A little late, had a last minute Christmas dinner to prepare yesterday as I didn't make it back home down in Limerick. We had back-up bought the day before, was disappointed I didn't make it back down, but spent Christmas with my family here in Dublin was an awesome alternative. Although I got to try out my cooking skills (not much of one, but luck things turn out every time). So I made:-
❅ My hubby helped with these, time was ticking and beeping at me, so an extra helper is nice to have.
Yep, all that for 3 persons!
I wonder what other Chinese families had for their Christmas meals, traditional Chinese or Western style dinner?
Anyhoo, hope you had a Happy Christmas, wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous new year. Enjoy the rest of your holidays!
Had a girlie IBC meetup at Good World today for dim sum (and yes, we had plenty of food leftover). The discussions was ranging from memories and finding out who was where in Chinese School (Dublin, of course, my cousin Ada and I never went to one as we were from down south), arguments of who's older (that was easily dispersed cos I was the oldest of the lot by far, not saying how old I am though), other Chinese cultural meetups, catching up on what each other's doing, and on my side of the table, the importance of knowing Mandarin.
This was a big thing, given that UK has brought in Mandarin in their schools (not post-primary, but primary schools) as a trial run this year. We are so far behind, Leaving won't have Mandarin as there's no budget for it. There are institutions for adults to learn Mandarin, but aside from Trinity, they are all over the place. There isn't a Chinese school teaching Mandarin for kids as far as I can tell from talking to the girls. I think it would be something to push for, Mandarin for everyone who wants to learn it. We understand the importance of learning it as it gives us more credence if we are trying to gain more access into the Chinese market. It's a no-brainer.
We have come a long way from our previous generation of working and toiling away with no holidays in the family business. With this solid foundations, we realised how lucky we were to do what we want and even improve the way the family business is run. There were many things discussed, and the girls I've been talking to were intelligent, hard-working, and like having a good time. It is definitely our time to shine, a Chinatown, Chinese schools teaching Mandarin (nationwide), the world's our oyster.
Just noticed that the latest fashion with the girls in HK and Macau are short hammer pants, check this out to see what they are like. Guys are still either wearing pants that droop down or hip-hop gear (although bois are wearing the latter as well, you can seem them hanging around downtown Kowloon).
Back at home now, helping mom prepare CNY dinner... goose, king prawns, Chinese veg (san choi), and more! Hopefully will get photo of end result before we eat it all up! :)
The Indo has a controversial article that Smacked children more successful later in life. I am no stranger to a smack or a wee bit of caning when I was really young, but that stopped pretty much as soon as I started school. It's like respect my "authorata" (so said by Cartman in Southpark). I don't really count that as abuse, it's not everyday or being punched or anything like that. I think I turned out okay, I don't smoke or hang out with the wrong crowd. Is this a cultural thing? All this just reminds me of the Canadian comedian, Russell Peters, on his skit about getting hit, check it out (I know many Asians can relate to this, enjoy):
Hard to handpick pics from what I've done this year, but here are the highlights, can't believe it's 2010 already!
Being brought up as a Hakka-Cantonese kid, I noticed that Cantonese was predominant language amongst the Chinese community when I was young. A day trip to Dublin would entail dimsum at The Imperial before loading up with Chinese goodies from The Asia Market in Drury Street. All you hear around you is Cantonese. Today, my brother, his girlfriend and I went into the Asia Market, my brother commented to me that it's so weird how things have changed, as most people around us are speaking Mandarin. The feeling that Cantonese slowly being evolved out like the Hakka language. It's just another generation, another time that will be forgotten, and we are not the only ones feeling alienated with the changes.
Saw this article about Chinese in NY and how the language shift is moving towards Mandarin as well. Chinese being practical minded as usual, bring their kids to Chinese school to learn Mandarin instead of Cantonese. It's still important to know how to read and write Chinese though.
I wonder in the future, will there be another dialect that will overtake Mandarin in such global scale?
(Source: NY Times)
I heard something from my aunt that someone was told that "Lee" was a poor man's version spelling of the surname, whereas "Li" is the richer version. Now, whoever said this is telling people a pile of crock. "Lee" is an Anglicised version, whereas "Li" is the Americanised version. There is also another version, "Lie", as well. I did a quick search and found that there are many other versions.
I had to blog about it, it's really riling how people pass off remarks like that, especially about Chinese surnames, given that they are regarded highly by the Chinese, it's like passing a huge cultural insult.
Found two articles, one is about a guy who is overseas and bringing his wife who is not Chinese to Hong Kong, and experiencing what it's like to be in a tourist's shoes. What is wierd is that some of his experiences with family dinners, feeling of what to do because you end up being the "expert", etc. is so similar to mine (aside from going to Chungking Mansions that is).
Just check it out: Hong Kong, second-home for traveler
Another article is by an ex-pat, who's living in HK now for four years. Her experiences of finding a place to live (pricey and where many expats live), partying, looking fashionable, etc. is an interesting read. Such a different lifestyle, and interesting to read, albeit, not my cup-of-tea.
Check it out: Letter from Happy Valley, Hong Kong
All the recent news about immigration officials in Dublin airport treating certain visitors to strip searches, detaining them, humiliating them even though the visitors have valid visas. The article today from the Irish Times highlights all the recent incidents and some experiences from various interviews. I'm one of the luckier ones that gets a "how are ya?" and a half-nod. But this is only in recent years, and mainly when I travel back to Dublin airport. No one actually mentioned about other national airports, such as Shannon airport. I'd remember I would get wave passed, but not before I get a discerning look of disapproval. Maybe it's just my imagination, I am very sensitive to any reactions around me in those situations.
Other unpleasant experiences that I remember (not that many, thank goodness):
Recently I was in Seattle, and the immigration took my passport, chatted a little and said "Welcome home!" by accident before changing to "..erm.. United States of America. Enjoy your stay.". That was funny, maybe because I have some American twang in my accent. I think it's most likely that they are use to seeing Asians travelling in and out, and there were alot of Asians working in the airport. Obviously, they did not bat an eyelid in San Francisco.
Any experiences, opinions? Chat about it at the IBC forum.
I'm bi-lingual (English/Cantonese). What's that got to do with it? Well, came across this article (via Reuters) Switching languages can also switch personality: study. It's mainly about study on people who switch betweem English and Spanish, and studying their behaviour.
"Language can be a cue that activates different culture-specific frames," the researchers said in a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research.
I definitely can relate to that, take for instance, how I behave when I talk to my Irish friends and my Chinese friends when we all go out. My tone completely changes when I speak Cantonese, I'm more closer to Hong Kongers type of speaking here. I find that I am more expressive when I speak in Cantonese. I haven't thought how I really feel when I speak in English, I'm probably more serious?!? I think this would be quite hard off the top of my head unless I take notes all the time on my behaviour when I speak in either languages. Maybe someone might feel different who speaks more than one language.
All those flights I've been on, when turbulence hits the plane (worst I've been through has to be from Cairns to Tokyo when we were crossing the equator at the end of January in my last leg of our honeymoon. Just saw this news article about turbulence hitting a Cathay Pacific flight and a few people got injured. That's a big EEP for me. I tend to hold on to my hubby's hand real tight and I feels like I was about to rip up the armrest, I was tense. I'm sure many feel that way as well when the plane sort of drops a few feet when the plane is rumbling and shaking.... okay, better stop before I scare myself silly and not get on the plane.
Paul Chiu has been trying to prod me to get meet ups going, but it has not been going according to plan. There are sites that communicates when met ups are available like meetup.com (subscription needed) and upcoming.org (free). I found over the years, it's just not working in Ireland, unless you really work hard at it, and a very specialised area, take one of the meet ups I organise called Python Ireland. We hold talks, or meet up in pubs once every month without fail, but it did stop for awhile and took quite a long time to get it going again, initially the group owner ended up sitting by himself in a pub for a few months, then we came along with a few others, now it's averaging over a dozen a month. Ireland must be one of the few places where meet ups are not working out, there are lots of cultural groups like Mandarin, Cantonese, Hakka, Asian Professionals in meetup.com, yet, no one has organised any meet ups at all. Even the Mandarin meet ups were not that great, according to my Irish friend who attended some awhile back. Is this something to do with our society, I mean as a Cantonese Chinese being brought up here, or just being Chinese here? Why do we keep to ourselves? Is it partly something to do with being Irish as well, such as socialising, but there is an element of shyness. A bit contradictory, right? It's just so strange that is all, that Chinese here are so seggrated, maybe there is not enough of us in college, or working together? I really don't know. It's some sort of mentality that is keeping us all from meeting each other. Do I see a research project arising out of this?
I swear, the prices of food is sky-rocketing, it's not funny any more. I tend to buy a lot of fresh vegetables, some meat and fish, and it's hurting our pockets big time. Maybe some common sense might help here though instead of convenience. I also did not know that many Hong Kong's eateries will be out of business due to the food crisis over there. I take HK as an example just from talking to my mom over the weekend. It's an example of a country that is reliant on imports of everything, the rising value of the Chinese currency compared to the HK Dollar, it's really hurting the normal folks. My aunt in HK told my mom that cooking oil is up by 100% since last year, and buying from wet markets is just as dear as in supermarkets. Back home here, I don't even know what will happen to restaurants and takeaways that sells rice, given that some rice-producing countries have stopped exporting rice, will they be bulk-storing rice over here? I cannot imagine being without rice, I don't eat it everyday, but it's part of who I am. I grew up eating it as part of my staple diet, as with all Asian families.
