Cowboy erhu

I was headed to the gym last night, at the Millenium City Club in beautiful downtown Kwun Tong. From the bus stop where I alight from Kowloon Motor Bus #17, I need to cross under Kwun Tong Road via a pedestrian subway. As I came down the stairs from the street, and turned into the subway tunnel itself, I heard the unearthly sound of an erhu, a traditional Chinese stringed instrument played with a bow; it looks like an anorexic cello. I spotted the musician, a blind man in his 60s, crouched up against the tile wall. This is pretty normal stuff in Hong Kong.

But then I realized I was singing to myself:

Come and sit by my side, oh my darlin';
Do not hasten to bid me adieu;
Just remember the Red River Valley;
And the cowboy who loved you so true.

Yon erhu-wielding busker was playing, straight out of the lonesome prairie circa 1896, one of the definitive American cowpoke classics. Where on earth did he learn it? Where else but Hong Kong would you hear such a thing?