Question: What do you call men with combovers in Thailand?
Now why didn't I think of that... (thanks to my colleague in Thailand who enlightened me). Apparently it's a term first coined by the Japanese, who refer to men with combovers as 'barcode dudes'. Love it!
It's been a while since I came across something worth blogging about, but we can all thank the psycho lady who was in the line to buy tickets on Sunday for The Peacock, a dance performance by Chinese dancer and choreographer Yang Liping.
The show was held over Easter weekend at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre and completely sold out, but a limited number of tickets were being released every morning of each show (10am). I arrived at 9:05am on Sunday and there were already 25+ people ahead of me(!).
Anyway, the line was pretty civil until around 9:30am when I heard a woman shrieking, "Shut-up, shut-up, shut-up!!" in a Mandarin accent. In the next few minutes I also heard her shout a few English words like, "No respect, si-tu-pid, Im-a tee-cha!!" and even "Faak-u!!"
Turns out it was a middle-aged Chinese woman sitting on the floor in the queue, about the 10th person in line, and she was verbally assaulting an elderly Hong Kong Chinese granny who was a few people in front of her.
She was saying horrible things like, "You greedy bitch, why are you taking so many pamphlets, why don't you take 100?!!" and "You're such an old bitch, that's why your sons and daughters and grandsons don't even come to see the show with you, and that's why you're in this line alone!!"
Eventually the old granny left the queue to get some space, and the HK Cultural Centre staff went to apologise to her on the lady's behalf.
After that, things escalated as the woman started picking on other people, shouting things like, "I didn't see you in line at 7am, don't cut in line you asshole, I was here at 7am, not you! That stool was green before and now it's pink, I remember clearly! What are you, a magician?!!" and on and on it went.
One woman challenged her back and said she was just in line to buy one ticket for her mom, and the psycho lady screamed back, "Your mom is DEAD, if you manage to get a ticket your mom is DEAD, in fact, she's already DEAD!!" and that made things even worse (it's pretty much universal that when you mess with someone's mom, you've crossed the line).
Someone eventually challenged her to call the cops, and that's exactly what the psycho lady did, reporting to the police that there were people cutting the queue and she wanted them arrested. When the cops came 15 minutes later, the psycho lady stepped out of the queue to point out the queue-cutters, but it became quite obvious to them who was the real problem.
At first, the police officers were polite with the psycho lady, until they asked for her HKID and she realised that she was being targeted, not the others. She proceeded to scream at the cop, "You're never going to get a promotion, you useless cop!! Screw you, screw you, hope your entire family dies!!!"
At that point, the cops finally realised they needed to get her out of the box office area, as she was making everyone uncomfortable, so the guy cop yelled in her face, "I TOLD YOU TO GO OVER THERE!!" to which she just screamed back in a sobbing voice, "NO, NO, NO!!!" over and over.
So, there she was, screaming her crazy head off, surrounded by HK Cultural Centre "security" staff and two police officers, and NO ONE is laying a finger on her. The cop tells the security staff to grab her and pull her to the side, but they don't dare, and neither does the cop. Eventually, they gang up on her and sort of block her from the box office like a human wall.
When the box office opens at 10am, she rushes to the front of the line and attempts to buy tickets, and people in the line start shouting, "Line up, you bitch!" and "Eat shit, bitch!!" She doesn't respond and is again blocked off by the security people.
She screams and curses the whole time while the line moves, and when she sees the woman who was behind her in the queue get up to the box office, she freaks out and shouts, "I WAS BEFORE HER, I WAS BEFORE HER!!!! NO NO NO, IT'S MY TURN NOT HERS!!" So the frightened lady scurries back in line, and get this -- the cops and security actually let the psycho lady through to BUY TICKETS to the show!
She gives the lady behind her a thumbs up and then orders her tickets, and when she is told that the HK$480 tickets are all sold out, she turns around and says "FUK YOU, THEY DON'T HAVE ANY LEFT AT 480 NOW, FUK YOU!!" while giving the middle finger to the security guards.
