Buy Now, Smile Later

I was in a shopping centre/mall recently. A big one. An expensive one. A very strangely unhappy one. It had sweet scent of leather and cold hard cash. And this was interesting for me.

Now, I would like to stress first off that this is not an anti-capitalist rant, or anything like that. Maybe a little anti-consumerist, but hey ho, that’s the way it is.

So anyway. After leaving China, I now reside in Hong Kong. It’s a fairly well off place. House prices are eye-watering, it is one of the most densely populated places in the world, and it’s history goes hand in hand with colonialism, which itself is capitalisms sweet, sweet muse. I digress. It’s a nice place. I like living here, (mostly because I live nowhere near the city – my commute is more than an hour) it’s a lot of things China wasn’t. And I can get good cheese and wine in the supermarket. And that’s all that’s important. I’m still digressing.

It’s a place that’s pretty much built around banking, and money and stuff linked to that. Also there is a massive port, so trade is big to. Fuck it, my point is that money is a big deal. The money is printed by three different banks (HSBC, Standard Chartered, Bank of China) as opposed to something like the Bank of England, which you can’t open an account with in quite the same way. And people are loaded here. I mean properly. I saw a woman get on the MTR and she was decked out in Burberry and she had a kid that was also decked out in the same kit. Well not quite skirt and blouse, but that whole endless repetition of a pattern thing. Anyway. I am not talking chav (Are you still allowed to say that? As a foreigner and an emigrant in equal measure, I will stick with it…) knock off Burberry. This was ‘I am so wealthy my toddlers wear more expensive clothes than you will ever in your life’ Burberry. I wasn’t overly shocked at the concept, more just the point. What the fuck is the point in spending so much money on a toddler, who a) will grow out of it, b) couldn’t tell the fucking difference…

I’m STILLdigressing.


So this mall that I was in. I was waiting around. Next to a very fancy ice cream parlour. They called it gelato. So proper fancy. And I was also around the corner from the Apple shop. What struck me was not only the abundance of tourists in a mall, where everything is the same price as it is everywhere else, but the fact that for all the money you would need to buy something in this place, no one seemed to particularly enjoy the experience. Now there were lots of business types wearing suits and ties and all sorts. This is not what I mean by being uncomfortable. I have been known to wear this sort of thing everything so often, and it’s not actually all that bad. What I mean is that no one looked remotely happy. I will not use the cliche of money can’t make you happy, because it can certainly help; I know this for a fact. But at the same time, the tourists and the residents all wandering around with their very expensive taste looked so serious. It was like having a fat wallet was somehow a burden; needless to say I didn’t quite get it. And obviously it’s not like I went around interviewing people. But if I could have afforded anything in this place I’d have been pouring champagne down my throat straight from the bottle while talking about ice and bling. Or something.

So the crux of the matter is: give your money to me and I will enjoy it.

No I jest. Lighten the fuck up. You can’t take that shit with you, and your children will probably try to eat each other for a slice of your moolah.

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