I spent the day in Guangzhou in order to pick up a friend and accompany him to Hong Kong. Guangzhou is my birth place and strangely, I do not seem to have any nostalgic feeling about the city. Maybe it is because it has changed so much that I can hardly recognize it any more.
The city population has undergone great change and become very much mixed, a result of government’s migration policy. You hear mandarin on the street all the time nowadays. Back to 30 years ago, the din of cantonese was the order of the day.
People were simpler in those days. Now the allurement of material wealth is giving rise to a host of problems, including bad security and thefts.
Sitting in a MacDonald’s restaurant to wait for the arrival of my friend, I found two guys acting suspicious. They were not eating or drinking anything, just taking in the customers who walked in, and moving from one table to another. I was in no doubt that they were thieves when one of the guys moved to a table next to a businessman with his suitcase placed on the ground. He kept turing around and peering at the suitcase, gauging the chance and success rate to steal it. There were quite a few customers sitting right across from them and it was hard for him to do anything, so he left after a while.
I was at the west end of the square of Guangzhou Train Station, waiting for my friend to come out of the exit gate. I could not help but recall my childhood when I was eager to come to the same train station to greet my big auntie from hong kong who would bring with her a lot of nice candies and clothes. Those nice candies and clothes were great excitements for a kid living in a time of simplicity. Anything from Hong Kong, a capitalist place, was looked upon as exotic and precious.
At that time, the exit gate was at the other end of the square…probably the same clock overlooking the square….