Every first tuesday of the month, a bunch of story hungry friends sit down under a Wan Chai tree to exchange the weave and weft of the human soul. They sit down on old recycled tyres, wheels like whales beached on the pavement. And share…
I was passing by that tree one of these Tuesdays. The pull was too strong and I sat to listen at “The professor” to whom the audience was lending an ear religiously. Of course, it was all in Cantonese, and after a few minutes of ear tuning, I, the French Hong Konger was able to dive into his flow.
His story was one of remembrance, about a old horn comb given to him by his dad. Nostalgia was in his voice, a smile in his eyes as he ws reliving a childhood memory. It was a simple story. A boy and his dad, the value of a symbolic object. It could have faded into oblivion. But now, it was out in the (for once) quiet Wan Chai air and also belonged to us. It was present.
I was so amazed to be able to understand it all that I was caught by surprise when The Professor asked who was next on the Speaking Tyre. And even more when, I the only “white ghost” there, raised my hand to signify I’d be the one carry on.
I has to think fast… what story would I tell? It had to be one that I was pretty sure the audience never heard before and one that I cherished deeply. Lightbulb…. let me tell you about Kirikou, the story of amazing little boy in an African Village at the heart of the award winning animated feature by Michel Ocelot Kirikou and the sorceress.
Kirikou is born. Kirikou speaks. Kirikou wants to understand the world and why Karaba the sorceress is so evil. He goes out on an adventurous journey. In this tradionnal moral tale, the saviour of the village is a fast running baby, the wise grandfather bathed in a blue light and the evil one just someone in pain. It is well worth watching.
I finished telling and suddenly it was over. People clapped beyond the noise of a nearby bus. The professor asked” Who’s next? ” Could it be you?
The group gathers every first tuesday evening under the tree at the corner of Johnston road and Luard road. Think of it as a touch of humanity in the big city.