Every time I come back from a trip abroad to my native city, I have this terrible sense of being lost. And coming back from a country as cultured and civilized as Japan makes this sense of being lost all the more deeply felt.

As absurd as it may sound, I am well and truly lost in my own native city. This city which brands itself as “Asia’s World City” is a heartless and soulless place. I feel terribly lost when I have to spend fifteen more minutes to walk to the new ferry pier because the old one has been ruthlessly pulled down in the name of development. I feel terribly lost when I walk along a street in a forgotten part of the city where some middle-aged prostitutes hang out for the next patron and some ethnic minorities set up the stalls for the night market. I feel terrible lost when I am in an MTR carriage, surrounded by people who all speak at the top of their voices not so only because everyone else around them is doing so but also because this has become a routine.

It typically takes maybe a week or so, when I can yet again grow numb to all these, when I begin to forget that it doesn’t have to be that way because elsewhere in the world it usually is not that way.

It can be done. It has been proven to work, all my life, hasn’t it?

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