There Comes A Time
“There comes a time in life To pull on your coat and go outside”* June 3 will mark the end of my fifth year in Hong Kong. It will be the last such anniversary for me. The time has come to move on and build a new home in a new city. Some astute readers […]
“There comes a time in life
To pull on your coat and go outside”*
June 3 will mark the end of my fifth year in Hong Kong. It will be the last such anniversary for me. The time has come to move on and build a new home in a new city. Some astute readers have already guessed the destination – Singapore.
“To taste the vinegar of life, bitter life
To taste a second time, its sweet surprise
This is not a “one city is better than another” kind of decision. Although I’ve not always enjoyed life in Hong Kong, the reality is that what makes a city attractive to any of us depends on a lot of personal variables.
Moreover, I have genuinely enjoyed my last two years here. Starting my music company was a huge personal breakthrough and being in Hong Kong made that easier. Turning my photographic hobby into a serious pursuit was also something that happened here. And, in the past two years I’ve met some amazing people, realised some great collaborations and made some good friends.
“It’s not that hard to figure it out
When there’s no question, there’s no doubt
I burned an effigy to time, senseless time
To view the miracle, but the water was still wine
And that was my crime”
The reality is I made some mistakes in my first couple of years here. We moved to Hong Kong expecting to only be here for two to three years and when the picture changed, I didn’t adapt quickly enough.
“There is a face in the stone
We let it out to find its form”
If I’d known I was going to be here for five years, then upon arriving I would have learnt Cantonese, started my company sooner, gotten more involved in networking events and so on. But, we make the decisions based on the way things look at the time. The decisions I made in 2006 revolved around improving my craft, as a musician and writer and although they put me on a lonely path, I don’t regret the skills and knowledge acquired during those years.
“To shape the testament of will, strongest will
Pride, humility, a bitter pill
Of course, at the end of five years, especially five sometimes unhappy years, mistakes and misteps stand out like untanned interlopers on a summer beach. I’ve spent more time alone in Hong Kong than anywhere else I’ve lived. And, I’ve often felt alone in a crowd, out of step with the pace and flow of the city.
“Sweet surrender, oh my Lord
I never thought I’d see”
In the end I’ve adjusted to this place and learnt to love what it has to offer. The ebb and flow of festivals, the food and shopping, the hiking and the safety and security. If you are willing to compromise and accommodate, this can be an easy city to live and have fun in (assuming you have some cash).
“Not surprising, still I find
I’m shaking, crying
But I’m laughing, softly”
So, I’ve taken a path that has seen me do what I can do in this place to feel like I’m moving forward. But, I haven’t managed to find musical collaborators, I haven’t grown as a musician (in the last few years) and I haven’t managed to finish the musical projects I set myself upon moving here.
However much I’ve enjoyed spreading my creative wings with photography, expanding into some professional creative writing and connecting with innovative folks in the tech world I’m not growing in the key area of my vocation, music.
“There comes a time in the life
To pull on your coat and go outside”
So, it’s time to step out of my comfort zone and move to a city with more of a live music scene (and especially more of a jazz scene). It will be tough, theres’s a lot of things (and people) I’ll miss and it might all be in vain. Who knows.
But, it’s time.
*Lyrics quoted in this post are from There Comes A Time, by Glen Phillips. You can see the song performed live on YouTube.