਀㰀䴀䔀吀䄀 渀愀洀攀㴀䜀䔀一䔀刀䄀吀伀刀 挀漀渀琀攀渀琀㴀∀䴀匀䠀吀䴀䰀 㠀⸀  ⸀㘀  ㄀⸀㄀㤀 ㄀㤀∀㸀㰀⼀䠀䔀䄀䐀㸀 ਀㰀䠀㄀ 挀氀愀猀猀㴀∀挀一ⴀ栀攀愀搀椀渀最倀愀最攀 愀爀琀椀挀氀攀䠀攀愀搀椀渀最 瀀爀攀瀀攀渀搀ⴀ㔀 猀瀀愀渀ⴀ㄀㄀ 氀愀猀琀∀㸀刀椀挀栀 洀漀猀愀椀挀 漀昀 氀椀昀攀 椀渀 愀 洀漀搀攀爀渀 樀甀渀最氀攀 㰀⼀䠀㄀㸀
਀㰀䐀䤀嘀 挀氀愀猀猀㴀∀挀吀ⴀ猀琀漀爀礀䐀攀琀愀椀氀猀 挀昀椀砀∀㸀
Hamish Mcdonald
September 17, 2011 ਀㰀倀 挀氀愀猀猀㴀挀愀琀攀最漀爀礀㸀伀瀀椀渀椀漀渀㰀⼀倀㸀㰀℀ⴀⴀ㰀甀氀㸀 ⴀⴀ㸀㰀℀ⴀⴀ  ⴀⴀ㸀㰀⼀䐀䤀嘀㸀 ਀㰀䐀䤀嘀 挀氀愀猀猀㴀愀爀琀椀挀氀攀䈀漀搀礀㸀㰀℀ⴀⴀ 挀吀ⴀ椀洀愀最攀倀漀爀琀爀愀椀琀 ⴀⴀ㸀
<em>Illustration: Simon Letch</em> ਀㰀倀㸀㰀䔀䴀㸀䤀氀氀甀猀琀爀愀琀椀漀渀㨀 匀椀洀漀渀 䰀攀琀挀栀㰀⼀䔀䴀㸀 㰀⼀倀㸀㰀⼀䐀䤀嘀㸀

Think of anthropologists. You probably picture a spectacled, tropical-suited person out in the jungle risking poisoned arrows, the cooking pot or forced marriage to the chieftain's daughter in a quest to untangle the kinship patterns of some newly contacted tribe.

਀㰀倀㸀䤀渀搀攀攀搀Ⰰ 琀栀攀礀 甀猀攀搀 琀漀 戀攀 氀椀欀攀 琀栀愀琀⸀ 吀栀攀 愀爀挀栀攀琀礀瀀攀 眀愀猀 琀栀攀 最爀攀愀琀 倀漀氀椀猀栀ⴀ䈀爀椀琀椀猀栀 瀀椀漀渀攀攀爀 䈀爀漀渀椀猀氀愀眀 䴀愀氀椀渀漀眀猀欀椀Ⰰ 眀栀漀 甀猀攀搀 栀椀猀 琀椀洀攀 猀琀爀愀渀搀攀搀 椀渀 琀栀攀 吀爀漀戀爀椀愀渀搀 䤀猀氀愀渀搀猀 搀甀爀椀渀最 琀栀攀 䘀椀爀猀琀 圀漀爀氀搀 圀愀爀 昀漀爀 爀攀猀攀愀爀挀栀 琀栀愀琀 礀椀攀氀搀攀搀 戀漀漀欀猀 猀甀挀栀 愀猀 㰀䔀䴀㸀䄀爀最漀渀愀甀琀猀 漀昀 琀栀攀 圀攀猀琀攀爀渀 倀愀挀椀昀椀挀 㰀⼀䔀䴀㸀愀渀搀 㰀䔀䴀㸀吀栀攀 匀攀砀甀愀氀 䰀椀昀攀 漀昀 匀愀瘀愀最攀猀 椀渀 一漀爀琀栀ⴀ圀攀猀琀攀爀渀 䴀攀氀愀渀攀猀椀愀㰀⼀䔀䴀㸀⸀㰀⼀倀㸀

Gordon Mathews is one of a new breed venturing into modern jungles. He is professor of anthropology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he and his students have focused on a hulking building on the Kowloon Peninsula, where on any given night an amazing sample of humanity variously eat, sleep, buy and sell drugs, do business and have sex (commercial and otherwise).

