By Hans Ebert

This is where I arrived by ship from Colombo at nine, was a stranger in a strange land called Hongkong, and thought nothing of living in a shoebox in North Point on the 27th floor with my parents, my aunt, uncle, cousin and grandmother.

This is where I took a Shaukiwan tram to Quarry Bay School, possibly the first “East Asian” to be accepted.

This is where I first faced racism- and beat that devil at his own game by being a good pupil- academically and in sports- if you call Rounders a sport.

This is where I took my first ride on the Star Ferry, a taxi and tram, first ate from a lunch box, first went to a cinema, had my first burger- a Wimpy burger, learned to use chopsticks, fell in love with Chinese food and watched my first cricket match.

This is where I was immediately attracted to ladies wearing cheongsams.

This is where I experienced my first typhoon. It was fun for a nine-year-old. There was no school.

This is where I got to see Mr Francis Albert Sinatra perform for school kids at the City Hall for HK$1.

This is where the movie “The World Of Suzie Wong” was so controversial.

This is where I got to meet Steve McQueen and Bruce Lee.

This is where I went to Secondary School- KGV- and discovered girls.

This is where the girl who was my first schoolboy crush came up to me at my first party as a teenager with the “joke”, “Hey, guess what?” “What?” “You’re a nigger and I’m not.” It was a nice rhyming couplet.

This is where I first watched television and grew up with “Bonanza”, “Danger Man”, “The Honeymooners etc” and became a fan of actress Lin Dai and the earliest Cantonese films produced by Shaw Brothers.

This is where I joined my first band and explored the underbelly of Mongkok as a new teenager with Steve, far right, my best friend and band mate.

This is where our tour guides were friendly gentlemen adorned with wonderful tattoos of dragons who introduced us to apartments with a welcoming red light outside.

This is where I saw the Beatles perform ‘live’ at the Princess Theatre.

This is where while working for The Hongkong Standard, I was suddenly asked to cover a Sammy Davis Jr press conference, which led to a party with the world’s greatest entertainer and his posse that encouraged me to grow up fast.

This is where I interviewed and spent time with Karen Carpenter, Mickey Rooney, Burgess Meredith, Scorsese, Polanski, Jeff Bridges, the Bee Gees, Barry Gibb, Billy Joel, Dylan, Clapton, Bowie, Peter Sellers, Lionel Ritchie, Phil Ramone, Quincy Jones…

This is where I dropped my first tab of acid with my best friend and went hurtling off to Camelot, the Wild West and my mother’s womb with the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s playing in the background.

This is where I met the very pretty girl who became my supportive wife and then the wonderful mother to our daughter.

This is where when first married, we managed to live on a combined salary of less than HK$7000 and be more than happy.

This is where, when happiest being with the perfect girl, I received a phone call to say that my best friend Steve had accidentally choked to death.

This is where our daughter went to school, learned French and Mandarin as second languages, embraced art studies and which prepared her for university in Brighton.

This is where my wife and I watched the Handover taking place on television and wondered what the future might hold.

This is where there was the wonderful Sri Lanka Club restaurant and its HK$60 buffet and popular meeting spots with jockeys like California in Lan Kwai Fong, Wyndham Street Thai, La Bodega, Va Bene and Landau’s.

This is where the marriage didn’t go the distance and end happily ever after. Maybe those only happen in fairy tales…

This is where evenings turned to nights and nights turned into mornings and we lived La Dolce Vita and when lust became mixed up with love and everything was only about the moment.

This is where finding love in all the wrong places with a long train running of girls and women from the United Assembly Of Bad Romance was accepted.

This is where I became a copywriter and entered the creative world of advertising.

This is where working on the McDonald’s business, creating menu chants, writing jingles and understanding that the technique is not the idea came into play along with art of persuasion. It’s where long lunches, overseas shoots and flim flam men came together.

This is where I had my first taste of horse racing- at Happy Valley- and on Saturday afternoons.

This is where I joined my first music company-PolyGram, which segued into Universal Music before moving up that ladder and having some hits before The Fat Guy Hands sang, bought EMI Music and made everything fall in a heap.

This is where hanging out with users, abusers and two-time losers made me street smart enough to see through puffery and fakery.

This is where I met the famous and the infamous and have made the handful of friends who matter.

This is where, for the first time, I’m wondering, Where to now?

#Hongkong #HansEbert #life #love #music #career

Leave a Reply