Thursday, September 02, 2004

They are selling the past!

It was only 10 years ago when I first arrived in Hong Kong and was delighted to see rickshaws parked in front of the Star Ferry Pier, in Central district, with their drivers sitting on them, waiting for their clients.
Back in 1994, these rickshaw drivers (or show I say runners) were not transporting local people as they used to do back in a more remote past. These drivers were trying to catch the attention of tourists making money out of the photos they were posing for. Back then I felt the nostalgia of something that was reaching its end and was disappearing.

The profile of these rickshaw drivers were old Chinese men with gig golden smiles, dressed in traditional fisherman’s black suits. They could not speak English but they had their techniques in fishing in tourist into their rickshaws.
What they did was posing for the first picture and then volunteering to take a picture of you, sitting on the rickshaw. Considering the innocent and pleasant offer chances are that you would have accepted as in fact I did. As soon as I sat on the rickshaw, it was lifted and in fraction of seconds I see myself being pushed away on the rickshaw. I still remember that the driver was so amused and was laughing when I insisted several time to stop. He didn’t, he went around the block, which made me feel quite embarrassed as this man was certainly in his 80’s.

When he came back to the beginning, I was a bit mad of what he did but gave him some money and kept a memory of something that will never happen.

Time flies and we are always to busy to pay attention to what we are loosing with that flight.
The other day I passed by again by the Star Ferry Pier and saw with sadness that the old men with the golden smiles, dressed in black fisherman’s suits were no longer there.
Only the rickshaws still remain, resting alone, waiting to be sold.

They are selling the past!

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