਀㰀倀㸀䌀栀甀渀最欀椀渀最 䴀愀渀猀椀漀渀猀 氀漀漀洀猀 漀瘀攀爀 一愀琀栀愀渀 刀漀愀搀 愀琀 吀猀椀洀 匀栀愀 吀猀甀椀Ⰰ 搀椀爀攀挀琀氀礀 愀挀爀漀猀猀 昀爀漀洀 琀栀攀 倀攀渀椀渀猀甀氀愀 䠀漀琀攀氀Ⰰ 眀栀攀爀攀 琀栀攀 眀漀爀氀搀✀猀 眀攀愀氀琀栀礀 猀琀愀礀 愀渀搀 搀椀渀攀 戀攀琀眀攀攀渀 猀栀漀瀀瀀椀渀最 愀琀 琀栀攀 栀椀最栀ⴀ攀渀搀 猀琀漀爀攀猀 漀昀 漀琀栀攀爀 洀愀氀氀猀⸀㰀⼀倀㸀

Built in 1961 as the district's first high-rise building, it quickly became a rabbit warren of small shops, restaurants and cheap guesthouses, taking over many of the apartments in the three 15-storey towers rising from its two-storey podium.

਀㰀倀㸀一愀爀爀漀眀 氀椀最栀琀眀攀氀氀猀 瀀椀攀爀挀攀 琀栀攀 琀漀眀攀爀猀⸀ 䰀漀漀欀椀渀最 搀漀眀渀 琀栀攀洀 椀猀 氀椀欀攀 ✀✀猀琀愀爀椀渀最 椀渀琀漀 栀攀氀氀✀✀Ⰰ 愀挀挀漀爀搀椀渀最 琀漀 漀渀攀 瘀椀猀椀琀漀爀⸀ 夀漀甀 眀愀椀琀 昀椀瘀攀 琀漀 ㄀  洀椀渀甀琀攀猀 昀漀爀 漀渀攀 漀昀 琀栀攀 琀椀渀礀 氀椀昀琀猀⸀ 吀栀攀 猀琀愀椀爀眀攀氀氀猀 愀爀攀 漀昀琀攀渀 戀氀漀挀欀攀搀⸀ 䤀渀 洀愀渀礀 漀昀 琀栀攀 㤀  猀洀愀氀氀 栀漀琀攀氀猀Ⰰ ✀✀琀栀攀 猀氀攀攀瀀攀爀 渀攀瘀攀爀 欀渀漀眀猀 眀栀攀琀栀攀爀 椀琀 椀猀 渀椀最栀琀 漀爀 搀愀礀✀✀Ⰰ 䴀愀琀栀攀眀猀 猀愀礀猀⸀ 䘀椀爀攀 椀猀 愀 挀漀渀猀琀愀渀琀 眀漀爀爀礀⸀㰀⼀倀㸀

The building has a reputation as ''a heart of darkness'' where the innocent can disappear. ''As you enter the building, if you are Chinese, you may feel like a member of a minority group and wonder where in the world you are,'' he writes. ''If you are white, you might instinctively clutch your wallet while feeling trepidation and perhaps a touch of First World guilt. If you are a young woman, you may feel … a hundred pairs of male eyes gazing at you.''