So I suppose what I can only do here is shop smarter, which will help me stop buying crap and only get essentials. Supermarkets will probably have to work harder now, as I wouldn't be the only consumer trying to save on food spending.
I was racking my head to remember strange things I came across in HK. The one thing that hit me was the first day I arrived in HK, after getting off the airport bus to meet my aunt, I see a couple walking their dog, and the dog had booties on all four paws! I know they are obsessed with dogs, but that was so wierd, my hubby was commenting on how the hell they could get the booties on the dog's paws in the first place. My aunt was saying that a firedogs gets his own boots in case the dogs burnt their paws, that's understandable, but what I saw was just ridiculous. It's the kind of thing that you would have to look twice and fall over laughing afterward.
I was in Shatin Plaza and went by the pet store and I saw what I thought was a baby carriage, but it was for dogs, and guess what? I did see someone pushing a "dog" carriage with their little darling doggy in it! My last trip to HK saw a lot more dogs in handbags. Really now, dogs should be allowed to walk around on their own, not carried.
You know you still miss home when:
Ok, the latter list is miniscule, but at least there are some! Hong Kong is still cool place to visit.
Well, I have never been so mortified in my life! Since I just got my new HK ID card, I decided to use it on my trip to HK recently. That was fine. It's when I was leaving when I sort of made a roll-your-eyes-knowing-you-are-from-overseas boo-boo. I did not understand "boarding card" in Catonese. I was so use to hearing "boarding card" in English, and normally I have it in my passport when I had it to immigration. There was no fingerprinting or putting card through the machine (come to think of it, I did not did that either when I was giong into HK, had to hand it to the officer). Anyhoo, he laughed and waved me through, and me looking bright red. Especially seeing my hubby standing there waiting for me grinning for getting through immigration before me. I rang my aunt to let her know I got though ok and recounted what happened at immigration. She really laughed out loud. On hind sight, it is sort of amusing. Well, I've forgotten what boarding card in Cantonese again.
I was getting a lift from a friend after a practice session for our radio assignment in DCU, when she drove onto Parnell Street. At the cross-roads, all I saw was neon lights with lots of Chinese letters in front of us! It was just like driving into Chinatown. Heh, was very strange indeed.
I should have taken a picture. Maybe I will next time. It will have to be evening time to catch the full effect.
Some of the concerns rings home true for me here as well, e.g. I had to speak Cantonese at home when I was young. My brothers and cousins are lucky enough to speak English in front of our parents. One of the things that I would be thinking of would be, when I have kids, will they be fluent in Cantonese? I want them to keep part of their culture. Apart from talking to my mother, I don't want my kids to grow up and think that we did not teach them Chinese (written and/or oral). I see that from what I see in the IBC forums that some teens are kicking themselves for not taking to learning Chinese culture seriously. Maybe it seemed too old fashioned, been told by your parents to do things almost always means the opposite for teens. Everyone has been through these phases.
For those who are lucky to learn Chinese, you are the lucky ones. Go to HK, and see the difference from being able to speak the language. The traders are not as despicable. This perhaps applies for all other languages as well.
One mother commented that she is finding it hard to convince her teenager that it's good to learn Chinese, and the one answer that stumped her was "So?!?". I hate that kind of apathetic reply, but that's teenagers for you though. The fact that he kept saying that Japanese keeps coming out with cool stuff does not help her argument at all.
I wonder if anyone who reads this blog, or check out the forums, the experiences by the people who spoke in that clip, does that apply to you as well?
Chinese dinner etiquette is not just nice to know, it's a must-know. It's like someone not knowing how to use a knife and fork in a restaurant properly and making a fool of oneself.
It's very hard to explain to people how important it is, you are eating with chopsticks, and to most non-Asians, it seems just as an annoyance if they don't know how to use them. It use to be Asians were thought to be barbarians for not knowing how to use the knife and forks by their western counterparts, and vice-verse. It's cool that it's the norm to know how to hold and use the chopsticks nowadays.
I invited a rake of my friends to a Chinese dinner at my local Chinese restaurant. Most were Irish and also included a HK friend and my cousin. Three of us decided to use chopsticks and bowls, and the rest using knifes and forks with plates. When the food arrived, I was speaking for a few minutes to my cousin and turned around and I noticed that everyone grabbed as much food as possible to their plates. It was meant to be communal for all to share, but there was hardly anything left for my cousin, friend and I! So we looked like an ass that night. Heehee. Oh well, I should probably learn to explain how communal sharing of food works at a Chinese dinner.
Well, the Mid-Autumn swung past, and no, no mooncakes for me. I'm not that big a fan of them. Mom wanted a box of them, and so my cousin and I wandered into the Asian Market on Drury St. here in Dublin, and checked out selection (this was a month ago). I noticed that there were huge labels indicating that some were made in Hong Kong. Mom made me double-check, given all the scares of things fake and dodgey from Mainland China, many of us are wary of what to buy in the Asian Market. As many of you realise (or not), mooncakes are not terribly healthy, but I've been noticing that more and more alternatives come on the market for these mooncakes.
* Just the lotus seed paste (no duck egg yolk)
* Substitute to lotus seed paste like red bean.
Just goes to show that there are healthier alternatives to the traditional recipes, and Chinese people are getting more health concious, which is a good thing.
IBC got a mention in a podcast by podcasting.ie. I was especially interested in the part regarding ethnic minority in Ireland, and all the comments from some Chinese residing in Ireland. Immigration, racism, dealing with holding down several jobs to get by in College, or being expected to work twice as hard than any other foreign immigrants. All different insights and experiences.
Have a listen, and see what you think - Link to podcast
Read this article from DimSum BBC or ABC - it’s all about identity.
She is like me, a 2nd generation overseas born Chinese, England in her instance. Her parents worked hard in the family restaurant to put herself and her siblings through school and higher education.
And the guilty angst of wanting to do your own thing, and yet wanting to please your parents' wishes. My parents did not explicitly say it to me, but there were always hints for me to take over the family business. But for me, they brought me up on a one track mind to take up another profession other than catering. Although I sometimes feel that they do not take my software engineering job seriously, but it pays well, and I would bore of it at some stage. Which is definately not the case. I like tech so much, I'm heading back to college to do my MSc. in Multimedia for a year.
Back to the article, she's married to a HK Chinese man, and her children were born in US. She's finding it tought to try and have her kids speak Chinese. I have not sprouted any kids yet, but that is one of my goals as well, to teach my kids Chinese. At least so they can communicate with my mom and aunt back home down in Limerick. Granted I can only understand Hakka and not speak it, but I'm fluent in Cantonese. And that's what we speak down home anyway.
There is one thing that really strikes a chord:
"I realized my cultural values were already infused into my being, resulting in my uniqueness -- not my parents’ vision, not the rebel, but someone who is proud of her roots and has a diverse outlook gained through her hard-won experiences"
Now that I'm reaching 30 this year, I still am proud of my roots. I am different to my parents' vision. Well, given I married the cutest Irish fella in Ireland, and he was not Chinese was sort of different to my mom's vision anyway. But we managed to change her mind, and given that my hubby (then boyfriend) tried to speak Cantonese, shows he is willing to try things (he still knows the few basic sayings to get him by ).
Now the author of the article found herself quizzing about how her family reached England and about her family history. I think that it's important for all of us to find out more about our family history. There is so much to learn and appreciate. But unfortunately for me, my father is not around to pass on any more of his stories and family history. Although my brother has some of his stories jotted down.
So our identity as IBC is topic that is barely talked about. And of course, Nichola Boland posted on the IBC Forum for help on her thesis about 2nd generation identity.
Please discuss more at the forum.
So, my trial of cooking bitter melon did not work out. Well, my hubby did not like it. So I had the whole thing myself, well, I could only eat half, there was so much. Had pan fried some tofu as well. Well, it was the worse of both worlds for my hubby. So much for trying something healthy.
While Irish students sit their exams, so too the millions of Chinese students. It's so shocking to see the amount of stress these kids go through, just to please their parents and get into college with limited places. The lengths the students and parents go through...
A newspaper in Tianjin, a city in northern China, reported local girls have been buying contraceptive pills to delay their periods.
All I know in HK, they take their chicken stock, or their gingki supplements. They have cram schools as well as personal tutors outside of school. It's starting to get like that here with all the exam-prep schools, but not as crazy as what the kids and their parents go and do in the Far East.
And I whole-heartedly agree that there are other routes aside from going from secondary to college, and to Chinese parents, it has to be a university. In Ireland, apart from Unis, we have FÁS, adult education schools, IT colleges, and other professional training courses. As I have tried to tell my brothers and cousins, you don't have to make the big leap to Uni straight off the bat, there are many ways to get there. And even if you don't choose 3rd level, there are many paths to choose from to do what you want to do. And it's your choice. But sometimes that is easier said then done with parents on your back all the time.
The Beeb wrote an article on difference between Math exams for Chinese U entrance exams to UK 1st yr students, with example questions.
