For those of you who do not know, Hong Kong was once a dependent territory of the UK from 1842 until 1997 when sovereignty was transferred back to the People's Republic of China. Hong Kong is not considered as a part of Mainland China and remains a self-governing region; however defense and foreign affairs are under the jurisdiction of the PRC government. Hong Kong basically works democratically whereas the People's Republic of China remains very much communist.
Hong Kong is primarily made up of three areas: Kowloon, the New Territories, and Hong Kong Island. Real estate in Hong Kong is extremely expensive. Because of the lack of space, apartments and condos are the main living spaces and pricing can compare to that of regular housing in Canada and the USA. Only those of high wealth can usually afford a house (which in some cases can reach the millions).
There are a lot of Filipino's who work in Hong Kong, mostly employed as maids. I'm not quite sure why, but that's just the way it is. They work Monday to Saturday, and Sundays you may see them on the street insulting and bashing their employers. It's true; I've seen it (ahah!).
Hong Kong: en./wiki/HongKong
Names: In most Asian cultures, the surname is said before the given name. For example, Eliah's surname is Li, and her given name is Yan. (Li Yan)
She knew Boh was a wealthy man, but seeing his ridiculously sized house in Kowloon made her realize just how rich he was. He had several maids on hand, but they weren't as surprising as the number of men in suits on the property. Eliah was reluctant to get out of the car when Nicholas opened the door for her. There were just so many rough looking people; it made her feel so very uneasy. But it helped her become that "innocent" person.
She could only hope that Boh would fall for it.
Eliah sat patiently and quietly in the sitting area, looking around and admiring the large home. Nicholas sat next to her and was chatting away about how many rooms the house had and how he got lost sometimes but she didn't pay attention. She was memorizing every aspect of the home and immediately searched for escape routes.
They were served tea by one of the maids, a young Filipino woman that did her best to not anger her employers. Eliah noticed that the other women who worked here were doing their best to keep busy and not make eye contact with anyone. She felt guilty being treated like she was more important than others.
When Boh came down the massive staircase literally everyone stood in attention. Not one single body dared to move or seat before him. Eliah was slow but she stood up as well, feeling awkward with their hierarchy system. He wasn't alone though. Next to him was another elderly man who was speaking to him quietly. Trailing behind them was a couple of guys who probably their errand boys. Boh's expression was stern and no one made a sound to disturb him.
When his guest was escorted out, Boh turned to go back up the stairs. Nicholas began to say something but fought with himself whether or not to interrupt. The man behind Boh quickly tapped him on the shoulder and motioned towards Nicholas.
"Who's that?" Boh asked, motioning
Boh was dressed in an expensive ivory suit and was a clean cut man from head to toe. He was much larger than she had first expected. He was big; big in physic and strong in stature. He was well into his forties, but she could tell he was in good health.
"Boh-ge , this here is Eliah," Nicholas said.
There was a look of realization on his face and he whispered something to his second in command who nodded slightly and went up the stairs. Boh came down and put on a softened his face. "Hello, hello! It's nice to meet you! Come sit!"
When he shook her hand, she could feel the massive strength his fingers produced and she had no doubt in mind that he could break her in two.
"I'm Chen Boh and I believe my family is indebted to you." He sat, but the others didn't. Eliah felt so odd; she was definitely not used to their traditions even if it was out of respect but she had to be careful. He pointed a finger at her all the while grinning, "You are very brave, you know that? I was very impressed with what you did. What's your full name again?"
She jumped a little, remembering to not use her real surname. To him it seemed like she was super nervous which led him to ask, "Are you afraid?"
Eliah chuckled softly to herself and heaved a sigh. "A little. You're all so intimidating; who wouldn't be afraid?" She sat up straighter and looked at Boh straight in the eye. "My name is Eliah Li."
"Your Chinese name?"
"Well, Li-xiaojie, it's a pleasure." He grinned, revealing even white teeth against his fair complexion.
They talked. He asked the questions that she was prepared for. Where she was from, why she was here; she had her story ready. She had prepared for weeks before setting out to Hong Kong. Her story was somewhat true, but in certain spots, she had to lie in order to prevent him from finding out who she really was.
"You've been here a month and a half but you can't find work?" Nicholas exclaimed. "How are you surviving?"
Eliah kept her expression as sincere as possible and answered, "I had quite a bit saved up back home and when I came here I took everything with me. It's harder to find a job here than I thought it would be."
"Well, you can tutor my daughter."
She was shocked and she knew her face showed it. Her goal was to get the man to trust her and she had actually expected more of a challenge. There's no way I can be that lucky. "I beg your pardon?"
"I'm in need of a tutor for my ten year old and she hasn't liked any of the tutors I've gotten her so far. I'll be honest, they weren't very nice people and they were definitely not patient with her."
Eliah tried to make herself reluctant. "I really appreciate the offer, Chen-xiansheng, but I'm afraid I have to say no. I'm sure you are a good person, but there are some things that I would rather stay away from."
She heard Nicholas' breath cut short. She was nervous; her heart was pounding in her chest but she kept her voice and hands steady. She had just said no to a very powerful and cruel man. Boh stared at her for what felt like an eternity. He wouldn't take her decline in satisfaction. "Eliah, I know we have a bad reputation but how much can you trust of rumors that go through so many people? I will say that our business is our own and I keep my family away from it all, which in your case, you would be kept from it too."
His second in command overheard part of the conversation while coming back down the stairs. He protested, "Boh–ge , I don't believe Li-xiaojie has the capabilities to tutor Yue."
"When was it your place to decide for my daughter's well being, Jimmy?" Boh turned back to Eliah, erasing the frightening look of irritation from his face. He abruptly stood up and straightened his suit. Eliah followed quickly, afraid to be seated before him. He laughed. "Eliah, you don't have to follow the rules here like everyone else. You're not one of them, and they will remember that."
Eliah eventually agreed to tutur his six year old daughter, Chen Hui Yue. She almost couldn't believe her luck; she expected it to be much harder to get into the household. Still, she had to be extremely careful.
Chen Boh was seemingly kind but kept and iron fist over those who worked for him. Eliah met his young wife, Emily, who was not much older than her. They had Yue together, a shy and polite child whose face immensely lit up at the sight of her father. They truly seemed like a happy family.
But Eliah had learned to never judge a book by its cover.