hkvibes : The world of Suzie Wong

May 15, 2008
The world of Suzie Wong

Just finished reading The World of Suzie Wong. Waow. I first heard about this book while reading a blog about a fresh gweilo arriving in Hong Kong and seeing “Suzie Wongs” everywhere (sorry.. can’t find the link). Well this is not true, at least not true everywhere, for Suzie Wong is a prostitute, working at waterfront hotel Nam Kok, Wan Chai. The story depicts the unusual love relationship between Robert Lomax, a would-be English painter who flew to Hong Kong from SouthEast Asia and, once there, escaped from the gweilos’ living area and went to Wan Chai looking for an inspiring place to paint in (the Nam Kok hotel) and Suzie Wong, a mainland Chinese girl coming from Shanghai and who became a bar-girl at Nam Kok after having been a dance-hall girl elsewhere in Hong Kong. In this book, author Richard Mason describes 1950s Hong Kong’s daily life in a much realistic way, for he lived there in conditions similar to his main character’s. Dialogs are particularly well written, using approximative English for Suzie Wong’s sentences for example. Huge best-seller when being published in 1957 The World of Suzie Wong can still be found online and in most bookshops, in Hong Kong and elsewhere.

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