I think the maths examination can apply here in Ireland as well. Anyone doing the Leaving this year should try their hand at higher level maths from 1987. The leaving cert changed when I did it in in '94, even then, I could barely do the '87 maths questions. The standards of maths has been pushed down further and further.
People find Leaving maths hard now, just have a go with the '94 paper and then '87. You'll see a big difference.
Found this on youtube about how America Asians feel about their identities. Pretty good, and really open your eyes, and maybe touch a few things that we feel about ourselves.
Discuss at the IBC forum.
Just read an entry from BigWhiteGuy about the secret of Cantonese. And it was interesting reading about his experience. And I have told people that Cantonese is full of slang, apart from newsreaders, who use proper and more formal spoken Cantonese.
I remembered that it was kind of strange at first to watch Chinese drama (which is normally Chinese subtitled), and find that what they are speaking in Cantonese is completely different to the subititles. Even if it is period drama, although period drama is a little closer to the subtitles. I found this unusual when I first learnt written Chinese, that words written are so different to spoken Cantonese. It was hard to get my head around it. It sounded strange when it is read out. But I young back then, and never thought too much about it. I was just use to it. Sometimes it is annoying to watch TVB news, and you hear the words, but when strung together, you get lost in the translation. But given that it's on tv, I was able to guess what was being said anyway, just the details are missing here and there (ok, a little more than here and there. (;>-< ) )
I wonder how other overseas born Chinese feel about this? Discuss at IBC forum.
Quite contrary to my post about efficiency in HK banks.
I just came across an entry in BigWhiteGuy's blog about HSBC not accepting an Italian address, just because they are going by the book, word for word!
“The rule book says the proof of address has to be in English.”
The word for "street" in Italian was "via"! Hmm, HK banks are always a stickler for these details. Like handwritten cheques have to absolutely correct, even if the person has terrible handwriting, it's no excuse. Or if your signature is not exactly like the one on your ID card or bank card, they would not accept it!
Well from the blog entry above, so much for HBCS - World's Local Bank.
Given how lucky oversea Chinese have it, when it comes to studying does not mean some oversea Chinese students still get away with some of the familiar reactions if you fail an exam.
Well, I am lucky that my parents did not say stuff that was in the article to me. For me, it was pretty much "Do your best!".
You can discuss this at IBC forum.
"Aii-yaah!!", you might hear that every so often from an Asian person. It's equivalent to "Jaysus!" or "Feck!" or "Darn!"... you get my drift. The shorter "Ai-yah!" tends to be uttered when you, say, stub your toe, or drop something on the floor. It's like a little exclamation.
I am commenting generally from Cantonese-speaking point of view. I find Cantonese language can be vulgar, like any other language, I suppose. You would have the equivalent of the F-word before, during and after a sentance, followed by more mumbling. It's sort of like Bus Uncle.
The phrase I grew up with is "Yau mo gau chaw!" i.e. "WTF!" or "Oh no!".
It can be quite colourful if you wanted it to be. But the Chinese language can be vicious, that even words can hurt. So much for sticks and stones...
Sarah Yeh (Editor of DimSum) asked me to submit an article on why I created this site, and my experiences maintaining it and with the community (yes, you guys )
An Irish born Chinese girl with an Irish born Chinese site, and a goal to unite with other second generation Chinese in Ireland. Vicky Lee recounts her experiences in being a webmistress, the Irish Chinese community and her reasons for starting her site.
You can read the rest of the article at Dim Sum - Irish Born Chinese.
My aunt brought some fruit to a family dinner, and there is particulare one which looks wierd, but tastes nice. You just eat the white fleshy part, spit out the seeds, and careful not to get the red spongey skin on my clothes as they stain.
Well there you have it, apparently a friend of mine who is in China at the moment cannot access my IBC site. He thinks it's blocked by Chinese authorities. Hmmm, annoying, I think it's my references to BBC news items and some other blocked sites that might have triggered it. Or, it could be a glitch. Ho-hum...
Update: Just got informed that it works again. Woohoo.
No matter how segregated Chinese are amongst themselves, when you hear some "like ya" pair of women sitting at the top of the bus saying "...Chinese guy on the phone going meuh meuh meuh...". Ok, fair enough, I was thinking silently that the Mainland Chinese guy should shutup, as he was talking on his phone for 20 minutes outloud. But something those women said kinda pushed my buttons. So I half turned, and looked at them to see what they looked like. And they made a snide comment about me, thinking I did not understand them. I had my right mind to take pics of them, and place them on this site to shame them. I just rang up my fiancé and spoke in English of course. That shut the spiteful so and so's up. Goodness, I was just minding my own business trying to stay awake, getting to work on the bus. This crap keeps happening. And these women were not even scumbags. Argh, snobs.
Comments welcome in IBC forum.
Hey everyone! Someone needs some information off IBCs for their dissertation.
I’m doing a project looking at identity among Second Generation Chinese in Ireland. I chose this topic because my Dad is from Hong Kong and identity has been very important for me and I’m wondering what it means for other IBCs. By Second Generation Chinese I mean if you were born in or immigrated to Ireland when you were younger and either one or both of your parents are Chinese. I’d really like to chat about what being IBC means to you and if you weren’t born in Ireland how you see yourself.
Please share your thoughts with me.
Leave your comments at IBC Forum → General Chat → Exploring your identity.
It's a good topic as well. Thanks all!
Maybe it's the weather, maybe it's the effects after a long journey from Limerick to Dublin. What I did not want to hear is some scanger shouting out the car as it went past as we are heading back to the appartment was "Go back to China". Now normally I would ignore this, but I really wanted to shout "Up Munster!", or "Go back to the crap hole whenst you came!" (that one is pretty hard of the eejit was in a car), or "I can't I am not a Chinese citizen, I'm Irish!". Well, as I said I am not sure why that gobshite got on my nerves . One thing for sure... if that person knew his foreign affairs, and economics of the world today, everyone is scrambling to China. See link to article in one of my previous blog entry. I would be lucky to head to Hong Kong to get a job, it was one of my dreams to end up in the highest office of a highrise office building. Since HK is part of China now, it's sort of correct to say, heading back to China. I feel sorry for the poor sod. Generalising anyone who is Asian looking. I could be a American or Canadian or Austrailian or British or any of the major places HK immigrants would go to nowadays. Well, now that is off my chest, I feel happier now.
(Want to discuss this? Check out the IBC forum).
Just read this article from DimSum, and from that person's experience just reminded me of my friend who was scammed similarly also (but the folks were not threatening or anything). I am awfully wary about going to Beijing in the future. Should I bear distrust to Mainlanders from this generalisation? Well, for now, scams happen everywhere around the world, but when I do go to Mainland China someday, I will still be twice as paranoid as I would be in HK. It's more to do with a comfort thing I suppose. But then again, I never had problems with cocky HK people. I have always found that I can get away with most conversations. And they always speak to me in Chinese even though it is obvious I am back from overseas. The only thing I hate are the Golden Mile conmen who are mainly Indians or Pakistanis who are trying to sell you a fake watch. It's infuriating just thinking about them, as they are so in your face.
Interesting perspective from a friend of mine at work. We were at a free company lunch in a Chinese restaurant (nothing fancy, your typical set menu, but I'm not complaining, it's paid for,. *lol). Anyway, my friend mentioned that whenever they go to a Chinese restuarant and ask for chopsticks, they get strange looks from the waiting staff. It's like it's out of the norm for someone who is not oriental to use chopsticks. I know it's great that some folks make an effort to use them, but sometimes restaurants somehow just find it normal for folks who are not oriental just use a knife and fork. My friend just finds it amusing, but I think Dublin is one of the very few places where people are willing to try something different. I know in Limerick, palettes don't really change, that is why Chinese food in my parent's restaurant has hardly changed i.e. new additions to the menu, as the locals just don't want to try anything different. It has been like this for decades now. Folks just come in and order the same thing over and over again. We can't second guess customers, I suppose we just assume how the majority acts, and proceed with that in mind. Only time will tell, when cities like Limerick might open a bit more and be a little bit more adventurous.
You know, everyday has its little insults. But today's one was one heck of a whopper one. Was walking down Aungier St, coming onto Geroge's St. This Irish lady came up to me and asked if I knew anyone in cleaning?!? I was a bit puzzled, then she asked "Do you clean houses yourself?". Well, I was so insulted by that remark, I nearly slapped her for mentioning it. I told her as nice as I can that I work in software engineering, and it was her turn to look puzzled. I added 'IT' at the end, and she apolagised, and I stormed off without hearing anymore of her crap. The ignorance of some people, just because I am Asian looking, does not mean that I "clean houses". The nerve for someone to walk up to a stranger and say something like that. I have to say, it would not be as annoying calling me.. say chink to my face. But assuming what she thought by just how I look! Really! The amount of obscene cursing coming out of me walking up Geroge's St., through Temple Bar, across Millenium Bridge...right upto the Luas stop on Jervis. I have calmed down somewhat, but the saying "Ignorance is bliss" is pretty hard this time. If I stayed there with that woman, I would have seriously gave her a good walloping. But I do not want to be causing harm to any other human beings do I? Seriously, this was the hardest to walk away from, and I hope she does not continue to ask that racist, seeminlgy harmless enquiry.