Finally, she gets her tickets and leaves the box office counter, followed by her entourage of security personnel and police officers, and she goes towards the end of the queue, shouting, "I'm going to talk to BBC, CCTV, Mingpao, I want a lawyer! I want a doctor!! I'm going to tell everybody!!" And then, she GETS BACK IN LINE for a second round!! There, it all starts again as she starts screaming intermittently at anything and anyone, and the police officers have left the building.
Does anyone see a problem with this!? To be honest, I believe that this woman has a serious mental illness, so she shouldn't be held responsible for her horrible behaviour, but she does need to be controlled (read: thrown out of the building and not allowed to buy tickets to the show!) Given her level of psychosis, what if she made the same fuss at the actual performance?
The security personnel even said that she was there the day before, doing exactly the same thing, and no doubt she was there again on Monday morning to disturb the peace while getting another pair of tickets to the show again.
And what's with the no-touching policy when you're a security personnel? What's your purpose if you aren't maintaining the peace or protecting the general public from potential dangers (ie. her)?!
In the US, she'd have been given a warning and then physically thrown out if she didn't behave. In Canada, well, we would have asked nicely and probably escorted her out of the building while apolgising profusely. But Hong Kong? You've got to be kidding me!
P.S. For those who are interested, Yang Liping is an amazing Chinese dancer known for the peacock dance. I've never seen anything like it, here she is doing the Moon dance:
P.P.S. I did get some video of the psycho lady, but after hours of failed editing, it's really not worth posting. If anyone has a good rec on an Android video editing app, please share!
P.P.P.S. Okay so I did eventually edit the video but it's all sorts of messed up (can't rotate video, for instance) but if you're interested, view it here!
Confession: I'm a horrible Chinese. It's four days from Chinese New Year and I still haven't cleaned or decorated my home!! (Half of that's because I'm not really sure how to -- yup, I'm kinda clueless.)
I know we need to have fresh flowers in the home since they represent 'new birth and regrowth' in the new year, but which ones should I get? If you're having the same dilemma as me, here's a quick guide to some of the most popular choices:
What they do: Help you live longer; give single people hope.
Why: The blossoms symbolise growth, prosperity, long life and romance.
Where to put it: In the oldest and nicest porcelain vase you have -- it's believed that the older the vase, the longer the flowers will bloom.
What it does: Make the money roll in.
Why: Gumgut (in Cantonese) is a pun for gold (gum) and good fortune (dai gut).
Where to put it: In doorways.
What it does: Make you rich.
Why: Its yellow and white flowers represent gold, silver and wealth. Plus, they smell good.
Where to put it: In a shallow dish with smooth pebbles and filled with water.
What they do: Bring luck and good fortune.
Why: Known as the 'flower of riches and honour' in Chinese, they symbolise feminine beauty, love and affection. Red ones are most popular for CNY.
Where to put it: Anywhere that looks good!
What they do: Bring money in (surprise!)
Why: The Chinese name 'yin liu' means 'silver willow', which sounds like 'money flowing in'. If they bloom during the first 15 days of CNY, you've hit the jackpot!
Where to put it: In a container of water at room temperature in a cool, shaded area.
Other popular flowers include orchids, lilies, azalea, sunflowers, and pretty much every flower under the sun (except roses, I think). For more on CNY flowers, check out this handy guide.
I love watching Apple Daily's action news videos for two reasons: they're super sensational, and they use silly Cantonese slang to report (as opposed to serious news anchor talk that I can barely understand). My understanding of formal Cantonese is pretty crap, and to be honest, I don't always catch everything that's said on Apple Daily action news either, so the animated bits definitely help a lot.
The other day, I watched this video about the Moon Cup in Hong Kong, which is a reusable menstrual cup that gets put inside a girl's you-know and collects you-know-what during that time of month. The reporter went around town asking for ladies' opinions of it and as expected, most were grossed out.
