Memory Chain: My years in Hong Kong

Jan 23, 2011
by: XLiu

I remember staring at myself in the mirror on the first day of school in Hong Kong. A tomboyish looking girl with bowl cut hair stared back at me in the mirror. I was a tan little girl in a Cantonese school uniform. That was the first time I tried on a uniform, I did not realize what it symbolize. Only one thought was in my mind “ why is this uniform so ugly compare to the one I saw in Japanese dramas?” then I started to blame my mom for applying me to the school with ugly uniform.

I was a new student, I did not know anyone nor did I want to know anyone. I did not talk unless I was require to, because I didn’t know how to speak Cantonese. I never bother to try to enter the social circle of the little girls of my age. One day, as I was waiting for my grandma to pick me up at the bus stop, a little girl with big round eyes and puffy little pink cheeks came up to me. “You’re a student from XXXXX school!” the girl said as she stare at my uniform with admiration in her eyes. I pretend to not hear her. “I’ve always wanted to go to that school, you’re so lucky, how did you get in? You must be very smart!” Smart?! I thought to myself, it’s only because my mom’s relative knows the principal. I continue to ignore her existence. “Oh! My name is Sophia,” she said as she smiled at me. I did not pull up my head from staring at the floor. She continue to talk to me for a while even thought I did not reply her. I was frustrated as 15 minutes gone by, and my grandma still didn’t show up. She notice the change of expression on my face, and she asked: “what’s wrong?” “………..nothing“, I finally gave my first reply. “Really?” she stared at me with her rosy cheek puffed, her black round eyes open widely and her hands on her hip. “…….. I don’t know how to get home.” I was too ashamed to look at her. “ Don’t worry, tell me your address and I’ll bring you there” she said very confidently. After I told her my address, she took my hand and really did led me back to my house. My grandma was shock at my return, it turned out that she forgot I was suppose to be out of school 3 hours earlier on that day.

After that incident Sophia and I became friends, and she always acted like an older sister toward me. She was my first friend in Hong Kong. Sometime I wonder, if it wasn’t because of my uniform, will she ever come up to talk to me? I really have to thank my ugly uniform for this beautiful friendship.

girls wearing Hong Kong school uniform , Taken from : <-------- example of Hong Kong school uniform, taken from :


Although I have made a friend outside of school, I didn’t bother to try to make any inside of school. Most of these little girls in my class were very friendly toward me, however I did not want to become one of them. Despite my coldness toward their greetings, the little girls continue to greet me. Even if I did not want to make friends with the girls I still need them to help me around the new surrounding. Eventually I became close with a tall girl with personality pretty much like mines. Even though we were close, we were not as close as friends. There’s always one thing that I made her do for me, which was to buy ramen chips for me, I’ve never seen that type of chips before, it was basically uncooked ramen noodle that can be eat without being cook. There was this one day when I asked her to buy the ramen chips but I didn’t state clear enough what I wanted her to get me. As a result, she got me something I didn’t want. I was frustrated and I yelled: “ you’re so stupid, I didn’t want that, take that away.” Her brother heard me, he yelled at me and took her away. (Now that I think about it, I was really unreasonable and immature, but hey! I was in first grade.) I thought about what happened in class and I realized how short temper I was, I’ve said things that I didn’t mean to. When I finally got the chance to see her I told her: “sorry I didn’t mean it”. But she only replied with: “I did not expect you to say something like that to me, it hurts. I want you to know that there are things you can’t take back, and words is one of them.” Ever since then she stopped talking to me. A possible friendship was destroy by me. At least I’ve a learn lesson from that.


My mom is a complicated stranger to me, she thinks very differently from normal people, after all, who thinks it’s not their responsibility to take care of their own child? Ever since I was little, I’ve live under the roof of my relative. The year in Hong Kong was one of the few years that I’ve live with my mom, it was one of the years that I enjoyed the most. One specific day that I recall from that year was the day when we went to a famous themes park with my dad during one of his visits. It was a famous sea animal theme park in Hong Kong. There were a lot of different things to do at the theme park, one of which I remember the most was the visit to the butterfly museum. I saw collection of beautiful butterflies, but they were not moving. I asked my mom: “Why is the butterfly not moving?” “ Because they are dead”, she replied. “why are they dead?” “So that they can stay here for you to see”.“ Then I rather not see them!” I shouted. My mom turned her head from the butterflies to me and said:“ listen now, that’s how the world is, the stronger ones get to control the weaker ones. Do whatever you can to become the stronger one to protect yourself. Keep that in mind because I want you to survive in this society.” Although my mom has gave me a lot of useless advices in life, but I actually kept this advice in my mind to this day.