Tuesday, September 28, 2004


It's mid-autumn festival in Hong Kong and lanterns are everywhere - ranging from the beautiful traditional paper variety to plastic, battery operated cartoon characters that light up and jiggle to the 'lambada'.

The festivities started for me on Saturday night when I went out for a dinner with Daisy's family. Her mum was leaving the following morning for their village in China and the dinner was their mid-autumn celebration together before she left.

Despite our struggle to communicate, Daisy's mum and I are becoming better friends by the day. After our orchid shopping trip a few weeks ago, she gifted me with a plant from their house. She's also been bragging to everyone on Saigon St about how neatly I fold my t-shirts.

I was very honoured to be invited to the dinner which was just me and the immediate family. Taking my cue from Daisy's mum I dressed up a little, not knowing where we were headed. It turned out that I needn't have bothered.

The restaurant we went to was close to home. Actually, I've been there twice before. Once when Daisy's aunt was visiting from China and a second time two weeks ago with Daisy, Nancy and my friend Y who was about to leave for Canada after being accepted as a refugee.

The mid-autumn meal was hot pot. It was only my second time and I still haven't become a hot pot lover. On Saturday, most of the items for cooking could be categorised as either fish or fungus. Accustomed as I am to rice and bread, a stomach full of fish and fungus felt kind of strange

But even stranger than the feelings in my stomach was the clientele. From geriatric grandparents to triad bosses, there seemed to be at least one person in each group yelling and thumping on the table. The men at the table next to us were engaging in an arm wrestling competition.

But I spotted the weirdest thing when I went to the bathroom. One family on the other side of the restaurant had brought their two pomeranians along for the meal. It might have been unremarkable except that the pomeranians were both seated on chairs like the rest of the family. I didn't notice whether they had plates in front of them.

Maybe Daisy's mum and I can take the orchids for a meal next time. In the meantime, I'm awaiting her return and enjoying the TWO! public holidays this week.

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