Moon Cup: available in candy colours!
Then, they asked a medical expert for HIS opinion and I couldn't believe my eyes/ears. Here's what I thought I heard he said:
"Hong Kong girls and Chinese girls -- when we stick one finger in [their hoo-ha] to examine them, they can usually accept this. But when we stick two fingers in, it already hurts. So, you can see that this [Moon Cup] is already bigger than my two fingers, and if you try to force it in, not all women will be able to accept this. "
I watched the video a few more times to see if I heard him right. And I did hear right!! So, is he saying that Hong Kong and Chinese women can't accept (and have never had) anything larger than one finger down there...?? And that's why they can't use the Moon Cup? Umm...riiiiiight. Sounds like bullshit to me! Or that's just really sad.
You know that idiot who rushes into the MTR at the very last second when the doors are going doot-doot-doot-doot-doot and gets caught right in between, forcing the doors to bounce back open and the entire MTR train to stall, not to mention all the other trains behind it?
...yup. That was me. :/
I never thought it would be, but I blame my super sound-proof earbuds from Samsung and a particularly juicy email I was reading on my phone. As usual, I was following a massive crowd into the MTR, with no clue of how many seconds had passed since the doors had first opened, and before I knew it, I was being violently shoved to the left and squished in between the two platform doors.
What's worse -- my middle finger (which happens to be the longest part of me when squished, good to know) was caught in the actual MTR doors, and I can only imagine what the people on the inside were thinking as they stared at my lone finger poking through.
Time stood still as I wondered whether anyone would notice that I was stuck, and whether the train would suddenly take off with my middle finger (hopefully not as it's got my favourite ring on it!). It was a little like being Hans Brinker -- you know, the Dutch boy who plugged a leaky dam with his finger -- only I was clogging up the MTR trains with mine.
The whole time, I made sure to avoid eye contact and keep a blank expression on my face as if nothing strange was happening (the way a true Hong Konger would) until finally, the doors sprung back open and I was freeeee!!!
PS. For anyone wondering what it feels like to be squished by the MTR doors, they're actually much stronger than they look! Don't expect them to be like elevator doors that spring open at the lightest touch -- these doors can and will probably crush old people with osteoporosis (so drink your milk, kids!). I got two giant bruises on both arms after this incident, so watch out! :(
In my ongoing quest to become more Chinese, I'm picking up my Canto-learning again, one step at a time. That means listening to more Cantopop on KKBOX (reading lyrics really helps) and taking note of any interesting phrases I come across.
One of them is 海皮 -- "hoi pei", which means sea shore. I first heard it when taxi drivers would ask me if I wanted to go home via the highway or the "hoi pei", and it's never not sounded funny to me.
In my head, I just can't help visualizing it as literally the "ocean skin" since "海" means ocean and "皮" means skin. Am I crazy?? To be fair, "ocean skin" is a super accurate description of the sea shore as the "skin" can be anything from sandy and bumpy to smooth and layered.
To use this word, simply tell your taxi driver, "NO highway, YES hoi-pei!" Other suggestions welcome!
For some reason, seeing Hong Kong celebs always kicks my heart rate up a notch, especially the ones that I grew up watching in movies or TVB back in Canada.
Since moving to HK, I've personally met (read: turned into a goofy fangirl in front of) Adam Cheng, Donnie Yen, Moses Chan and Simon Yam, just to name a few, and while most of these sightings were through work, I've also been running into quite a few celebs on my own too.
Like, I've had breakfast with TV show host Egg, seen Cantopop singer Lui Fong buy Taiwanese fried chicken before dashing back into his car, watched one of the Grasshoppers drive by on Queen's Road Central, bumped into Bernice Liu at a concert and walked past the one-and-only Chow Yun Fat (disguised as a homeless man) in Central. What can I say, Hong Kong is small.
