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What I did not see in Hong Kong

By Jamie Isabel Rosado

As I walked down the streets of Hong Kong everything was big stores, neon lights, and fairly clean streets; as to be expected in any big city.  However as I walked down a main drag I saw off to the right a small sign for a British clothing company I like, Morbida Destiny. I started strolling down the side street looking for the store that should have come with the sign. Walking down the street I neither saw nor noticed the people sitting in the street, after I got to the end and realized that the store wasn’t there I began to head back to the main road. I began to notice the people I had passed on the way in. Most of them seem to have lived in that street and I quickly began to wonder why these people did not venture out into the main fares, not one of them stopped to ask me for change or appeared to care that I was in their domain.

I think that the most important part of my twenty minute excursion was that at first I did not notice the people sitting and living along the gutters and sidewalks of that street. Although a part of my not noticing could be attributed to my distraction at looking for the store but that does not relieve me of all culpability in not seeing the “unseens”.

I can not say with any certainty as to whether or not any of the women I saw were commercial sex workers but they were treated in much the same way as the bar hostesses  in TianTian Zheng’s article Consumption, Body Image, and Rural-Urban Apartheid in Contemporary China.   The people, mostly women and children, on that street are no longer seen by the massive population that envelops them, as for their reason for not venturing out I know none but it is entirely possible that they did and I just did not see them. 

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