Book Reading/ Panel Discussion
at Hong Kong’s Bookazine
On Thursday, May 23, 6-8pm, at Hong Kong’s Bookazine Landmark Prince’s, join publisher Graham Earnshaw, editor Tom Carter and authors Nury Vittachi, Bruce Humes and Pete Spurrier to discuss their new anthology, Unsavory Elements: Stories of Foreigners on the Loose in China, an unprecedented collection of true tales from 28 laowai writers—including Mark Kitto, Peter Hessler and Simon Winchester—about their experiences living in the 21st-century Middle Kingdom.
Free event! Complimentary refreshments provided. Bookazine, Landmark Prince’s Building, Shop #309, 10 Chater Road, Central Hong Kong, (+852) 2522-1785
An excerpt from my piece, One of the People (I prefer my own title, 《遭遇深圳》), about my hospital stay immediately after I was badly knifed on the streets of Shenzhen:
“You’ll have to excuse us, Bruce. We’ve always looked after you as a guest,” said longtime friend Liu Jie, pausing delicately. “But yesterday we treated you like one of our own.”
Indeed. My reception the previous night at the emergency room of this People’s Sickhouse in Shenzhen, just north of Hong Kong, was probably typical for many citizens across the country: I had been summarily treated, hastily diagnosed and then sidelined, proving that there is at least one bastion in China where a foreigner needn’t worry about receiving ‘special treatment’.
My evening had begun with a cheap imported Mexican beer and a live Filipino cover band in a bar on Shangbu Road. At half past 10 I exited with my date, said goodnight to her, and began my homeward stroll alone. I got a call, put the mobile to my right ear and kept walking. Near the intersection of Shangbu and Shenzhen East Roads, a lively juncture just a stone’s throw from the seat of the city government, I got the ugliest surprise of my life.
First came a violent tug at my hand with the handset, and then a searing pain ripped across the right side of my head. Bizarrely, I could hear a man nearby grunting like he was being kicked again and again in the ribs.
Don’t ever resist! is Shenzhen’s proverbial advice to the naive victions—and there were hundreds every month in the early years of the 21st century—confronting a determined thief. Yet there I was doing just that. I grabbed at something shiny, seized it in my palm, and held on for dear life.
The grunting stopped suddenly and I opened my eyes. Against the deep blue sky, the stars twinkled above the heads of onlookers drawn to the sight of a bleeding Westerner curled up in a fetal position on the still-warm summer concrete. . .