the Art of Intensity
“You must have chaos within you to give birth to a star.”
Everyone should live in Hong Kong, at least once.
Hong Kong is an experience in intensity. If you have ever eaten authentic Szechuan food, you know what I mean. Levels of flavor gradually pour in and quickly and abruptly overwhelm your senses until you finally gasp for air.
In Hong Kong, I was immediately absorbed into an environment that is at a constant level of intensity and change. There is a fascinating dynamic of contrasts within the city. While living there I developed an awareness of the unpredictable influences that can quickly change everything overnight.
Living and working in Hong Kong is exciting. There are tremendous resources at your fingertips. Everything functions seamlessly. There is a rhythm to the constant current of millions of people, an intensity made up of people and cultures from all over the world blending together in this singularly contained vertical space.
Hong Kong is a powerhouse. The magnitude of daily activity in and out of the city is awe inspiring, and the dense coexistence of commerce and humanity is humbling. Building a business in Hong Kong is an introduction into a world of complimentary forces ultimately fueling the growth of a dynamic economy while being able to control it.
In Hong Kong I spent most of my time in the sky. My home and office were perched high up within this vertical arena. Occasionally, I landed on the ground in between. I made my home in an apartment that looked out into the heart of Hong Kong’s architectural marvels. It’s interesting how much your perceptions change depending on what floor you live on. You find yourself thinking acutely in three-dimensional terms. I could find serenity up high with a view of the city down below, or seek excitement down low right in the heart of it all.
Taxi rides in Hong Kong are a lesson in intensity. While you see your destination across the harbor in Kowloon, the apparent ease it takes to get there becomes irrelevant to the experience you are about to have. Getting there can be a ten-ticket ride. It starts with a series of twists and turns throughout the jungle maze of city streets. Often the driver will hit bursts of speed, yet suddenly and miraculously maneuver into the fastest traffic lane without event. Layer upon layer of gravity-pulling starts and stops brings you closer to your destination, then ten traffic lanes condense into two, and you disappear into a tunnel for a short break.
As you emerge from the quiet hum of the tunnel on the other side, the intensity kicks in again. Eventually, you learn to assert authority from the back seat and influence the outcome with your taxi driver – mastering the starts and stops of your experience while calmly enjoying crystallized ginger now and then. That was just one half of the daily commute.
Even Mother Nature throws intensity at you. My first test was a T10 Typhoon. I questioned my decision to live in a high-rise glass apartment building, set precariously into the edge of a cliff, which suspiciously swayed in the wind. I found myself debating whether the building was going to hold tightly to the hillside, or slide into the heart of the city. And yet we both stood up to it. Two years later, another impending T10 became an opportunity to relax at home with a glass of wine.
The “Art of Intensity” is the ability to stay focused and controlled while a dynamic environment swirls and shifts around you.
Hong Kong was where I discovered I could live my life as an adventure in the sky.
Hong Kong became an opportunity to experience heightened contrasts. It was a remarkably dense, diverse community I was fortunate to be a part of, and an ideal place to master skills in the “Art of Intensity.”
And Hong Kong is where my intense love of Szechuan food was born. The hotter, the better.