Nobody can foresee what the future will be, but if you are standing at present, looking back, you will see how much have changed.
I went back to my birthplace, my dad’s old workshop on the weekend. What a scene! I have to pass through a Cantonese wet market before getting to my birthplace. The wet market is still there. Yet the mom-and-pop stores and stands are no longer in the neighborhood. Instead, store after store sells non-Cantonese food and wares. Speaking of Cantonese food, I am very traditional. In my opinion, Cantonese cuisine is always the best of best. The restaurant which used to sell Cantonese roasted geese and ducks now has become a Sichuan restaurant; right next to it is a Guilin noodle shop instead of a mom-and-pop store where I used to buy cigarettes and wine for dad, candles for mom and ice-cream and mid-autumn festival lanterns for myself. It was fairly odd to see them near a Cantonese wet market. So apparently, I was a bit allergic to these non-local restaurants.
The faces have changed, so is the noice. What I used to hear from the shops and wet markets were mainly Cantonese. Today, I can hear dialects from other provinces. The used-to-be solely Cantonese noise now has been contaminated with various jabbers that puzzle me a big time. The venders, the hawkers, the salesgirls all look so hick and indifferent to me. The most obvious change should be the little alley which my dad’s old workshop is located. It used to be a busy and noisy alley with playful kids, passerbys, bikes and motorbikes. Now most of the doors are closed. I can’t find a soul walking by except the children of the migrant workers playing near their rented houses. How sad! Many old neighbors have moved out, leaving only vacant houses, of which are rented to the migrant workers. The whole alley is just so slack like a deserted senior.
I forgot to bring the house key so I only stopped by at the kitchen. Gees, I am tall enough to reach the ceiling. The kitchen is now quite shabby with the exposure of the tiles and cracks on the wall. I wonder how could I live through all those years studying in the attic.
A brief visit to my birthplace has brought me lots of memories of my childhood. Soon I only can relive this feeling via pictures and journals written in the past. Sentimentally, I left the neighborhood with a heavy heart.