Discuss at IBC message forum
Heh, saw this in boingboing, the joy of earwax picking, heh... not really a Japanese thing, I think Asians do it. Well, I definately know that Chinese do it. All you Chinese out there, you must remember your own mom cleaning out your ears. It was one of my favs, it's relaxing as well. I remember letting my aunt do it, and it was not as pleasant! But I still do it. You have to use an ear pick to do the job, the cotton buds won't cut it here. Here are some ear picks for your perusal, just so you don't think it's all made up. Here is some more info on it from wikipedia.
Wierd? Relaxing? Addictive? To me, it's just a nice feeling. Plus you have clean ears to boot (as long as you are carefull, you don't want to pierce your ear drums!!).
I recently came across this article acout pantyhose tea. I tried this before in one of the food stalls (like Dai Pai Dong in Cantonese) in the old market place in Tai Po Hui. My aunt tells me at the time, that this type of tea is very smooth and silky, unlike normally made tea. All I could think of, it's been strained through silk stockings! But I tried it, and it tastes different than the other tea in HK, mostly because they use evaporated milk instead of good ol' cow's milk. Heh, cow's milk is not all the common in HK. A visiting cousin a few years back to Limerick, just could not get enough of our Dawn/Golden Vale milk. He drank loads each day.
You can read more on HK's diffrent types of tea here.
I'll think I will stick to "Ling Muk", honey and lemon water when I visit HK.
So I came across this site on an ABC ranting about the pressures of study by Asian parents, so it's the same everywhere. So all those who are doing exams this year (and that includes my cous, Kev), no need to worry. You do your best. At the end of the day, it's for yourself, not for your parents.
I totally forgot about this! Sinead got in contact with me via the IBC forum and I manage to get in contact with her on time. I was unable to get the issue 10 of Capital magazine... I got the next issue. But Sinead is nice enough to post up the article at her site (Thanks, Sinead!).
Here it is : Chinese New Year and the Irish Community
It's the first day of the new year(初一). And I am getting ready to travel back up to Dublin. Had a great meal at home last night (new year's eve family reunion dinner). Dad was out shopping for some meat for the dinner, and he was wondering if we should get chicken. He though, no... then changed his mind and said, "What are we like, no chicken for the new year dinner!", and bought the chicken. Heh.
So what did we have?
* Whole sea bass
* Stewed pork with something that is related to water chestnuts (only grows in winter) cooked. This dish is usually cooked by Hakka people.
* Whole chicken
* Rice noodle with bean curd flakes, prawns, chinese leaves, Chinese mushrooms, dried scallops... was meant to be a vegetarian dish, but prawns and scallops snuck in.
* Chicken and Chinese mushrooms.
* Chicken and vegetable soup.
Obviously, dad cooked way too much as usual, and I am bringing up yummy leftovers.... can't wait! I love the rice noodles. I have some pics, I will put them up as soon as I can.
(Uploaded to Flickr by Mnemonix)
With Chinese New Year coming up, it's on the 29th Jan, if you did not know... it was funny to see the top hit seller in yesasia (as of tonight when I viewed it), was the Lai See packets. And what is even better for those married folks (I know, I know... it will be my turn sometime ) is that yesasia is actually holding a special sale of the Lai Sees. Rather cool offer!
It's so handy nowadays to buy things that normally you can only get at an Asian market (if you are lucky), or China Town (luckier)... or actually living in Far East (man, I am soooo jealous right now ). But with reputable places like yesasia, it's such joy to browse at home. Although the looking forward to going back to Hong Kong to browse for things is not as hyped up as it use to be (or maybe I am just getting older).
It's still nice to just go wandering around the small shops and finding those little things you won't be able to get at home or online (for those street prices, you are kidding!).
I suppose for those who don't go back (or ever been to Hong Kong for that matter), I would forget the gob-smacking aweness of "Where am I?" or "Wow, I cannot believe I am here!!!".
One thing I have not experienced, Chinese New Year in Hong Kong. I probably want to do it before I tie the knot, I suppose. But there you go, day-by-day, it just goes by. Plus working sort of sucks, you need to plan way ahead if 2 weeks (if I am lucky) are needed for my visit. Good thing I don't have to worry about accomadation.
So back to Chinese New Year... why are there so announcements of events here in Dublin, or Ireland even? There maybe signs in the windows, as some folks on the IBC board mentioned. But I cannot read Chinese. But the hullabaloo from last 2 years has somewhat waned this year.
But either way, I am heading down to Limerick with my fiancé to enjoy our family meal that weekend (most likely Saturday night).
So with that, I would like to wish everyone a Happy and Prosperous New Year. And this year is the year of the dog.
People born in this year are loyal, honest, and trustworthy, but can also be stubborn and selfish. Dogs get along with Horses, Rabbits, and Tigers.
More year of the dog stuff:
Here's something cool... horoscope (uploaded to Flickr by SE K750i Girl)
The Mainlanders are not happy because they cannot communicate with Mickey and rest of Asia are not happy with Mainlanders because of their manners. Honestly, I am not surprised that English and Cantonese is spoken in HK Disneyland. Euro-Disney is mostly spoken in French (ok, they have a law there to restrict spoken English). But China has their own parks, why don't the other parks take into considerations of other cultures then? See what I mean?
Now mannerisms is a totally different issue. Mainlanders (from what I see) really don't have any. Why? Is it so hard? Or are they just ignorant. I know not all folks from the mainland are like this, but seeing with your own eyes only justifies the case that mainlanders have a problem. This is part of the culture, and I don't think the type of mannerisms we currently witness will be weaned off soon (unfortunately). But it makes me ashamed to be Chinese, and this is mainly the reason why I don't want to be associated with Mainland Chinese. No offense. But when it comes down to manners, it does not matter who you are, it is just not nice to act like a caveman.
You can discuss about this topic at IBC messageboard.
I came across this article about bi-lingual nannies. It's very interesting. Although it is an American article, I can very well relate to being brought up in a bi-lingual environment.
I am very lucky to be brought up with so many relations around me that speak Cantonese, but I would have loved to be able to learn to read and write at that young age. But I think I was stubborn back then (probably just as stubborn nowadays), I remember crying when I was being taught to write my own Chinese name! I was about 3 or 4 then.
You can discuss this at IBC message board.
Saw this article on how other cultures celebrate Christmas. Nice little insight. :) Although in that titbit, he mention the Chinese pronunciation, and it's in Mandarin
It is Dun Che Lao Ren (dwyn-chuh-lau-oh-run) or "Old Man Christmas"
In Cantonese, it is Sin Dan Lo Yaan.
We just put up our tree (well my brothers do), and have a big Christmas dinner with the staff on the 24th, and open our pressies when we get home. Then family dinner on 25th. That is because the restuarant is normally closed for 2 days (out of the 3, the other one is Chinese new year).
Is it similar to other Chinese overseas? Since there are no comments here, you can discuss this over at IBC messageboard.
Saw a recent comment from one of my blog entries : Dub accented Chinese folks.
...how do you see yourself, in which way you look at your identity?...
How do I see myself? I think I have touched on this subject on and off. Well, since I am an overseas born Chinese, and being brought up in an Irish environment, I just feel I am lucky to feel both Chinese and Irish. Being in touch with 2 very different cultures really open my eyes. But that means I have twice as much stuff to learn from both cultures. It helps that I have so much family to be in contact with, both here and in Hong Kong. Dad will fill us in on history of China and Hong Kong. He knows the Irish history well (his knowledge of things sometimes astounds me). So there was alot of chatting late into the nights.
Chinese customs that still stick with us would be Chinese Lunar new year (mostly kids and some unmarried folks, like me, who still receive Lai See packets). Many Chinese owned businesses close for a day. Then there is the Mid-Autumn festival, were we all just eat some mooncake. Well, with us, these are the biggest Chinese dates to note. We don't burn incense here. Unless we head back to Hong Kong, we will need to burn incense for our forefathers (at the shrine in the appartment).
I feel so happy that so many western folks watch Chinese films, but the ones that do annoy me would the ones who think they know it all. Trying to explain what it is like growing up watching these types of films, tv shows, they do not quite understand. Yet all they have in their heads is Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Hero, and they know everything. Culture clashes do happen I suppose. If I was in a strict Chinese family (I'd say it use to be back before 70s), then I would not be going out as much (not that I did when I was young anyway). And most certainly would not be permitted to go out with anyone other than a Chinese guy, and probably arranged at that!!! I really would not be surprised. Now we are in the noughties, times have changed. Views change, especially if you are overseas.
All in all, I really appreciate having experienced both cultures. It broadens my view. Well, I hope it did. Plus, I get to speak another language fluently. And in the end, I am me, myself... the only person who can say who I am. Not depicted by anyone. I hope that I can pass on these experiences to my future generation.
Suffice to say, I tend to speak Cantonese when I have Chinese friends around, and yes... I do translate what we are talking about. Please don't take this as being rude or ignorant, but for me personally, I find it hard to speak Chinese when I am away from home. And when I do meet up with Chinese friends, we have Irish friends with us also (and other nationalities whose English is not their mother tongue of course).
But I would try to speak in English as much as I could. It does not help that a group can sometimes be split because of this, and I have to try and bring everyone back together (but you know, after a few pints, we all forget).
Heh... I just wonder if anyone who have had this experience as well?
I notice myself when talking to my friends (especially my fiancé), that I tend to say "my mom's younger sister" instead of my aunt.
