Wednesday, February 6, 2008

0802060930 Chinese New Year

It is Chinese New Year and I am fairly disappointed that the general population is not allowed to have fireworks. We are a short drive from the place where fireworks were invented and in Hong Kong we are only allowed to get hollow red cardboard tubes that look like, but do not perform like firecrackers.

Hong Kong is cold right now because it is the middle of winter. The markets have winter clothes for sale and I bought a ski-jacket that would be over $100 in Australia for about four Australian dollars. It looks like the jacket seen in the Chinese propaganda about the glorious workers and how they are the real leaders in China even though they have to dig ditches and subsist on a bowl a rice a day. Here I am on the hill behind our place wearing the $4 jacket.

Working as an English speaking teachers aid's assistant has been an interesting development in this adventure. Some of the Chinese Catholic kids can speak better English than I can speak Cantonese. One has taken great delight in telling me that she can speak English "rather well actually" because her helper speaks English when they go shopping in Japan. The job entails being friendly to about one thousand kids a day by asking them "How are you today?" - the reply is invarably "I am fine thank you" but in varying degrees of accents. The Chinese Catholic kids did a great job of singing the Australian national anthem for Australia Day. (I also have to make lesson plans and teach the lessons.)

In the afternoons, after the last class of the day, but before the first class of the evening, I have to take the kids to the basketball court for the "going home time" collection by the parents. In all the noise and tulmet some of the kids will say goodbye and others will try to chat with me and practice their English. Some of the kids have taken to asking me what kind of food I like and we developed this routine which they will do over and over again.

"Mr. David, what food to you like?"
"I like pizza!"

"Mr. David, what food to you like?"
"I like spagghetti!"
"Mr. David, what food to you like?"
"I like noodles!"
"Mr. David, what food to you like?"
"I like turtles!"
"Turtles? Do you eat turtles?"
"Yes I like to eat turtles - wait a minute, did I say turtles? I mean tomatoes."

And so on until I am rescued by a parent. On Thursday, after four days of this, I went to my evening classes and a few minutes later the Principal, Sister Maria, was at my class with a crying Chinese Catholic School kid. Apparently, I had missed our regular afternoon appointment and had to go through the routine before she could go home.

Alex is back with his family and has a new drum kit. Hugo has also taken up drumming. They have an electronic drum kit which is quieter than an ordinary accoustic drum only up to the point where it starts to be used. Now instead of loud drumming, we hear a tuneless tapping.
Rachel Ruby was in a school play of "Guys and Dolls" - and wowed teachers and audience alike in the role as Ava Abernathy.

Hugo has had a few days off school and is alright now. He caught a Hong Hong flu and had all the usual flu symptoms that can be cured by warm socks, a new fluffy doonah and three days of watching cartoons. Carolyn and Hugo went to the doctor and in one of those incidents that make us say "Oh, so thats how they do this in Hong Kong" - the doctor gave Hugo all the medicine that was needed to releive his suffering. No scripts and no chemist - all part of the consultation.

Carolyn is having a week off over the Chinese New Year.