THE SHIFTING SCENE
EXT, as it turned
out, was Hong Kong, which for various reasons was to be my
headquarters for the next five years. And so, after a short holiday in
England I found myself once more in the Far East.
first concern after deciding to make Hong Kong my distributing center
was, of course, the renting of an office. It was, however, no easy
matter to secure suitable premises in the best business part of the
town because of the building restrictions which had been in force here
as elsewhere during the period of the war. Old buildings were coming
down on all sides and new ones were in course of rapid construction.
But as fast as these new offices were ready for occupation, the
well-to-do Cantonese snapped them up, preferring the security conferred
by British rule to the dangers of civil war, which just then threatened
the two provinces of Kwantung and Kwangsi.
week had nearly gone by without my being able to locate anything that
could be made to serve my purpose, even temporarily. I sat on the
verandah of my apartment at the Hong Kong Hotel, worn out with the heat
of the day and the toils of my quest. The boy who had just served me
with tea returned and announced that a Chinese man was below in the
hall who wished to see me on urgent business. I bade the boy bring the
man up. A knock at the door and there entered a burly Chinaman, dressed
in the long flowing coat of Chinese respectability. He was above medium
height, of powerful build and in the prime of life. From an
extraordinarily big head peeped remarkably intelligent eyes. His voice,
as he greeted me in good English, sounded deep and pleasant to the ear.
I received at once the impression of an unusual man,