But, my most recent sighting was completely unexpected when I ran into Mr. Good Hair himself, Ekin 'Noodle' Cheng at a random high-end lifestyle store, where it was just him and his wife in the store with us.
At first, I tried to play it cool by pretending I didn't notice nor know him, but as the minutes passed and all these Ekin-scenes started to flash through my mind, I couldn't help but succumb to my fangirl-dom and ask for a picture (correction: I was so nervous that CC had to ask for me!).
How awkward ... as I stood in between him and his wife for a photo. Those seconds felt like minutes as we stood side-by-side, careful not to make any physical contact.
To make matters worse, I actually turned to Ekin and blurted out, "You look like my dad!" To which he replied, "Really?" (NO... not really.. I have no idea why I said that...Sorry Ekin!!)
Ahhh, so embarrassing. But hopefully, others have said worse things. Right?? RIGHT?? OK, maybe not. But anyhoo... This incident got me thinking about what I should do the next time I run into a celeb, like... maybe say hi first, make some small talk (about their latest work, favourite movie, how amazing they are, what they are wearing, what they are doing today, NOT how much they look like my dad -- no offense, Dad), and then...ask for a pic.
Of course, I'm assuming that my brain will be working logically at that time, which in all likelihood it won't, so what the hell, "Hey!! Can I have a picture?" it is!
I've never been big on Chinese New Year -- sure, I buy my ONE zodiac animal fook sign each year and hang it on my front door -- but I usually don't make much of an effort to follow any of the other traditions that you're supposed to do before, during and after(?) CNY. What can I say, I'm a phony Chinese…(otherwise known as a Canadian-Chinese, haha ;)
This year is a different story though, as I've been getting totally worked up about everything CNY, including the flower fair, the different laisee packet designs, red and gold this and that, traditional costumes, superstitions, calendars, etc.!
It must be because I've been working on a special project for the Asia Society Hong Kong Center (that you should definitely hit up if you're in town) -- the Chinese New Year Family Day this Sunday, Feb 3!
I'd go if I could, but I'm off to be "reunited" with my family in Canada (seee, one CNY tradition fulfilled), so I'll be missing out on the God of Fortune, lion and ribbon dances, Chinese puppet shows, Cantonese opera, CNY food galore, silk knotting, paper dragon making, shaolin demos, story telling and the chance to dress up as little emperors and empresses -- how cute!
It's technically for kids but I'm sure they won't mind a few bigger kids running around, and when you're there, don't forget to take a look at some of the artwork around the event (drawn by yours truly)!
There's a reason why the weather is such a great subject to talk about. It's safe, far from personal and everyone can relate to it. UNLIKE BIMPLES!!
That's right -- bimples, aka. back pimples, or bacne (back-acne) if you prefer.
I was sitting at my desk typing away when my colleague snuck up from behind me to whisper, "Do you ever grow 'lup-lups' on your back?"
I turned my head slowly to come face-to-face with her extremely concerned expression.
"Lup…lup…?" I couldn't believe she was asking me this. (Lup-lup means little bumps in Canto, translation = zits)
"Yes, I saw your back through your sweater," (I was wearing a sweater with a teardrop cutout on the back), "and I just wondered if you ever grew zits there."
"Um… no…" I said slowly, trying to hide my disgust behind a polite smile.
"Because I do!" she exclaimed. "I can't wear sweaters like that because I have zits on my back. That's why I take Chinese medicine, to keep them from coming back."
Shocked, grossed out and fighting the vivid images of bacne in my head, I racked my brain for zits-related things to say and started blabbing, "Oh, I know people who grow zits on their back too. And on their shoulders, and other parts of the body. Actually, I get zits sometimes on my chin. It's totally normal, yea…"
By then, she had returned to her desk and sat down, and the conversation was over, as if it had never happened.
So yea, bacne, not a good subject. Please don't ever talk to me about it again. T_T"