I met the Mui Wo Bachelor at the bookstore, one
languid Sunday afternoon. I heard him talking to the Vietnamese woman behind the counter, and I wanted to get in on their
conversation. They talked about a book that I had read. Finally
the track of their conversation slowed, and I rushed into it.
The man was middle aged, Chinese, older than he looked, a little
plump. I would have been as friendly to him, as to a woman, for I was still married, and in a sea of financial difficulties.
I wanted just Coffee Friends, because my income level was so low, that I could not afford to meet people in wine bars on Hollywood
The people who sauntered
through this bookstore loved books, didn't they? Though my
Linked In showed praise from readers in Africa and the Middle East, no one I met there ever seemed to buy and read my books.
I'll call this man Sean, though that is not his name. Sean
seemed to find me well read as well, and we enjoyed almost an hour of lively talk. I showed the others my blue notebook with
drawings of Chinese radicals, word parts that form larger words in Mandarin.
We discussed meeting for coffee sometimes, as he prepared to pay
for an unimpressive looking hardcover book imported from the UK. The owner Terry routinely used to make book buying
trips to London to source for his huge collection of thousands of antiquarian books. I noted the price on the book, over $75.00 in American dollars.
Sean then kindly invited me for a coffee with him. We walked along
the streets, as he decided we should have a late lunch, and we turned into a restaurant I had been to once or twice before,
when I had more money.
can't remember now what we talked about. His child was in school in another country, he had been married before. He referred
to relatives in other parts of Asia and Europe.
He held a good job at a prestigious Hong Kong institution, whose name I will not write.
I had a large Greek salad, and we had red wine, several glasses
of it. We lingered for some time, almost two hours, and the bill was almost $100 dollars American. I note the prices
here in Hong Kong. Sean mentioned meeting again in Tung Chung, for coffee. I thought that was courteous to meet in an
area closer to me.
to help him as well, with social media, as I have built larger followings there, and feel I can give as well as receive.
We parted to do other activities, he had work to finish for
his professional job. I went swimming.
later, on a weekend, I sat in the bookstore a second time, reading a book, when Sean opened the door to the left of me.
The counter where the owner sat was to the right of me, I was in the middle.
What occurred next was very odd.
Sean saw me out of his peripheral vision as I was less then four
feet from him, yet seemed temporrily distracted as he entered immediately into a prolonged and friendly conversation with
Terry the owner.
at him, trying to say Hello, but there was no opening in the conversation. He seemed to ignore me totally with his body language.
Finally after five or ten minutes of talking, he turned his head towards the door, knowing fully I was there, and just left,
shutting the door.
this happened quite quickly, I was amazed by his rude behaviour, and tried to figure it out.
I had given off no needy vibes as a woman pursuing a man, because
I never pursue men! He had asked me out, he had said let's meet again in Tung Chung, he expressed an interested in my arts
I know he holds
a very good position at the place he works - he acted like a man who has women in pursuit of him as potential marriage material;
because he has been married before, enough time has lapsed. People who have been married once, often marry again.
Don't get any ideas about me, his body language seemed
to say. To me, this attitude seemed presumptuous, vain, egocentric, arrogant. Implying that the male of the species was
more desirable than the female.
And that he is a special
And I guessed from
the descriptions of his Asian family tree that this Eligible Bachelor held more than just a good job, perhaps he was from
a wealthy family. He had had non-Chinese girlfriends, and crossed the line of unfair bias that gives Chinese women more status
than Chinese men, in their attraction value for Westerners.
With his eyes, his face, his body language, he erased me from history. For months later, I passed him
sitting outside laughing and talking with a group of affluent Mui Wo professionals, he may not have seen me.
Only two yards away. I was too baffled to say hello, after
the first erasure. He might have ignored a Hello, or said, Do I know you?
I marvelled that one could spend $100 taking a new friend
to lunch, who was not really a friend, and never would be a friend. The luxury of it all. For to him, I was just an activity like the book, or the lunch - something to fill up a boring Sunday afternoon,
for a man who was brought up by servants who could not record the humiliation of visual erasure.
To myself, I was still a Wild Colonial Girl. Though my feet sometimes skidded off
track, they ran in their own direction, unpredictable by those who saw women in such cliches.