Let us begin by introducing the characters you will meet throughout this work.
A retired art professor living in Hong Kong. He has written several obscure books on art history, but earns most of his
income translating technical documents from Chinese, English, and Japanese. He used to hide his homosexuality,
and even married once to satisfy his traditional parents beliefs that "unmarried men can’t be respected". However,
after his parents passed away, Wan-Sze divorced and he has gradually come to realize that there is no need to
apologize for his preferences. At the same time, he has gradually learned when to be candid and when to be strategically quiet.
An independent journalist working in Hong Kong, Nadia has published several books on the Russian language and cultural anthropology.
In her free time, she enjoys creating post-modern art, doing "hot yoga", and traveling to exotic destinations. In recent years, however,
she has become something of a workaholic. Several decades ago time she was romantically involved with Wan-Sze, but more recently she has
become jaded about all intimate relationships. She lives with two pet cats and never complains about their indulgent behaviors. Secretly,
she envies those cats: they never seem to worry about where their next meal will come from, and they keenly observe the world around them
when not napping.
A translator and manuscript editor for a minor publishing company in Hong Kong. When young, he majored in Indian philosophy, and spent
some time at a yoga ashram in northern India. Now he is skeptical about all attempts at nirvana and he spends most of his time in coffee shops,
drinking soy lattes while working on his computer. He has many friends in the LGBT community and has done what he calls "a good deal of
experimenting" but come to the conclusion that sex is largely a bit of nonsense that has little to do with love.
The son of a Syrian refugee and a British journalist, Kasim is now studying medical interpreting at the University of Hong Kong. He works p
art time at a coffee shop that Wang-Sze, Nadia and Will frequent. Sometimes when he is not studying or busy serving customers he joins their
conversation. Fluent in five languages, Kasim has become increasingly unsure of his identity. During his teens he identified as "Islamic"
but in recent years he has become disenchanted with all religions. Nonetheless, he also rejects Western materialism and dislikes the way so
many people in Hong Kong seemed obsessed about money. He seldom talks about his personal life. Most people regard Kasim as a paradox. He is
frustrated by the ways people try to stereotype him into various boxes. "I am myself," he replies, "Please do not burden me with any