Chinese has a very complex way of calling relations. It depends if they are related to your mom/dad's side. If you had kids, they will call your brothers/sisters by a certain name depending if they are older/younger than you. It's all puzzling, but I always wondered why back then.
My dad said it is a good way to know who belongs to which side of the family, and where they are in the "hierarchy". It's a very traditional thing for Chinese. I can grasp the simple names as far as grandparents.. but what about grand uncle/aunt? Or cousins i.e. twice removed (still biu gou/dai/dje/mui?). What about great-grandparents/uncles/aunts etc...?
I found a cool site that covers the family basic name calling in Cantonese.
If I get a change, maybe I'll draw out some sort of chart? I think it is great to be able to see which side of the family your relatives are, plus you know if they are older than you.
Other than that, any other Chinese have a seating arrangement based on family hierarchy when you go home for family dinner? Ours use to be dad, followed by mom, then me and my siblings. But this has changed, as my youngest brother (who is now the baby of the family, even though he is 12!), sits besides my mom. But then it's me, and my other 2 brothers. I was always brought up that way. It's nice to have order in the family. But that is just my opinion.
Read this on BWG's blog. Not a stranger to be bombarded by annoying salemen on the Golden Mile, this is somewhat some good news. My friend got a fake rolex for his dad for a couple hundred, and guess what, the bit where you twiddle to set the time fell off! A bargain is not always a bargain in HK, expecially if it's from the street sellers!
Someone found bugs in pasta and that reminded me of the time I found bugs in the macaroni... yuck! The bugs were all dead though, but it was sickening. It was packaged in Mainland China, and then distributed from HK. With all the talk of fake food this and fake food that from Mainland China, now I have to check the packaging to see where the stuff was packed, even though they are from HK. Creepy...
Well, I can confirm my friend who came to HK with me did no get accosted at Golden Chicken Mile, heh.. cos he was staying at a hotel further in the city. (To his disappointment... heehee) But sure do agree with being hasseled to buy "new watch"... I nearly punched one out in Tsim Sha Tsui, and one gave out to me for cursing at him.
BigWhiteGuy has a cool entry about bamboo opera houses and some pics as well.
I have seen these bamboo opera houses while I was at Lam Tsuen Da Jieu Festival (View in Big5 encoding). It's kinda scary walking along the bamboo floor, as it bends and also is really bouncy... fun for kids running around the place. Really amazing what folks can do with bamboo.
Oh, just reading BWG's comment on 1st class compartments on the KCRC (Train from Lo Wu [border to China] to Hung Hom [Kowloon].. I get these trains to Kowloon from Tai Po, and I know there are 1st class compartments, but my BF pointed out to me how people get on them, via swiping their Octopus smartcards on the reader on the platform. I was wondering how one should know if folks without proper tickets sneak into them. Well, at least measures are being put in. But it's so much more expensive, but there are many an occasion when even 1st class passengers were standing!
Heh, a funny thing happened... well, my BF noticed it. I was in the Sony shop looking for a pair of in-ear phones with a short lead, and my BF said the shop assistant was trying to explain to me about the earphones. But I was totally ignoring him. And he was a bit dis-heartened and tried again, and my BF decided to acknowledge him. I think I know why. People who have been to HK and shopped there would know at least 3 sales assistant making a bee-line for you, talking and sales-pitching at the same time. So I sort of learned to ignore all that. And I was still in this mindset when this sales guy tried to talk to me in the shop. It was not deliberate. You can thank the attitude obtained in HK from been harrassed day in and out! But it's all good, I bought the earphones in the end. :) I was getting them regardless... Anyone have any experience stuck with them, after coming back from HK? Chat about it.
Well, adjusting back to expensive ol' Ireland again! I am only glad of the nice bearable weather, I won't complain too often about it, the sun's nice and warm, and I don't miss sweating profusely!
But food here is sooo dear! Even my work subsidised lunch total equals a lunch special for 4 persons at Maxim's (changes everyday)! And man.. beer is so cheap in Park'n Shop (their version of tesco supermaket, but cheaper and more choice). And I still have 2 bottles of Erdinger chilling in the fridge in HK! :-)
Travel is still crappy here, I waited over 20mins for a DART the other day! Give me 2-3 minutes for a train anyday! And the smart cards, they were so handy! Sigh... whine, whine, whine... Well, at least I have lots of things to look forward to when I go back to HK (unless Treetypie has anything else to say!) :-P
Well, I am back from HK, and I am welcomed with over 2000 spam comments on all my blogs... *sigh* In only 2 weeks. And some crap was floating on the board as well, so I got rid of that, so apolagies if there were non-related stuff. I am the only person admining, and I had no internet access during the time I was in HK the past 2 weeks. It's typical, isn't it?!?
Well, I can breathe again. It feels like the air conditioning is constantly on now, since I got off the plane in Shannon. ;) Heh, it's nice to be back though. I miss HK already, but that is enough plane travelling... BA with babies and toddlers screaming their lungs out. It's like a they are in it altogether, once stops and another starts, it's like a stereo with babies crying and wailing! The ozzie beside me was about to loose his rag. It feels good not to be sweaty and sticky from the weather, and hopping from shade to shade.
It's gonna be really frustrating now to get use to Dub transport when I get back up tomorrow, and start back into work on Monday. HK transport is so sufficient. They apolagised for a 10s delay due to signal failures. And I saw in the recent news about MTR 4min delays spiralled to 10min delay during rush hour! That is still less than our DART arrival times!
I am still finding it really funny that people hear me speak and react very surprised that I speak fluent Cantonese, since I was brought up overseas (and also that many overseas kids speak Hakka). My BF got his chance to speak a little bit more Chinese. Heh. It was all a good experience. The wee typhoon an' all! It really just whooshed past, and did not affect us in Tai Po at all. Just spoiled a trip to the Bronze buddha (tour cancelled cos of signal 3 at 5:20am that morning). But it was an experience for my BF, my BF's dad and my work collegue. All I could say about HK, it's really hot, hot, hot there!
Right so... here's another shot...
So maybe it's not that Chinese people are giving us a bad name... maybe that after we've all been here for such a long time, that now we've grown accustomed to our Irish-Chinese way of life? It may not be a big change of life. It may be just the same as any HK persons life, just that we've managed to weave Ireland into it! So then these new people come along.. perfectly lovely and nice... but then they bring along all these traditions that we might miss or have not practised for years??? Or maybe that we're imtimidated by the fact that we're not so special anymore?? Like not in a bad way... but that we don't know every single chinese person that walks along the road or else that there's so many of us now that we aren't particularly noticed at all anymore?
Also with the whole market stall thing... I think it's a bit hard to have a typical HK style chat with a marketstall person hen we are all confined to our shop gruops! Not that it's a bad thing, just that it's different! It wouldn't be a very free conversation as ther wouldn't be any random chats with more intersted people who are buying the ingredients or something!
After opening a topic in the forum.. it has led me to realise that Chinese people coming to Ireland has really killed alot of the respect Irish people have for Chinese people. Partly because of their perfect english (sometimes) and difference in culture, the Irish have lost all amazement in Chinese people. They no longer seem like out-of-the-blue, extraoridinary people; they are normal everyday sights... commonly seen in shifty looking gangs, which is a shame because this is not what everything is actually like in HK.
The people in HK are quite jolly, many people do tend to greet each other on the street, you can have a lovely conversation with many of the market stall keepers and everywhere you go somebody has a smile on their face!
In Ireland.. all you tend to see is people hanging around in groups, smoking and not looking particularly pleasant, not that they can help it, of course. If you were put into a foreign country and faced with a minimum wage job I'm sure you wouldn't be smirking either.
With alot of thought put in you would see that it's a vicious circle really... Chinese people are world renowned for many manufacturing and technological things, students come here and act like normal students, we see them far too often, the amazement about the techonology and manufacturing goes away, respect is lost. More chinese people come here, more respect is lost...
Even though China has built up an amazing reputation, a relatively small thing has destroyed this in Ireland, it just goes to show that one small thing can extinguish all the good things...
My BF was interested, but looks like the Asian Institute here in Dublin is not interested. They (the person) does not reply to emails, return calls or even bother ansering any of them. What's the story?
Linguaphone is the way to go, but my BF like to go to a class. If only we had this, Robo-talk helps pocket translator, but in Cantonese or Mandarin. ;-P
On the other hand found online sites (plenty out there) that teaches Cantonese, IBC - Learn Cantonese Sites. But still not the same. :-(
There is still hope! Xinhuanet - Wedding sends culture shock Chinese people are now alot more open now.
Comments welcome. Or just discuss this at IBC forum - Meeting People.
An interesting comment was posted recently. So I will give it a go answering story-style. But here is the comment first:
What are the things about you that are Irish? Do you feel that you could go to London, or San Francisco, or Hong Kong, and feel more at ease or less? Do you feel that all whites are foreign devils, or are the Irish your compatriots? What do you think of the racism or the English against the Irish? Both of them against Indians? Do you want your kids to feel more Irish or more Chinese? At least they should cook Chinese...
