Last night, I came back to where I am staying with a mission that I wanted to accomplish. It was something that has always been on the back of my mind. Well, there are quite a few – one thing at a time, step by step, day by day; hopefully I can get everything off my mind before my time comes.
Getting back to what I set to accomplish was I remember a distinct image of a view from the place where I grew up. This image, for some reason it never appeared during my studying days in the States, but it floated back into my memory when I was using drugs, when i was depressed, when I lost hope of life. At first, I thought it was my paranoia or my manic expressive behavior. While I’m at this, some say that I am crazy, a “schizophrenic” who did too much, completely off my face in my own tangent… I have lived with that view of how others see me. Soon, I ignored everything that surrounded me as I came to realize that the “schizophrenia” was merely panic attacks. I was in fear of how I was being treated every time when I was using. Especially when I have certain flashbacks of images and scenarios that was driven by fear, but eventually these images was no longer intimidating. Other more important issues came into light and all of a sudden, I have an urge to express these issues, views and images that presses on steadfastly.
Almost forgot, the view I had at where I lived as a kid. It was a view from the window of my mother’s room. I lived in Braemar Hill, the second to last block, on the 20th floor and it was a huge window that almost stretched across the room completely. I would usually sit or lay on the console cabinet top that reached the edge of the window. Why did I always sat there and stare out the window? If I looked down to the right, it was the driveway where cars enter or exit the garage. I usually would be done with my homework and with TV. I would patiently wait for my mother’s car, a white BMW 728i to drive pass and immediately I spark with attention, running to the kitchen telling Liza, our housekeeper “Mom’s Back! Mom’s Back!” I was full of excitement mostly from being hungry for dinner and sometimes I waited and waited – I was seriously hungry but it was ok to wait for mom to be home for dinner. When she approached the door with the rattling of keys or her high heels clacking on the tiles of the foyer, she enters the door and I would leap to hold her and I would burry my face on her dress or suit jacket and I could smell the stale scent of the corduroy from the car or it was the faint smell of the chemical on facsimile thermal paper.
On this note, I want to share this song, dedicated to my mom:
Because You Loved Me
You were my strength when I was weak; you were my voice when I couldn’t speak; you were my eyes when I couldn’t see; you saw the best there was in me; lifted me up when I couldn’t reach; you gave me faith coz you believed; I’m everything I am because you loved me.
Another view out of that window was I would stretch myself out on mom’s bed and looking straight out into the blue yet almost white sky because of the sunlight. On warm summer late afternoons, as the sun sets on the other end of the window, a magnificent band of warm oranges and yellows melting on the blue looking like a thick paint brush sweeping across the sky. An occasionally, there would be a few large birds with a long wingspan gliding in circles in front of the painted skyline. My eyes would follow the birds and they must be similar species as eagles because they kept going in circles and circles as I drift my imagination as one of them floating in air…
This next view from this window is probably an image I won’t be able to forget: it is Hong Kong’s old Kai Tak International Airport. The image is not so much of the actual terminal, it was the stretching of the long runway that diagonally spans from Kowloon City to almost Kwun Tong. I would be able to see its entire length with large boulders of the base sitting on the deep sea blue of Victoria Harbor.
My fascination of commercial aircrafts and airports began here. It also helped me in building my patience because I would began staring on aircrafts that were starting their descent on the other side of the window, far behind and above the Hong Kong Coliseum. Slowly reaching the red and white checkered sign on a small hill; each plane automatically drops one side of the wing and makes a sharp right angle turn; immediately with their landing gear in position and recomposes with the tail lowering first and touches down as it speeds across the runway; applying on the brakes and it slowly makes a turn to travel across the length of the runway…
It seems boring to most people. However, I make it a game for myself. The object of the game is to as quickly as I could to try to identify which airline’s aircraft that’s landing. Sometimes, I would also try to see if I know which aircraft type it is. The easiest to spot which airline was Korean Air from its toothpaste blue green livery, the green stripes of Cathay Pacific, the yellow emblem on black of Singapore Airlines, the purple and magenta on Thai Airways, the golden yellow on blue emblem of Lufthansa; and of course, the orange and blue tulip of United, whether it was the livery that had two stripes on the belly of the aircraft or the mysterious navy blue grey livery, I almost instantly can recognize the tulip from afar.
Not only the image of aircrafts, the sound of how the turbofan jet engines resonates through the air. The sound reflects and bounces off from the surrounding geography, it travels across the harbor and I would always know when it’s a Boeing 747 is landing.
As I am talking about aircrafts, I took notice of United in particular because it took care of my travel needs to and from the States as long as I recall, maybe Northwest too at that time. I suppose I started flying on Boeing 747-200’s as an infant and as I grew to love Boeing 747’s, it was United’s Boeing 747-400SP that I remember the most as I travelled at least twice a year to Hong Kong when I was back in the States for my studies.
All in all, there was one particular United aircraft that strikes my focus all the time when I look out at the airport. It wasn’t as big as a Boeing 747, it was tiny by comparison before my eyes as a scale in proportion. This particular aircraft had the navy blue grey livery. What’s interesting is as long as I stare at the airport, sometimes a quick glimpse or the entire morning till sunset, this small aircraft never moved it seems like. It’s always parked at the corner closer to the runway. No matter how I try to focus my sight on this plane to see if there’s any sign of movement, it never seemed to be parked in any other bays and its always there when I stare out. I was puzzled and as this image revives in these past couple of years, I try to cipher into getting to know what aircraft type it is – I gathered that it is most likely a Boeing 737. Knowing United flights out of Hong Kong at that time, I assumed it was probably a limited service to and from Singapore that tries to gather more passengers to be on transpacific flights to the US. Most recently, my thoughts kept asking how did a small aircraft that’s used for short and medium haul flights be ended up in Hong Kong, all by itself, left alone. I question myself how did it reach this port to begin with? Why would there be a regional aircraft of an American carrier be doing in a port in Asia? The more I think about it, the more it bothers me.
Photo Credit: obrazky.4ever.sk
Years have passed since i last saw the image if this aircraft. The airport moved to Chek Lap Kok and for some strange apparent reason, I still think of this aircraft. Sometimes it triggers me emotionally asking where did it go and where did it went? Did the plane ever find its way back to the US? How did it fly across the Pacific Ocean with its limited range? I kept searching on web, on every possible website. First, trying to find the flights of United out of Hong Kong, then trying to locate an image of the aircraft with a specific registration, trying to figure when was its last logged flight… None of the searches came back with an answer. Strange but true, I relate to this aircraft somehow and it feels to me that it never got home. I get terribly emotional when I think about it. I only hope that the aircraft somehow returned to US whether it’s still in service, retired or even if was scrapped… It should be home with rest of the United fleet.