and then while i’m away


In the year 2000 I spent approximately 7 months living in Hong Kong on a cruise ship perfuming in a cabaret show. I use the term “cruise ship” very loosely. Gambling itself is illegal in Hong Kong. Each night we would leave Hong Kong at about 8pm, hit international waters by 9pm at which point the casino doors would open. We would set sail into the South China Sea as far as it would take to then turn around, hit Hong Kong waters by 6am when the Casino doors would shut, and dock by 7am. The shows we provided were only ever if someone felt that they needed a break from a gambling table for forty minutes to watch a group of guilo performers jump about in garish costumes.

I never really got home sick. I had all day free off the ship, so spent a great deal of time living in the city itself. I loved Hong Kong immensely. But it was always nice to get reminders of home, particularly snail mail letters. There is something quite special about receiving an envelope that has international stamps on it and a Par Avion sticker. That tactile experience was always a great connection to home.

This is an piece of fan email that I sent to one funny bunny, Kaz Cooke.

Mon, 12 July 2000

Dear Kaz,

Who the hell am I?

I am an Aussie Actor/Singer/Dancer (preferably in that order) spreading joy amongst the misery throughout a cruise ship in Hong Kong.

Why am I writing to you?

Every Monday I buy the Saturday edition of the Sydney Morning Herald (delivered late here, in no way reflecting on the Fairfax corporation). Usually I can be found laughing heartily at your column in the Officer’s Mess. As soon as I open the paper I go to Spectrum and read your column (first) the Richard Glover (second, but please don’t tell him that as crying on a man has become unfashionable since the Hawke Government).

It is one of the few connections I have to home here in Hong Kong, and it makes me laugh and laugh and laugh.

I just wanted to say thanks.

Coming to you across the waves.

Troy Johnston


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s