Well, what are the things about me that I am Irish. Well, I am born and raised in Ireland, and I think like the way folks think here too. :)
I'm was born in Cork, raised in Limerick. Went to a public school, nothing special. Good friends, the warmth that came through from my friends (naturally). College was fun, more Irish social life (what would I do without it!). Those were the days. I'm working in Dublin now. Social life is important. But there is probably one major thing that would be different, I would not spend every single cent I have. I have many friends who are on their last cent just before payday. So a bit of Chinese shrewdness is there in my somewhere. :P I suppose the first generation folks here are more conservative compared to us second generation folks as well. So many here would be pretty outgoing, not that I met many IBCs yet, just a few.
I would be proud of the Irish teams in major events like rugby (go Munster team), football, even Olympics. I wave the flag proudly. (We gave a good try in this year's rugby world cup, and poor Keith Woods. He did us proud.) I am lucky in a way to be able to experience both cultures.
Being brought up here, I just feel right at home with everyone here. And when I am in HK, even more so! Everyone complements me on my Cantonese, but I think I will need to learn Mandarin! (This has been a really long stretch goal of mine!)
Racism... it has gotten a bit worse here, maybe it is just the influx of immigrants and people are just being protective and paranoid. I have no comments about the English against the Irish, because I have not experienced any of this. Not sure what people's perception are of me being from Ireland, seem to ask me if I am afraid of the gun fire and stuff! :) But that sort of racism is not seen much, well by me. I have never been to Northern Ireland, and media portrayal is making me paranoid of going up there, even though I know it is only a small part of a city. But I am only human. :P I do not know about racism against Indians though.
I would love to have my kids know a bit of both, what I have experienced essentially. I am so lucky, is all I could say. This is a beautiful country, people here are rather nice. Knowing about your roots is important, and my future children (if any ;) ) will come to accept that it is important to love your roots, whatever culture it is, even if it is a mixed marriage. Heh, nowadays, I think many young Chinese know how to cook Chinese. I mainly follow and learn from my mom and dad. They did not force me, but I did it just because I would love to make all the things that my parents made, and love. :)
Discuss more about this - IBC forum
Heh, was getting my lunch at the local centra near my workplace in East Point Business Park. I have noticed that the oriental girls who were serving me actually have a very heavy Dublin accent. Especially when they say the word "butter". :)
I have to say I was taken back a bit on the accent, I was expecting a softer English accent and more neutral type of English as well. But yeah, that was funny. My BF said there use to be a Chinese girl who works with the cleaning crew, and in the evenings when they clean up the place, my BF would hear her speak little English, but as the months progressed, her Dublin accent was getting stringer, on the other hand her English was getting better. I can just imagine, when I visit China some day, all I hear is the Dublin accent, like that crackers ad that was on some time ago. :D
Well, all people would tell me (since I was in college anyway) that I have an American accent! Must be all the Friends I was watching. ;)
Great to see BWG going to Tai Mo Shan. My boyfriend and I did not go to Kadoorie, but we saw it afar from Tai Po Kau Country Park. Same misty view though. Pity about the pollution.
Was in Florida last week. Really nice, but what I wanted to write about here is that I did not see many local Asian people in the area of Florida I was at (Port St. John, by the way). Come to think of it, I hardly saw many Asian tourists in Seaworld, Space Kennedy Centre and Universal Studios. There were some groups, but not in droves.
I know that Hong Kong are getting more tourists now, are are recovering very well (which is good news), as they are attracting many mainland Chinese to go to Hong Kong.
But it is wierd to hear many other Chinese people speak Cantonese in Newark airport while I was waiting to get my connecting flight back to Dublin, and coming back to Dublin, and all you would mainly hear is Mandarin. I really have to try and learn that some day!
You know what? I would love to be able to build a house you see in HK New Territories. It's 3 floors, and are tiled. It has a flat roof, but hey, they manage to get through typhoons. Yup, I remember when I spent some of my lazy summer days while I was on hols over in HK. Sitting at the stairs between the 2nd floor and the roof, with the soothing breeze blowing through the door on the roof to the window on the stairways. Watching the sunset on the roof (and bitten by mosquitoes at the same time!). And of course, watching the stars at night. I love my relatives in Lam Tsuen. BBQs at night. One thing I don't like are the visious gaurd dogs in every house in the villages.
...and I came across this blog he wrote about toilets in HK and how intimidating they are for people who rarely (or don't) use them. I personally try and wait till I get home or somewhere where there is a 'proper' toilet, since I cannot stand (heh!) using the public toilets. I totally avoid them. But if you never seen one before, and you are not going to HK anytime soon (well, not when there is SARS around at the mo), then check it out at BWG - Toilet Trauma
Remember one of my old blogs mentioning about a someone looking for information on the Chinese community (Blog from February 19, 2003). Well, it's in the current issue of In Dublin (Vol 28 No.5).
Many thanks for Pavel Barter mentioning my site in his article about Dublin Chinese community. It captures the current state of our community at the moment, and hopefully in the future, the community will be recognised even more. And more sites like this one will be set up (I feel a bit lonely here). Don't mind being eclipsed in the future, but more local Chinese should take part to share the culture to others, and this does not have to stop at web pages, need to help the local resource centre (well, I am guilty with this one, my excuse is that I don't have enough time, but I hope I can do something in the near future). Again, thanks to Pavel and In Dublin for sharing this information with everyone out there.
Since this is big news (apart from the Iraq war) from the Far East at the moment. It is good to hear that the doctors over there have found out what strain this flu is. It is part of the family of strains that caused measles and mumps. HK doctors 'identify killer disease' (from BCC News Online).
I was talking to my step-grandad and he says it is quite a worry over there. Especially now one of the main hospitals are closed off in Shatin, and people are wearing masks. To Hong Kong people at the moment, this is scarier than war, when I commented on the war to my step-grandad. But it is good to hear that progress is being made to find a cure (well, looks like they are on the right track). Just thought I make a blog entry on this since I find myself lucky that all this happened after I came back from HK (although I might not catch the flu anyway). More is the worry for my brother who is planning to go back to HK in early June.
Being overseas Chinese, you always get the pressure to do the very best (even though most of the time, it is ok to do your best! Thanx dad, mom!). But you hear about Li Ka-Shing and his son. Does not really help when you have the Lee surname as well. I know money is not everything, but sometimes it feels like it does. That it is obligatory to earn alot of money. I can be hypocritical depending on my mood. But I am rather frustrated at the moment, but that is just a personal issue. Has anyone notice that Chinese people always have to show a bit of power and money? Is it ingrained into our culture? And it really sickens me that lots of girls in HK are throwing themselves at wealthy men, just for money sake. I know it happens everywhere around the globe, but you just hear these stories from the news, ok gossipy news. And people talking about it. 90% of the female cantopop stars can't sing, and it is not talent that brought them up there to the top, is it? And what about the scandalous Miss HK competitions. It can go on and on... What is it with the LV, your Armani's, Rolexes etc...? Even people from mainland China are going to HK to purchase these designer items. Anyway, all this from this one article I came across:
Li Ka-shing and Richard bookend SAR's rich list
Standing waiting at the GPO today, I noticed the amount of Asian people strolling around O'Connell street. Wow, I wonder what is the ratio of Chinese people to Dublin people in Dublin city?
I can already see the area split up between different set of Chinese people. The local Chinese, HK Chinese usually hang around, and have shops open in the south side of the city. The north of the city (mainly the street off Henry Street) is a usual hangout for mainland Chinese people.
Now I wonder if it is a still a good idea for a Chinatown... cost of land/shops aside that is.
I speak Cantonese when I was on holidays in HK with my boyfriend. My boyfirend doesn't speak Cantonese, but he knows a few basics. So in my duration in HK, I would be talking in Chinese and then in English. I realised that I sometimes end up answering my boyfriend in Cantonese! It was so amusing for my relatives (red-faced for me) when they noticed what just happened. It's great that many people accepts me and boyfriend. Even the security gaurd in the appartment block said "Good morning!" to my boyfriend, but my boyfriend would just answer "Joh sun!". He would say the same to my relatives, and gave them a surprise. Locals would definately respect you more when you speak Chinese. But I am lucky that it is obvious that I am from abroad, but would all speak to me in Cantonese in shops etc... It was great! From my experience that has been really enjoyable in HK for both me and my boyfriend.
What is it with HK people and keeping more than 1 pet in a small flat? A funny thing happened while I was in HK, I was heading out of the flat with my BF, and waiting for the lift. When the lift doors opened, I saw 2 large dogs (breed like lassie) and a smaller dog! The lift was not that big but the person who owns the dogs told us to go in, even though we were not sure of getting in. My aunt told me that the block of flats I am staying in, lots of people own pets. The thing that horrified me the most was when I asked what if the dogs barks and stuff. Aunt says that they arevery good, but they were cruelly trained, shocked when they were puppies to stop them barking, or do something to their voiceboxes. Thing is the HK people love their pets to bits, and they almost always buy pure breeds. I visited a pet store (one of many in Mongkok), and the kittens I saw were really frightened, although they were kept in very clean environment, but they looked like they wanted to go home with me... sigh... And HK people are chinchilla mad. You can pay upto HK$2000 for a champagne or an indigo coloured. And there were puppies (awww), hamsters, rabbits etc... And boy were the aquarium shops that sell fish impressive. But keeping a pet in such a cramp environment to me is still not right. They should be able run around in a garden (ok, for a dog or a cat). Well, that is my view. They are so crazy in HK!
