During our recent visit to Hong Kong I decided to get a new suit.
Hong Kong is of course famous for its tailors. Or at least, famous for the way its tailors stand out in the street touting their wares.
And it just so happened that our hotel was in the middle of a veritable tailor’s market. Convenient.
Every morning as we stepped outside we ran a gauntlet of well-dressed gentlemen handing us cards, describing the lovely suits and shirts they could make for us and stopping just short of physically manhandling us into their shops.
Over the course of the week we got to know them and they got to know us. Some stopped bothering us after a day or two. Others didn’t.
And one, let’s call him Lakshaman, was particularly persistent.
All this choice was intoxicating but in the end it was no choice at all. I went to Sam’s Tailor. Tailor to royalty. Tailor to the stars.
The shop walls were papered with photos of every celebrity you can think of. Each one was standing next to Manu (aka “Sam”), his measuring tape slung casually over his shoulder and a beaming smile on his face.
I tried on my new suit watched over by David Bowie, Tony Blair and George Bush Senior. I shook Manu’s hand and walked back to the hotel, proudly carrying my “Sam’s Tailor” suit bag.
And that was when I saw Lakshaman. He wasn’t happy. In fact, he took it quite personally.
“Every day I ask you if you want a suit! Every day you say no! And now here! Here you have gone to Sam’s! Why not me? What is wrong with my suits? Why do you insult me like this?”
And so on. And on. And on.
Every time I walked past him he would pick up where he last left off. After a day or two we both got a little tired of it. Around then he decided to abbreviate his tirades to simply calling me “Sam”.
I’ll be watching out for Lakshaman next time I’m in Hong Kong. Maybe I’ll even buy a suit from him.
I better. Or he’ll probably shank me at the airport.