The Dazzler Of Tsim-Sha-Tsui
“Profit is sanity”, he said.
This man had his priorities exactly correct.
The single most entrepreneurial individual I’ve ever known. An excellent leader with a seemingly fanatical sense of focus.
He’s now cashed out and pursues freedom somewhere in Argentina.
But for six years he was my boss.
Not once did I see him wear a fine pair of shoes.
Not during my interview. Not during the company acquisition. Not when handing me my redundancy letter.
Not one single day.
Now, the self-made millionaire is free to wear unpolished and square-toed shoes. He enjoys more freedom than the wage-slave who spends his hours wearing a fine pair of Oxfords or the timeless brogue.
Nevertheless; good shoes are good shoes.
Dressed well, life is better.
Pleasing footwear is the anchor of one’s personal style. It is important.
Women know it. We can all feel it.
Our feet are our base. In good shoes you feel more responsive. Alert, ready to engage with the world. Precise, tactical even.
In choosing footwear of any kind, from formal leather work shoes, to sturdy hiking boots, even in hi-top canvas trainers it’s this intangible sense of ‘tacticalness’ that I am searching for.
The sense that I can move through the world more powerfully. Rooted to the earth with a tigerish sense of grace and aplomb.
Exactly a decade ago, to the day, I was walking through the heart of that intoxicating urban enclave Hong-Kong.
Tsim-Sha-Tsui, Mong-Kok, Victoria Peak, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay, Stanley. In no particular order, and all of them thronging with people.
Across the twelve days of tourist-ified walking, eating, drinking and sweating in public I must have encountered literally tens of thousands of people surging through the post-colonial grid of streets. Hongers, Mainlanders, Gweilos, suits, hawkers, grafters, beggars, crooks. I can only remember one in any detail.
I passed him for only a moment.
An otherwise unremarkable man wearing the most ordinary outfit; grey jeans and a sweater lighter vest. Clothes worn, verging on tatty.
His hair slick, skin greasy.
A blue collar worker of some sort. Interchangeable. Forgettable. Yet strolling with an unmistakeable sense of self-assuredness.
In that momentary glance we all cast when sizing up passing strangers, I realised the source of this mans power — he was wearing the most fantastically shiny pair of patent leather shoes.
The high lacquer gloss immaculate and shimmering. The linseed surface literally beaming the reflected glare of the roasting sub-tropical sun, fluid and alive.
It may be my imagination but I think I even had to shield my eyes briefly from the dazzlement.
Subsequently I’ve never been affected by a pair of shoes like those. Not in London, not in Shanghai, Seoul or Tokyo.
It’s not that I go looking for it especially, I’ve just never been literally dazzled by another individual’s shoes when going about my day to day business.
No one has come close to The Dazzler of Tsim Sha Tsui.
Mere sentiment or not, I wish him well!