Chinglish is not what I thought it would be. I thought it meant an overseas born Chinese speak Chinese and English together, or smething like that! But not according to Beijing seeks to root out 'Chinglish', which includes a link to a BBC news article.
The appartment I'll be staying in is at Zone C at the Tai Po Mega Mall And it's the food hall! :) Just found out that that I can get cash with my banklink card at : Shop 126-128, Level 1, Zone B, Tai Po Mega Mall, Tai Po, NT. (I know where that is...) More ATMs around HK - Aoen n/w cash dispensing machines. You would not have guessed that I am heading to HK soon, do you? ;-p
HK students are under so much pressure to do better in school, so they can get into University (not just any 3rd level colleges). I just hear from my cousins once in a while, and the pressure was immense. They have tutorials, mid-terms and summer schools. Trying to get in the top 10 of the class (or year). Only decimal points away from the next student fighting for the top grades. The A-levels is like the biggest event for all HK Chinese students every year. The rush for places then, now that is unheard of over here. The subjects and exams (and the amount of work) is much lower here. If the HK students are good at languages as they are in academic subjects, how are we going to compete with them?
But we have less school hours, longer summer holidays, and less homework. Why aren't more people going to Univeristy here then? But the following article just raises the point, that overseas Chinese are lucky to study here.
HK parents' mentality 'poses threat to youth job schemes'.
I grew up in Limerick and went to the University of Limerick. I have been working in Dublin for over 3 and a half years. Since I work in Dublin, I would go home to Limerick twice a month (or there-abouts!) . What I heard from my dad was not very nice last night just after getting train down from Dublin.
My dad was already very tired, as he was up all day and was quite busy. He was picking up my youngest brother from school. So as any parent, he drove to pick him up. There was a small gap in front of my dad's parked car, but not enough for a car, and low and behold, when my dad came out to get into the car with my brother, some inconsiderate person in a small car managed to wriggle partially into the space, and the back-end was sticking out blocking the driver's side. My dad rapped the driver of the said car lightly. The person looked up and my dad asked politely for him to move the car so my dad can go in. Well, this person just picked up the papers and proceeded to read it ignoring my dad! At this stage in the story I was getting worried for my father as he has a heart condition and it was looking like it may be leading to an argument. Dad continued on with the events that unfolded. My dad rapped on the window, no response. A harder rap, the person rolled down the window and said what was the problem? "What was the problem?", the nerve! My dad proceeded to explain the situation, and he said my dad should have parked on the other side of the road. My dad was getting infuriated, and said he was there first and would not have realised that someone may actually try and park in that space. The person replied to my dad and told him to go and try and get into the car via the passenger seat, and went back to his paper. Well, my dad could not believe it, in this day and age, especially since we were part of the local community for the nearly 20 years. My dad asked one more time, and what is to be done now. The person started up the car, wriggled a bit more and left barely enough room for a person to get into the dirver's seat.
I was so worried when my dad told this story, what if something happened to him. I would have taken that person's registration and would love to have brought them to court for causing mental anguish and distress to my dad. How can anyone treat another person like that. How can people be so ignorant. We are part of community which should not treat each other like this. Kids go to the same school should not see this happening, what would they think. But in general, I think that person is just plain rude. They should do some documentary like "Bowling for Columbine" Limerick style, a bit of logic to bring out the dumbness in some folks who are not kind to others.
I was just thinking (again!). Maybe the overseas Chinese are more materialistic than HK people.
Just think, Chinese people overseas, far away from other Chinese friends and relatives in HK (China, whichever way you think). We pay through the roof to watch Chinese tv, double the price for CDs, movies and food. 20 years ago, we would get Chinese supplies once a year! At least that has changed. But back to materialism, why is it so prodominent in Chinese people? The main thing is MONEY. Wealth plays such a big part of Chinese people's lives, no matter how big or small. It shows what car, house, how successful a business (big or small) you own. And a family, all Chinese kids have to attend University. And Chinese women, all they care about the amount of expensive jewellary they have, and how their own family is better than anyone. Believe me, it is a really horrid conversation to be in. Who cares! Just living comfortably and be modest. What with the Rolexes and stuff, boy! From what I see and hear, the less well off a Chinese person is, the more they blag about their family, and the louder they are. Why? I am just sick and tired of people like that, and they do exist. Wonder if that is the reason why I don't have many Chinese friends. But I do know that IBCs like me feel the same as well.
Now that we are in the 21st century, do overseas Chinese have enough influence from Chinese culture?
For young people who are still at home, and are lucky enough to have satellite to get the Chinese Channel, influence is not as big as curiosity to watch some programmes on the Channel. Tv dramas are just addicted, so leaving that aside, what else is there? For me, when I visit my parents in the weekends, I would watch the daily news, and maybe some gossip programmes. Younger viewers can watch cartoons in the morning, and there are many children's programmes (which actually is a bit cringey), but I noticed that my brothers are either playing console games, or watching children's programmes on BBC, Network2, Sky One etc... I think it is the difference of cultures. One big thing is family. If the whole family speaks in their native Chinese tongue (whether it is Cantonese, Hakka, Mandarin etc) it brings the family together. For me, I feel proud to be able to speak in Cantonese, and go back to HK and talk to my relatives. It makes me want to know more about the Chinese culture such as superstition, history and the differences between living here and over there. I had a very good experience back in 1999, I went to my mom's village for a celebration (Da Jiu), it does not happen often. See piccies at http://www.hyper.150m.com/photo_pages/holiday/HK.htm It was fun and was very new to me. I just hope that other young people also feels the same way as I do. Proud to be Chinese.
My life long dream is to live and work in HK when I was really young. (I dreamt of that when I was in 6th class!) But as I grew older, I notice certain things that HK culture may not be my piece of cake...
I have wondered what it is like to live in HK, and work there of course. HK people are hard-working, that is true. HK people are also very, very materialistic (like any other cosmopolition city nowadays). I am materialistic as well since I have, as they say, some Chinese blood running through me, but I am from a different culture, and the extent of materialism is somehow different. Working in a city in HK can be harsh, they would judge you even more on how you would look, what you wear (and if you are a lass, what jewellary you have) and being very rude indeed. I was looking around for information on hiking in HK and I found this site where backpackers send in their 2 cents on what it is like staying over in HK by ranking some stuff like accomadation, friendliness, scenary etc... Rudeness is still number one. I suppose it is like other cities, where people walk fast and bump into you without apolagising. But one experience I would not forget while I was in a restaurant in Chinatown with my mom, my aunt and her so called friends (all originated from HK). They were trying to out-do each other in the clothes, handbags, jewellaries, son/daughter in University etc. It was hell for me. Meeting up with friends should just be chasing up on the goss (as they say in Dub, "Story, bud?", heh! Only joking). Maybe I have a wrong view of HK people, but this is what I experienced and I think I will only still love HK if I go there on holidays.
Apart from looking and talking like an oriental, there are still differences (before we even get to culturally). Yes, I look oriental, but because of my paler skin colour, I stick out in the crowd while I am in Hong Kong (not much different than me in a crowd in an Irish city :-) ) When I speak Cantonese, it's fluent enough, but I still get caught out in Hong Kong, though I must admit I do get complimented on my fluency in Cantonese (not an excuse, since I have been brought up speaking it).
Now to the culturally different part... From what I heard, usually a HK college student of a good time socially is getting together to a hike, camping or have a BBQ, while here... you got it, the pub, get hammered and to the nearest pub/club after (heh). I remember my cousin (who has studied here in Ireland for quite a number of years) wanted to go to a pub with her sister and auntie, but they do no quite grasp the concept of going to a place like a pub where it is very noisy and smokey (and have a few drunks :-) ), and not go to a cafe instead. There you go, some little differences between an IBC and a HK Chinese. Not all of them, but a small bit.
BANG! A humongous banger goes off somewhere in the Mad Max zone behind Hueston Station. Yup, Halloween is upon us again. To go along with this festive month (dodging fireworks), I may drop into Irish Film Centre to watch "The Eye". A Hong Kong-Thailand movie, part of a horror trilogy. Looks scary and good. Halloween, the night where all the creep spirits and bad things roam the earth in the full moon... In Hong Kong, the Chinese version is in August (Chinese Lunar calendar is 7th Month). The spirit day... I remember I was in Hong Kong during that period with my 3 brothers. One of my brothers has a very bad temper and my dad was thinkiing of bringing him to a temple to ask one of the Gods to look after him, and let him be her step-son. (not sure of the God's name), so nothing bad would happen to him, and hopefully his temper would be controlled. But that was not a good period and dad was afraid that a spirit might take advantage and become attached to my brother. It was spooky when dad was telling me about this, and this was back in 1997. And we burnt alot of paper money to our ancestors, very smokey it was as well. Well, at least the worst that can happen here is being egged and floured, and maybe singed from some kid throwing fireworks around, other then being dogged by a spirit for the rest of your life...
Travelling to HK is so much easier now, even though if I have to make a "quick" stop at Heathrow to fly to HK. Ok, talk about "country girl" as I am (since I am from Limerick, as some people would say only people who are from the Pale are not culchies :) ) Right back to me as a country girl going to a big, bright light city that is HK... teehee...
