It’s 8.35am on the sidewalk outside one of downtown Hong Kong’s big office towers. People stream past in both directions, joined by yet more pouring out of an MTR exit. It’s an electric-cattle-prod job getting the 20 feet from the road-side newsstand to the building’s lobby. As I’m halfway through the torrent of commuters gushing out from below ground level, a tall, lean, rugged-looking, 50-something, white male in a dark red flannel shirt (first impression: Indiana Jones) comes rising up the escalator to my left. He is holding a small leaflet aloft in his left hand, and before he even crosses the threshold of Central Station onto the street he starts to shout: “Rejoice! Rejoice!”
I thought they only did that in movies and comedy sketches.
He makes his way purposefully to the side of the steps where free-newspaper distributors and exceptionally absorbed viewers of hand-held devices can stand still, untouched by the surrounding human stampede. And he immediately launches into Amazing Grace, singing loudly and lustily, if not exactly tunefully. His native English is standard and clear and oddly un-regional; maybe the Holy Spirit’s gift of tongues is helping him to Go and Teach the Nations – convey the Word to a mixed but majority Cantonese audience who lack an ear for accents, and who are anyway hurriedly shuffling and jostling their way to their workplaces.
After elbowing my way through the onslaught of secretaries and accountants into the office block entrance, I glance back at the preacher. He is declaiming, as if possessed; hollering, shaking and gesticulating, staring into the heavens and then to the crowd flowing before and past him. Hundreds scurry by. Some vacantly stare ahead in numb anticipation of another day in the cubicle, some gawk at texts and others’ selfies on their phones, and some float along to the accompaniment of music from their iPods. Not a single one so much as perceives the valiant evangelist, who punches the air regardless, and demands that they listen and be saved.
“You will be my witnesses,” it says in Acts, “in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” It didn’t say: expect the entire swarm of eager, productive office-fodder surging along Queens Road Central to completely ignore you like you don’t even exist. I wonder how far he had come.
In case the proselytizer neglected to mention it, the weekend is declared open. How sweet the sound!
Maybe the preacher was a GMB owner rejoicing at the new $2 fares and massive handouts announced by CY!
I’ve seen people here ignore a drunk man harassing a young couple on the MTR, so a street preacher should be pretty easy.
Crazy gweilo ‘infused with the spirit’ is just one type. Other ‘types’ include the charasmatic foreign pastor, often an American, well dressed, very good at language, but full of bullshit or the zealot, usually Chinese, with a name like Linus or Job, who is fast raising cash for their latest brainwashing kibbutz/trip to the holy land. Within the same congregation are often very cute chinese girls, many of who see little connection between church as a social group and what may be ‘gospel values’ to live by. For quite a few, going to church and saying so is the most important thing.
Productive office workers?
god is not great – Christopher Hitchens
And speaking of evangelical BS:
Pardon my asking, but is “GMB” ?
Seems I missed something by ignoring CY’s wednesday speech entirely
Those pious souls running Sun Hung Kai might consider hiring him for the concrete Noah’s Ark folly of theirs.
Poor bugger won’t get an audience there either though because few go there once and no one goes there twice.
Did he mention that J.C. was a Jew…and that his god (if he existed…was likely Woddy Allen)…
…was he wearing special underwear (mormon)…
…and where is this place where one can elbow ones way through the onslaught of secretaries in central ?
ETP: GMB = green mini bus.