The inevitable II: The repetitive
Repetition. Does it capture our attention? Or quite the contrary?
Chow Yiu Fai
那把聲音就緊靠在你的耳邊，像催魂似地催促你。不管你有沒有回應，也不管你清不清楚，那把聲音就一直在你的耳邊呢喃，也可以說他們都是喋喋不休的人。可能他們每天都坐在一個冰冷的房間，接聽每一個電話，所以叫作cold call；或者是因為他們每次說的內容都是一式一樣的，如同機械人似的，所以變得冷冰冰，所以叫作cold call。
They get to our ears and keep talking.
Whatever we reply, they will never stop telling us what we lack and what we need, as if we cannot live without their suggestions. Sometimes I feel that they care more about our body and life than us, as our personal life coaches.
Such cold calls. I haven't tried to find out the story behind the term. Perhaps because the callers are all sitting in air-conditioned rooms? Perhaps because their persuasive speeches sound repetitive, robotic, fast, and never-ending?
I recall what Yu Guangzhong writes about telephone. He thinks the ringing is like urging our souls. These cold calls are colder, I feel.
Tiksang Lam, graduated from Hong Kong Baptist University, majored in Humanities. Now he is majorly working with music, includes teaching instrument and concert performance.
Cities are peopled by travellers. Sometimes they stay and live on, sometimes they pack and go. In any case, they usually gather, and usually form their markets. This project is about these places, these sounds, these travellers.
Some of them are domestic helpers who travelled a long way from home to take care of other people’s homes. Some are descendants of South Asian migrants, born here and grown up here….
I thought of the markets I have visited when I was abroad. I had no idea of what they were talking about. I could only listen to those sounds, and observe. I felt more, more than myself.
I came back to my city, walked into some markets, and recorded my experience of becoming their outsider.
Backstage freelancer. Studied at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and Hong Kong Community College, Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
Years ago, I was living in Mong Kok and my tutorial student was living in Tiu Keng Leng. I used to travel by MTR every night. Quite often when I was returning home late, I fell asleep on the train and it took me back to Tiu Keng Leng again -- despite all the announcements during the trip.
Yes, all the MTR announcements reminding us. Have we listened to them? Are we aware of the person behind the voice, of the voice? How does that person look like? Has that person ever travelled through every stop? Does that person even exist?
One day, I travelled the entire Kwun Tong line. Every stop, I invited a stranger to listen to the announcement precisely and draw that person with their imagination and understanding.
Between stops, how far can we understand a voice? Or, a person?
Yvette Wong Lok Yee is an Mphil student of the Department of Humanities and Creative Writing, Hong Kong Baptist University. She also writes short fictions, poems and lyrics.
Some people believe human beings are not supposed to stay awake through the night, biologically. I have been "nocturnal" for some years; night time is my comfort zone.
And I started to notice something ironic. Everyone says it’s quiet at night time, and yet are we hearing all the nightly sounds? Like water dripping from and on the air-conditioners? What about those who work at night, supporting the city from "dark side"?
I wandered around Mong Kok on a Friday night. I recorded the ambience along my journey. I first got on an N216 bus and got off to Nelson Street, passed by Ladies Market, then turned into Sai Yeung Choi Street and reached Gala Place in Dundas Street in the end.
The night was quiet for sure, but there were lots of human endeavours in the streets. I loved them. And I realized, my city at night helped me survived someone else’s city in the daytime.
Also known as Lit. Graduated from Hong Kong Baptist University, she is currently a project/event coordinator, and also a TVC singer and backing vocalist.