Posted by on Jul 27, 2010 in Wayne Liu | No Comments

Once upon a time in Amsterdam, a piece of layout containing floor plans of Chungking Mansion was brought to light.  I was then working in New Belgrade, years after and in-between those legendary Balkan wars, at the Blok 70 Chinese market where shoppers float like jellyfish in and out the dim lit alleyway that is my perception.

I came across this discovery in a Dutch-spelled newsletter a passerby tossed in my stall.  The paper has a name: “Plans to embetter Amsterdam-Chinese language acquisition,” I believe it says.  Who this stranger was, I cannot recall.  It had been minutes, perhaps hours ago, as footsteps had already meddled with the paper’s folded existence.

The layout was complex, just like here in Blok 70 where I write to you. Methinks: Who hasn’t heard of the Chungking Mansion via that movie from the last century by a certain Hongkongnese Mr. Wong?  If not, I have a copy or two editions pirated awaiting for you here- if you care to watch- and that is, may you plan to visit my distant stall in Blok 70, New Belgrade.

Now I’m imagining Amsterdam.  I’d like to visit there, surely somehow, after my selling enough plastic stockings and pirate discs, Euro currencies tumbling upon my belly… We’ll see… or maybe I’ll head to New Amsterdam- a friend’s friend has what they call an artist studio there- I could perhaps provide cheap ladies’ underwear and Yugoslav music cassettes for all his friends…

Speaking of faraway contacts, I’m here expecting a certain someone named Wing to arrive soon, to my stall, by train, from the east, to one day substitute my imaginary absence.  I seem to have the person’s full name somewhere, but I forget if it’s a man or woman.  Don’t they all sound the same and interchangeable from that far Cathay east?  Those foreign names… I once was too, and now what became of it?  I shall switch names again one day and move, with my savings from eating ramen and fake cigarettes, towards that golden far west, the Badlands, so they say, swimming the Levee that Breaks, catching the Last Picture Show, or perhaps merely a glimpse upon a cow and a boy and a girl, and some big body named Pacifica along the way, and perhaps pass through wherever I’d come from… at some point…