਀㰀倀㸀䌀栀甀渀最欀椀渀最 䴀愀渀猀椀漀渀猀 栀愀猀 愀 猀攀攀搀礀 栀椀猀琀漀爀礀Ⰰ 焀甀椀挀欀氀礀 戀攀挀漀洀椀渀最 愀 爀攀渀搀攀稀瘀漀甀猀 昀漀爀 䄀洀攀爀椀挀愀渀 猀漀氀搀椀攀爀猀 漀渀 氀攀愀瘀攀 昀爀漀洀 嘀椀攀琀渀愀洀 眀椀琀栀 氀漀挀愀氀 猀攀砀 眀漀爀欀攀爀猀Ⰰ 琀栀攀渀 琀甀爀渀椀渀最 椀渀琀漀 愀 昀氀漀瀀栀漀甀猀攀 昀漀爀 圀攀猀琀攀爀渀 愀渀搀 䨀愀瀀愀渀攀猀攀 栀椀瀀瀀椀攀猀 椀渀 琀栀攀 ㄀㤀㜀 猀Ⰰ 眀栀攀渀 搀爀甀最ⴀ 愀渀搀 最漀氀搀ⴀ猀洀甀最最氀椀渀最 渀攀琀眀漀爀欀猀 眀攀爀攀 瀀愀爀琀 漀昀 琀栀攀 猀挀攀渀攀⸀㰀⼀倀㸀

More recently it's been relatively crime free, thanks to the plentiful private security guards and cameras sprinkled around the building (often helping the many illegal workers escape immigration raids). What has become more noticeable is the large fixed and transient population from South Asia and Africa. The building has become ''an alien island of the developing world lying in Hong Kong's heart'', thus raising these fears of ''the other''.

਀㰀倀㸀䈀甀琀 椀琀 椀猀 琀栀攀猀攀 渀攀眀 椀渀栀愀戀椀琀愀渀琀猀 愀渀搀 琀栀攀椀爀 戀甀猀椀渀攀猀猀 琀栀愀琀 最椀瘀攀 䴀愀琀栀攀眀猀✀猀 渀攀眀 戀漀漀欀 漀渀 䌀栀甀渀最欀椀渀最 䴀愀渀猀椀漀渀猀 椀琀猀 椀洀瀀漀爀琀愀渀挀攀 愀渀搀 椀琀猀 琀椀琀氀攀Ⰰ 㰀䔀䴀㸀䜀栀攀琀琀漀 愀琀 琀栀攀 䌀攀渀琀爀攀 漀昀 琀栀攀 圀漀爀氀搀㰀⼀䔀䴀㸀⸀ 吀栀攀 戀甀椀氀搀椀渀最 椀猀 琀栀攀 挀攀渀琀爀攀 漀昀 愀 琀爀愀搀椀渀最 渀攀琀眀漀爀欀 漀昀 最氀漀戀愀氀 椀洀瀀漀爀琀愀渀挀攀Ⰰ 漀渀攀 眀攀 猀栀漀甀氀搀 愀瀀瀀爀攀挀椀愀琀攀 昀漀爀 琀栀攀 昀愀爀ⴀ爀攀愀挀栀椀渀最 挀栀愀渀最攀猀 戀攀椀渀最 眀漀爀欀攀搀 椀渀 琀栀攀 昀漀爀洀攀爀氀礀 ✀✀搀愀爀欀✀✀ 愀爀攀愀猀 漀昀 椀渀琀攀爀渀愀琀椀漀渀愀氀 挀愀瀀椀琀愀氀椀猀洀⸀㰀⼀倀㸀

Mathews estimates, from adding up the sales volume of individual mobile phone shops (totalling 1.6 million handsets a month when he did his research three years ago), that at least 20 per cent of the mobiles in use in sub-Saharan Africa have passed through Chungking Mansions.

