....Howard had alighted from the Star ferry terminal on the island, in the Central District of Hong kong, but rather than jump on a tram headed west, or hail a cab, he decided to walk to his destination.
He loved 'The Island' at night and, for him, walking was the best way to feel the vibrant city, to sense the energy that coursed through the streets like a river, always threatening to fulfill the promised dreams and desires that the population were so hungry for.
It was intoxicating.
And all you needed to do to achieve the dream, was go with the flow....
He noticed the modern bright shopping malls, as he walked. The ones that were exclaiming loudly and proudly, just how Louis Vitton, Prada, Tifanny, and Cartier was the final destination of the those promises offered. He also knew that they were catastrophically wrong with their predictions.
The masses, seemingly, did not see past the empty facade.
Howard was a realist when it came to economics and everything he'd seen belied the imminent eventuality of a total financial collapse. Here in Hong Kong, or in mainland China.
But a collapse there would be, of that he was certain.
He knew it was a issue of mathematics and not ideology, which decided the fate of nations.
The banking system was flawed. Debt was stratospheric , and exponential growth was still a reality in the minds of the deluded.
He was not deluded.
Unlike many of those who succeeded in life in Hong Kong, he was not remotely an authoritarian.
He detested a system that was shackled by the endless squabbling of politicians, and of wasteful bureaucracies.
He knew that this type of pointless system could end in one way only.
It was an inevitable conclusion of simple mathematics, and one in which the UK and many other Western countries, right now, were hopelessly mired and drowning in.
Centralization and the planned economies borne from it, never , ever, worked. (except for the top 1%, that is) Ideological arguments mattered not. It was always about the economics. It was always about human nature.
Centralized planners and social engineers had no idea about economics, for they had no idea about human nature.
He understood human nature very well.
The social engineers, with degrees coming out of every orifice, busily waving and pea-cocking them around in an attempt to confirm their own intelligence to anyone that would listen, thought that economics molded human behavior, and not the other way around.
'Never underestimate the dangers of ego, stupid, and authority, combined', Howard thought to himself as he walked through the near empty streets in between Central, and the Wanchai District.
'Ego and stupid was toxic mix, mostly presented as 'hope and intelligence', and one that never ended well for the vast majority of hard working people'.
Howard didn't linger and ponder on these thoughts, they were conclusions that he'd come to years before while living in Bangkok....
He'd spent a lot of time living in the hectic backpackers paradise, called Koh Sarn road. He'd spent months there, contemplating.
Nothing he'd witnessed since that time, had ever contradicted the conclusions that were formed back then in the hussle and bustle of that magnificent city.
His contemplation's were not conducted in some touristy Buddhist retreats.
While many a lost western soul seemed to love denying materialism and meat, as a way to achieve some offered nirvana, Howard did not.
No... his meditations were conducted while sat in the street bars day and night, drinking, and watching the real people hustle to make a living.
He watched the takers and the naive come together, and always with the one same outcome...
He watched numerous times - too many to count - how the 'new age traveler' would have their money taken off them, by gurus clad in 100% ecru cotton.
He'd watch the takers and the naive come together, and always with the one same outcome...
While he'd been living there, He'd also seen MacDonalds erecting a new poison distribution center at the far end of the Koh Sarn road.
Some called them restaurants, but he couldn't never bring himself to describe them as such.
Back then, MacDonalds, and the rest of the western debt machine, were moving forwards, gearing themselves up for an assault on South East Asia.
They were readying themselves to make a very svelte citizenry of 60 million people, very obese and ill.
Who needs agent orange, when you had happy meals?
Howard walked on, heading towards Wanchai, enjoying his own mind meanderings while taking in the sights and indulging himself in the past.
He was well aware that it was a luxury that he'd permitted himself, just for now.
He had some serious business to attend to...