Made in Hong Kong – Friday Fictioneers, August 2016

Copyright Janet Webb

Copyright Janet Webb

 

The walls between our units were paper thin; next door the thump of heavy-duty machines heralded the birth of belts and handbags, whilst  in our workplace makeshift power connections flickered, sparking above production lines foaming with tawdry silk underwear.

It was a living.

Today, above the  smog that wreathes the island, fat-cats cruise in silver birds across a cerulean arc.  Hundreds of anguished souls drift between high-rise buildings, watching the Star ferries butt relentlessly across  greasy, grey waters with their human cargoes.

The walls between our units were paper thin; when the fire started we never stood a chance.

I really did intend to write something new for this week’s prompt, but when I looked back, I recalled that this was a particular favourite of mine.  It reminded me of a time when my husband and I visited the island as a precursor to a possible secondment there.  I hated it – the smog, the noisy chaos, the traffic, the overcrowding.  A dark moment – but fate intervened and a change of policy resulted in our relocating instead to Johannesburg, South Africa.  A tad more dangerous, but infinitely more beautiful. 🙂  Thank you to Rochelle, the illustrious leader of the Friday Fictioneers for hosting this weekly get together.

About Sandra

I cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and write fiction and poetry. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
This entry was posted in Friday Fictioneers, Just Sayin' and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

54 Responses to Made in Hong Kong – Friday Fictioneers, August 2016

  1. Lynn Love says:

    Chilling and yet beautifully told, Sandra. You create such clear images in so few words – the macinery, the filthy air, the inequality between rich and poor. Very clear, very well written.

    Like

  2. MrBinks says:

    “fat-cats cruise in silver birds across a cerulean arc”
    You have such a way with words. Bravo!

    Like

  3. neilmacdon says:

    That’s a great use of the photo-prompt. I wish I’d thought of that!

    Like

  4. Dear Sandra,

    I’m glad you decided to go with this story. It certainly bears repeating. I always appreciate a story that only makes a glancing reference to the prompt. Beautifully done. I loved it then, I love it now.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      It’s been great having the opportunity to re-visit some old work Rochelle. I’m always banging on about the fate of ‘spent’ stories. Thanks for your lovely comments.

      Like

  5. Graham Lawrence says:

    Beautiful!

    Like

  6. Oh I do like the way you mix the images of apocalyptic future and sweatshops… reminds me of Blade runner actually.

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Well it wasn’t so much an image of an apocalyptic future as a metaphor for greedy, wealthy businessmen flying around in their private jets while the ‘wasps’ below buzzed away making money for them and getting killed in the process. But hey, it works either way, I guess. 🙂 Thanks for commenting Bjorn.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. jellico84 says:

    I just imagined the old cloth factories in the heart of NYC back in the 20’s, child labor, such poor working conditions…the deadly fires, etc. Such a poignant way to share it. Good writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Al says:

    The descriptions are great. You get a real feel for the whole story.

    Like

  9. iainthekid says:

    Brilliant, such a tragic ending, I didn’t see it coming at all.

    Like

  10. paulmclem says:

    Doesn’t make me want to go to HK, I must admit. Although that said it is the sort of place I’d like to see at least once, if even only for a couple of days.

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      At the time we went, the flight path to the landing runway at the airport went right between these dreadful skyscrapers. I realised it was the stuff of my nightmares. It’s different now I believe – new airport.

      Like

  11. I love the way this story reads, brilliant.
    Sad though in the end.

    Like

  12. gahlearner says:

    I can’t get my head around how much atmosphere, description, social critique and drama you get into these hundred words. The repetition of the first line makes is especially powerful..

    Like

  13. ceayr says:

    I am running out of adjectives, and original thoughts, on your stories.
    This is beautifully conceived and developed, with the kind of denouement that we all aspire to.
    Magnificent.

    Like

  14. draliman says:

    Great story, you paint a vivid picture. The repetition of “The walls between our units were paper thin” was genius.

    Like

  15. Danny James says:

    Just a wonderful read.

    DJ

    Like

  16. liz young says:

    My husband spent some of the 70s in Hong Kong before we met – he loved it, but then he was a fat cat. Unfortunately he also spent the money before we met! Great story – I can see why it’s a favourite.

    Like

  17. We lost everything in 2009 due to a fire, this hit home more than I thought it would. 😦

    Like

  18. rgayer55 says:

    I’ve been told the catacombs of my mind are paper thin as well. The doctor said not to get any water in my ear. It could create a flood of biblical proportions and destroy what’s left of my common sense.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Laurie Bell says:

    Gosh that last line! Well told

    Like

  20. plaridel says:

    sad plight of folks living worse than bees in a hive.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Killer last line! You always inspire me!

    Like

  22. Great story and sadly a true one! Exploitation illustrated to the kilt!

    Like

  23. I agree with the others: great job! When I read the line about “human cargoes” and especially the last line I realized “sweat shop”!
    The theme of the lifestyle of the rich being on the backs of the poor is a tragically ancient message, even appearing in the Bible.(Ignoring this message was fatal for Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette!)

    Like

  24. Your story reminds me how lucky I am to live where I do.
    Very thoughtful.

    Like

  25. Margaret says:

    Wonderfully atmospheric and full of feeling. Tragically, true to life too. Brilliant descriptions – I love the contrast between the world of labour and danger below with the rich up above it all in the clean, open sky.

    Like

  26. Well written social commentary Sandra, using the nest to depict the living and working conditions was very apt

    Like

  27. Michael Wynn says:

    Beautifully told and extremely atmospheric. A brilliantly told tragedy, Sandra.

    Like

  28. subroto says:

    Tragic story and yet too close to truth.

    Like

I'd love to hear your views; it reassures me I'm not talking to myself.

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