਀㰀倀㸀✀✀䰀漀眀ⴀ攀渀搀 最氀漀戀愀氀椀猀愀琀椀漀渀Ⰰ✀✀ 䴀愀琀栀攀眀猀 挀愀氀氀猀 椀琀⸀ ✀✀䤀琀 椀猀 渀漀琀 琀栀攀 愀挀琀椀瘀椀琀椀攀猀 漀昀 䌀漀挀愀ⴀ䌀漀氀愀Ⰰ 一漀欀椀愀Ⰰ 匀漀渀礀Ⰰ 䴀挀䐀漀渀愀氀搀✀猀 愀渀搀 漀琀栀攀爀 栀甀最攀 挀漀爀瀀漀爀愀琀椀漀渀猀 眀椀琀栀 琀栀攀椀爀 栀椀最栀ⴀ爀椀猀攀 漀昀昀椀挀攀猀Ⰰ 戀愀琀琀攀爀椀攀猀 漀昀 氀愀眀礀攀爀猀 愀渀搀 瘀愀猀琀 愀搀瘀攀爀琀椀猀椀渀最 戀甀搀最攀琀猀⸀ 䤀渀猀琀攀愀搀 椀琀 椀猀 琀爀愀搀攀爀猀 挀愀爀爀礀椀渀最 琀栀攀椀爀 最漀漀搀猀 戀礀 猀甀椀琀挀愀猀攀Ⰰ 挀漀渀琀愀椀渀攀爀 漀爀 琀爀甀挀欀 愀挀爀漀猀猀 挀漀渀琀椀渀攀渀琀猀 愀渀搀 戀漀爀搀攀爀猀 眀椀琀栀 洀椀渀椀洀愀氀 椀渀琀攀爀昀攀爀攀渀挀攀 昀爀漀洀 氀攀最愀氀椀琀椀攀猀 愀渀搀 挀漀瀀礀爀椀最栀琀猀⸀✀✀㰀⼀倀㸀

Traders come from South Asia and increasingly from Africa to Chungking Mansions, because everything is there. Hong Kong gives visa-free entry to people from most countries, with varying lengths of stay. They can stay for little money in a guest-house upstairs, eat African food in one of the unlicensed diners and sip ''tears of the lion'' (Indian-made whisky in Styrofoam cups) with their friends at a grocery downstairs. National enmities are set aside in the pursuit of wealth. Occasionally one gets lucky and finds a local girl who will agree to marry him, ensuring Hong Kong residency.

਀㰀倀㸀䘀爀漀洀 䌀栀甀渀最欀椀渀最 䴀愀渀猀椀漀渀猀 琀栀攀 琀爀愀搀攀爀猀 昀愀渀 漀甀琀 椀渀琀漀 挀攀渀琀爀攀猀 椀渀 䌀栀椀渀愀 猀甀挀栀 愀猀 䜀甀愀渀最稀栀漀甀✀猀 吀椀愀渀砀椀甀 䈀甀椀氀搀椀渀最 漀爀 匀愀渀礀甀愀渀氀椀 愀爀攀愀Ⰰ 栀漀洀攀 琀漀 琀栀攀 挀椀琀礀✀猀 ㈀ Ⰰ    䄀昀爀椀挀愀渀 爀攀猀椀搀攀渀琀猀Ⰰ 琀漀 琀栀攀 瘀愀猀琀 眀栀漀氀攀猀愀氀攀 洀愀爀欀攀琀 漀昀 夀椀眀甀Ⰰ 椀渀氀愀渀搀 昀爀漀洀 匀栀愀渀最栀愀椀Ⰰ 漀爀 琀栀攀 䬀愀洀 吀椀渀 搀椀猀琀爀椀挀琀 椀渀 䠀漀渀最 䬀漀渀最 椀琀猀攀氀昀Ⰰ 眀栀攀爀攀 琀栀攀 琀攀爀爀椀琀漀爀礀✀猀 搀攀爀攀最椀猀琀攀爀攀搀 挀愀爀猀 愀爀攀 樀甀渀欀攀搀 昀漀爀 猀瀀愀爀攀猀⸀ 吀栀攀 最漀漀搀猀 戀爀椀渀最 愀 㘀  瀀攀爀 挀攀渀琀 瀀爀漀昀椀琀 戀愀挀欀 椀渀 一椀最攀爀椀愀Ⰰ 琀栀漀甀最栀 栀愀氀昀 洀甀猀琀 最漀 椀渀 戀爀椀戀攀猀⸀㰀⼀倀㸀

Decrepit as it is, Chungking Mansions is too big to redevelop profitably. Chinese centres lure away traders, but once deposits are paid, contracts in China are as worthless as ''toilet paper'' - delivered shoes are too small for African feet, mobile phones quickly fail. Far better to fall back on the enforceable contracts of Hong Kong.

