Look, Hope and Expect

Road marking

Street markings are ubiquitous in Hong Kong, thanks to its British heritage, and pedestrians are urged to “Look Left” or “Look Right” at every crossing. But I was somewhat astonished to find out that the Chinese character used for this command (, pronounced mong in Cantonese) does not just mean “look” in a literal sense, it can also mean “hope” or “expect.”

Of course, as is always the case in Chinese, the word’s actual meaning depends entirely on context. But it’s awfully poetic in a figurative sense. What goes through your mind in that microsecond that passes when you turn your head to look at something? Trepidation, fear, longing, expectation, hope? And what happens when that brief moment of anticipation settles into the reality of what we see?

Star Ferry terminal

Jamia Mosque gate

This entry was written by Christopher DeWolf , posted on Thursday June 18 2009at 10:06 am , filed under Asia Pacific, Transportation and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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