Andrew Ingkavet
Hey there! Welcome aboard. I got a question for you. What’s the first thing anyone coming here wants to do? No answers? Come on think a little bit. It’s your first time in the fragrant harbor, what are you going to do? Give up?
You’re going to ride me. That’s right, good old HKF. Yeah sure there’s plenty of fancy shiny buildings, the Giant Buddha, the Peak and stuff. The airport, that’s not an attraction, you have to go through it to get here. No, I’m talking about what’s the first thing people thing of.
Tooooooooot! Sorry, couldn’t help from tooting my own horn. He he he. Get it? Ha ha.
Yeah, you could say I’m not really a destination. I take anyone who comes on and take them to the other side. And sure, I’m visited everyday by millions, well, maybe not millions, it’s more like thousands. But back in the day, I was the only game in town. You couldn’t reach Kowloon or Hong Kong Island without getting onboard. And then when cars were starting to get popular, I would take them too.
I do miss them old days. I got to know everyone. Literally. Well, anyone who had to get out and about – the real movers and shakers. We had lots of Brits back then. Then, a boatload of “Phillippinas”, just the ladies, only a handful of the gents. Then we had a bunch of Indians and Pakistanis. They mostly hung out on the Kowloon side in the Chung King mansions. But occasionally they made the crossing to get to the court house for some infraction or to register a new corporation. The Yanks really never came here in any great numbers. Some of the Brits would say, yeah, most Yanks can’t go without their McDonalds. But we got a McDonalds right across from me on both sides. I think they’re just not the worldly types. Brits, you can put them anywhere and they’ll have tea time ready at 3 on the dot. They built me ya know, so I got a lot of affinity for them. Lots of the stuff around here was made by them. But they got pushed out in ’97. That was a while back. Now most of the fancy folks riding speak Mandarin. How weird. So polished and proper. Me? I like that gut-wrenching steel mouth Cantonese. It’s like their always arguing even if they’re just talking. So dramatic.
Nowadays, there’s the bridge, the metro, and even other water taxis. I’m kinda pissed about it, but what can you do. Progress! It’s lucky that they kept me going out of nostalgia. My old buddies the junks are pretty much gone. Once in a while I see one of them and it’s like wow, where you been? It’s always some billionaire’s wedding or some crazy new company outing that needs to have the old Chinese sailing junk.
I get my share of parties too. It’s kinda fun. They usually get some lame Canto-pop singer ruining my ears for awhile. I really love it when I get to give them a blast on the air horn. Whoops. That was a navigational necessity. It always throws them off because they can’t hear their backing track and they start flubbing the lyrics. Awful stuff.
Hey there’s one of them hydrofoils. They think they’re so slick racing back and forth to the casinos in Macau. Bunch of show-offs!
You may recognize the Hong Kong Ferry and some of the details. Yes, I lived there for about 5 years in the 1990’s.
Here’s a great little film that does a great job personifying some rocks with a great social commentary on man over the eons, Das Rad Rocks. Enjoy!