਀㰀倀㸀匀漀 椀琀 挀漀渀琀椀渀甀攀猀 琀漀 栀攀氀瀀 瀀甀琀 䄀昀爀椀挀愀 ✀✀漀渀 琀栀攀 洀愀瀀 愀最愀椀渀✀✀Ⰰ 挀漀渀渀攀挀琀椀渀最 琀栀攀 漀甀琀瀀甀琀 漀昀 䌀栀椀渀愀✀猀 昀愀挀琀漀爀椀攀猀 琀漀 䄀昀爀椀挀愀渀 挀漀渀猀甀洀攀爀猀 愀琀 愀昀昀漀爀搀愀戀氀攀 瀀爀椀挀攀猀⸀ ✀✀䌀栀甀渀最欀椀渀最 䴀愀渀猀椀漀渀猀 爀攀瀀爀攀猀攀渀琀猀 愀 䜀爀愀渀搀 䌀攀渀琀爀愀氀 匀琀愀琀椀漀渀 椀渀 琀栀攀 瀀愀猀猀愀最攀 漀昀 最氀漀戀愀氀椀猀攀搀 最漀漀搀猀 昀爀漀洀 䌀栀椀渀愀 琀漀 琀栀攀 搀攀瘀攀氀漀瀀椀渀最 眀漀爀氀搀 愀琀 氀愀爀最攀Ⰰ✀✀ 䴀愀琀栀攀眀猀 猀愀椀搀⸀㰀⼀倀㸀

Hong Kong is perhaps the only part of the rich world that pursues neo-liberalism to the extent of free movement of people. Most of the traders coming to Chungking Mansions would be turned back if they arrived without visas at the borders of countries like Australia. It's a building of the global periphery within a city of the rich core, an isolated experiment.

਀㰀倀㸀䄀猀 䴀愀氀椀渀漀眀猀欀椀 眀爀漀琀攀㨀 ✀✀吀栀攀爀攀 愀爀攀 渀漀 瀀攀漀瀀氀攀猀 栀漀眀攀瘀攀爀 瀀爀椀洀椀琀椀瘀攀 眀椀琀栀漀甀琀 爀攀氀椀最椀漀渀 愀渀搀 洀愀最椀挀⸀ 一漀爀 愀爀攀 琀栀攀爀攀Ⰰ 椀琀 洀甀猀琀 戀攀 愀搀搀攀搀 愀琀 漀渀挀攀Ⰰ 愀渀礀 猀愀瘀愀最攀 爀愀挀攀猀 氀愀挀欀椀渀最 椀渀 攀椀琀栀攀爀 琀栀攀 猀挀椀攀渀琀椀昀椀挀 愀琀琀椀琀甀搀攀Ⰰ 漀爀 椀渀 猀挀椀攀渀挀攀Ⰰ 琀栀漀甀最栀 琀栀椀猀 氀愀挀欀 栀愀猀 戀攀攀渀 昀爀攀焀甀攀渀琀氀礀 愀琀琀爀椀戀甀琀攀搀 琀漀 琀栀攀洀⸀✀✀ 吀漀搀愀礀 栀攀 眀漀甀氀搀 挀爀攀搀椀琀 栀椀猀 ✀✀猀愀瘀愀最攀✀✀ 猀甀戀樀攀挀琀猀 漀昀 猀琀甀搀礀 眀椀琀栀 琀栀攀 挀漀洀洀攀爀挀椀愀氀 椀洀瀀甀氀猀攀 琀漀漀⸀㰀⼀倀㸀

Ghetto at the Centre of the World is published by University of Chicago Press.