One thing that strikes me, people talk very fast Cantonese (I mean with many words that I never would have heard of), leaving me most of a time in a very confused state! At least I know enoughto be able to ask for directions and order food. Heh, I get by... No ordering at McDonalds for me.
It is mildly annoying that I feel that I am a foreigner in HK (obviously as I'm an IBC), and equally so when I go through customs in Shannon/Dublin/Heathrow airport, I'm Irish! Just a little peeved when Irish customs look at me and then at my (eek) passport photo with their shifty eyes.
One tip for people when travelling to HK, always know your address of the place you are staying in, well for me anyway as I have a place to crash in when I stay in HK. And their 1st floor is our groundfloor. Boy was that screwy when I tried to get the mail from the old style letterboxes with chinese characters for all the flats.
Summer-time in HK, you can have all the sun you want, but aircon is heaven. But boy, when it rains it buckets down like no tomorrow during the typhoon season, heh, but the lightening effects looks so cool. Anyhoo, that is why I recommend many of my friends to visit HK in the autumn or summer.
Breathing in that intoxicating "fresh" HK air mixed in with humidity (ironically my lifesaver the aircon is also the bad boy contributor to the high humidity) when you step out of the cool air-conditioned Chep Lok Kok airport. (And looking like a complete eejit with long pants, long-sleeved shirt and a jacket... what was I thinking of!) Get into town and into the appartment, and the first thing to do
without questions is light incense at the alter to my ancestors. (I do this every morning, dedicated, eh?)
Breakfast, so much to choose from... heavy starters, you can have dim-sum ("yum cha"). Or noodles in soup with fishballs, or congee with pork and preserved duck egg...mmmmmm... ooh, it comes with chow mein as well. How about some fresh bread ("sai beng")... Have you tried this really wierd drink, it's a cold drink with little squishy balls (called "pearls"). You drink it through a large straw. Oh, and lovely herbal tea or nice fresh fruit juice.
Ocean park... I have not been to HK once without visiting Ocean Park. It's nice to visit and I love going on the cable-cars. Nice view of HK. Now that I mention view of HK, the peak is another cool place to be to check out view of HK, I recommend getting there around 6pm and and stay there till the whole of HK lights up at night... forget taking piccies unless you have a camera with a slow exposure lens (so many photos wasted.)
What I am so amazed by is the public transport system in HK. It's so reliable! In Dublin, I'll be lucky to catch the 20-past DART which has already been delayed by "the late arrival of another train"! Mini-buses, double-deckers, aircon buses, taxis, you name it, you can get it in minutes (less than 10 mins, that is). For me to get an aircon double-decker from the Chep Lok Kok airport to Tai Po, it would cost me only HK$13 (around 2-3 Euro)...and it's a fair distance (45 mins drive).
Talk about getting the bus, one time when I was going up to see the Bronze Buddha on Lantau Island. The bus was going uphill at a steep angle, I mean steep! All I see is the sky when I look ahead. The road was so small, and such a steep drop, I felt so unwell. 30 mins of agony of wanting to throw up, even sucking on preserved prunes did not help, then I finally reached the destination. What a journey up. But the view was awesome, there were wisps of clouds around the buddha, it was like I was in heaven looking at the Buddha. Got my touristy stuff, i.e.the Buddha beaded jewellary, postcards and the chants of the monks cds.
But one thing I would miss very much, is when the plane lifts-off near mid-night from the old HK airport, and the lights of HK was amazing. Now, it is just darkness, with the lights of HK in the distance.
My next trip, I am going to try and do more touristy things... maybe try going hiking. I still haven't gone to Lan Kwai Fong yet. And the rotating restaurant is no more, another place I wanted to go (DOH). Anyhoo, come December 02, I'll be in HK again, baby!
Being an IBC (Irish born Chinese), and from a background of restauranteurs, I find myself being called a banana ("heung giu" in Cantonese), and all you IBCs out there would know that feeling. Being a second generation IBC growing up was a bit lonely.....
(This is partly why I setup kaykays.com). Even though the only Chinese people I ever talk to are family and people who worked in the restaurant and other restuarant, I feel that I am glad that at least I can speak Cantonese. (Although I am still teased that I do not speak Hakka, being from a Hakka background.)
I suppose the only downsides being a banana, I found that I keep thinking in Chinese when speaking in English, and vice-versa. Boy, do things come out differently when whatever is spoken is back-to-front, and confusion sets in my friend's faces. Limerick is not re-knowned for providing IBCs Chinese writing classes (Unlike Dublin and especially Chinatown in London). I tried to learn to read by reading the gossip column in the Chinese paper on Andy Lau and Sammi Cheng! And tried learning the Chinese lyrics from Canto-pop songs. (Yup, did the works...) And we all know we have to at least know how to write our Chinese names, went through so many phases of being dragged kicking and shouting to practice when I was very young. My aunt tried her best to give me, my brother and my cousin (her son) some Chinese lessons during the summer months, with 1st Grade Primary school books. But meeting a friend from Hong Kong changed all that, we spent all of the religion classes in 5th year in secondary school, teaching me how to write. (Ah, the good ol' days)
Now we are in the age of getting Chinese channel broadcast via satellite. I always dreamt of that, and all those lucky people who get to watch it (as I go home every few weeks or so, I don't really catch up with the latest dramas. That only happens during my longer holidays spent at home.). Boy, all those soap dramas are really addictive. There goes my studies back then. Gone are the days of renting over-priced videos of dramas, canto-pop concerts, contests etc. Boy, I still wish there is a store that sells cds, vcds, dvds and cute stationary and stickers (Like the ones in London Chinatown). It would be great to have a shop that sells nice "Sai Beng", a chinese bakery. Heh, at least now Asian supermarkets are opening in the major cities. My mom definately spends most of her time there back at home in Limerick, and what a surprise I got when she came up to visit me and not go down laden with goods from the Dublin Asian supermarket. :)
Ah, the college days, when I am mistaken for an Erasmus student happens quite often. How infuriating! But what I found priceless was there faces when I tell them that "I'm actually Irish!". But my accent does not give me away, alas, they thought I was American (aagh!). Too many Friends and other American sitcoms I assume.
Now, any IBCs who had friends always wanting to curse in Chinese? Heh, I won't mention any here, but for some reason, cursing comes easier to them then saying "thank you" in Chinese. But not all is fun and games growing up in a society where being of Chinese desent is the minority. I would think all IBCs would have grown up with abuse of some kind. I thought some Irish folks would have grown-up by now. Some have, but there is another breed of young pubalescent-who-would-grow-up-to-be-incompetent-buffoons who still thinks otherwise. Why do we have to put up with this rubbish. (Doing well so far, no curse words:) ) Anyhoo, ignorance to these cretins is bliss in my mind sometimes. ignoring their bullish-pre-civilised taunts annoys them even more... hah-hah!
Having relatives in Hong Kong has its advantages. Um, where shall I start, long hot summers, nice food (yummy breakfasts, seafood and bbqs), plenty of cool gadgets (video games, md players, cameras), up-to-date wierd Japanese fashion, nice food (I mentioned that somewhere before, didn't I?), Ocean Park.... and boy the cool high rise buildings. Oh, must not forget cheap vcds, games, dvds, clothes, stationary and other knick-knacks that you can only get in the Far East. But it is always a struggle to get back home with luggage stuffed with mom's dried mushrooms/shrimp/cuttlefish/mango etc. Praying that the bags don't have to unpacked to get rid of some stuff. And when we reach Shannon, running through the euro zone with bags piled taller than me and hoping that the airport officials don't stop me, and fear of unpacking bags fill up my mind again. Then a huge sigh of relief when I get through the doors into the Arrivals lounge, and the look on dad's face wondering how we are going to fit the luggage in the car. One thing about being IBC in Hong Kong, is me being pale skinned (thanks to Ireland's great sunshine) that gives me away that I am born abroad, not my Cantonese.
So what is it like being an IBC banana, not bad. I get to mix and choose between two very different cultures, Irish (Western) and the traditional Chinese culture. We get to celebrate two new years, get money in red packets("lai sees").. and even more when I am in Hong Kong. Great to be young (and not married :) ). Get to go to Hong Kong and have someone you know to take you around touristy places (and shopping). I still need to get a temporary ID card so I can nip through queues in airport immigration, and carry this instead of a passport. Although my cousin mentioned that it was actually quicker for non-Hong Kong residents to get through immigration. Being brought up to speak Cantonese only at home is great, I'm bi-lingual and I am crap at languages (although I like speaking French).
The other downside, well to tell you the truth, being the only eldest Chinese girl was not easy. My family is still sort of in keeping with Chinese traditions, and living at home when I was younger was pretty restraining. Protectiveness was one word I suppose. But I have full respect for my parents and my ancestors. (Yeah, I am a little partial to some of the Chinese tradition). Moving to Dublin 3 years ago liberated me a bit. But being in a city with so many Chinese people, who are mainly here to study from China, makes me feel even more lonely.
So all you IBCs, feel free to comment on this article. Non-IBCs comments welcome also. Thanks everyone for reading this article.
Folks are welcome to send in articles for me to post up. (All articles will be checked before being put up). If there are enough interest, people can mail me to subscribe them to the blog for adding articles. And to all the IBCs out there, don't be afraid to chat on my message board, or post articles here in my blog.
-- Vicky Lee Wei Kay (2002-09-23) --