International Plaza Hot
International Plaza is a commercial building which has a mix of offices, apartments and retail shops.
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Beneath it all, there's always a human touch
When I first visited International Plaza to be interviewed for a part-time job, I was immediately overwhelmed by the seemingly tense atmosphere of the place - heels clicking against the cold marble floor like a metronome set to high speed; lift doors that waited for no man with its mercilessly quick shutting; shop owners operating like clockwork, barely glancing up as you walked by...it was as though one had entered a time vacuum, with no room for a hint of hesitation or the slightest sigh of a breath.
About a year into my part-time job at the building, I had never expected to find myself hooked onto its steady rhythms and the hidden warmth beneath its facade. What once seemed an overly defined pace of life now seemed an infectious, driving energy that ensured things got done by the close of each day. The once icy stall owners soon became more human as they gradually opened up to share their woes of exponential rental hikes. Their daily greetings of "Xiao Mei (little girl), back for work today?" never failed to make my day, and it always saddened me to see those familiar voices quietly replaced every now and then when rental costs squeezed them beyond their means.
Perhaps it is the knowledge that I would soon be ending my work assignment here that has caused me to harbour such strong feelings for the place of late. "There's nothing special here - except it's convenient with the shops and all," I remember a friend remarking when she came.
Nonetheless, I believe it's a place that holds much to be discovered - if you had the chance to look beyond its rigid exterior and uncover the touch of humanity that lies within.