Fresh baked “Fong Bao” from the oven – 方包出爐

Random musings & meditations straight from the oven. Hopefully some food for thought as well…

Archive for The ONE – 做方包的麵包師

The summer that was

Today was the second day of fall and in typical Vancouver fashion, it rained. Hard to believe the driest summer to date has slipped by rather quickly and quietly. Even though it wasn’t an eventful one, the summer of 2010 was sprinkled with some noteworthy happenings.

The start of July marked another season of the AIBC walking tours. Having enjoyed four of the six tours last year, Cdn Gooner and I were looking forward to the conclusion of the series. There is something to be said about being a tourist in your own city and thru these tours I’ve managed to learn and discover so much new facts and information about Vancouver even though I’ve spent 2/3 of my life here. Now the search begins for some new walking tours for next year.

From the world of food, I was fortunate to have sampled the offerings from the likes of Grub, Havana, La Taqueria, Bon Chaz, Deer Garden, Gyudonya, Kiriri and Dougie Dog. Not exactly household names but certainly little gems I would recommend to anyone looking for some new food options.

I did manage to squeeze in a few sessions of footy during and right after the World Cup. Conclusion: There is a reason why most athletes retired in their thirties. As well, I should count myself lucky that, knock on wood, I have yet to hurt myself playing sports of any kind.

Suffice to say I understand and appreciate the affinity a lot of Vancouverites have with Empire stadium even though it was before my time. That being said, I’m certainly not in a position to make any comparisons between the old Empire and the new (and temporary) Empire Field. Billed as a better, more intimate venue I was quite impressed with closeness to the field of play and the sight lines even though I sat in the end zone on two occasions.  Had the weather co-operated, I would have enjoyed the experience more but there was little to complain about.

This summer was also about reconnecting. Whether it was Anime A, an old high school buddy of mine who was in town for a short visit or Rubber Ducky, who moved back from Edmonton, we had a great time catching up and reminiscing about the good old days. I wished we had more time but was grateful for the time we had.

Lastly, some recent events have tested my faith in unexpected ways. It was a lesson on humbleness and patience as well as a reminder that I do need to let go and allow God to take control. Things happen for a reason and things happen in His time.

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What Christmas is all about

Merry Christmas everyone!

The Fong Identity

I no longer serve as much as I used to in the Church but I valued the time that I have interacting with the people that I serve with.

Few Sundays ago I was counting offering with Ms. S and we started talking about bits and pieces of the Hong Kong we used to remember. Ms. S is just a bit ahead of me in terms of life experiences and she told me about an interesting conversation she had with a friend.

This friend and her family came & lived in Vancouver for a few years before moving back to Hong Kong just before the takeover in 1997. Shortly after China regained control, Ms. S received an email from the friend and was told that “things have changed.” When asked to elaborate the friend could not provide an explanation or an example, only to say that she “noticed it” and “felt it.” Ms. S had read one of my first loaves where I wrote,

“…….I realized the Hong Kong I remembered and grew up in was nothing but a distant memory.”

So the question was asked, “Can you explain what has changed?”

Like the friend, I couldn’t answer it.

*******

Frozen TreatAfter lunch, Pie Pie Lo and I went to Queensborough Landing (Btw, lots of new shops there) for a bit of grocery shopping and I made a detour to the Marble Slab Creamery for a frozen treat. While I was eating and staring at that bowl of blob (Vanilla ice cream mixed with Skor, Oreo and Butter Finger in a white chocolate waffle bowl), it came to me.

My answer to THAT question.

Hong Kong has lost its uniqueness.

******* 

For people who grew up in the colonial era, we were told, indirectly, we were different and we aspired to be different from those living in the Mainland because we stood for something China was not. We had, supposedly, better education, better opportunities, better infrastructure, better economy, better living standards, etc. We told the world that we were from Hong Kong, not China. We projected the image that we were forward thinkers, not backward farmers. We used to have a specific term in Cantonese to describe those from the Mainland –「阿燦」. Inherently, we believed we were different and, in many ways, superior.

The takeover (Noticed I used that word instead of handover) took away that uniqueness. Hong Kong was no longer the exotic British colony; no longer the thriving economic nerve center of Asian Pacific; no longer the pearl of the East orient. It is now just another city in Southern China that’s dependent on the Motherland. It is now Hong Kong SAR, China「中國香港」instead of Hong Kong「香港」.

The Bourne IdentityGranted the 14 years I lived in Hong Kong were all during the colonial era so my perspective is likely to be skewed. And I didn’t write this to disrespect any “Mainlanders” because I’ve known and worked with a lot of them who are geniuely awesome people. Having said that, I cannot deny these are my own personal feelings. Like Jason Bourne, I’m just trying to figure out what happened in the past that shaped my identity today.

Any thoughts?

Btw, Happy Canada Day!

Item du jour

Watched the ceremony live 12 years ago and it actually brought tears to my eyes.

Farewell Ceremony of Hong Kong Handover 1997

What is leisure?

I was supposed to lead our care group discussion on leisure, Play & Sabbath tomorrow night but I woke up this morning with a funny sensation in my throat/sinus area. That’s usually a sign that I’ve caught a cold or flu hence I was a bit upset since I haven’t been sick in the summer for a long time. Apparently I was not alone in our group so in the interest of curbing the spread of whatever is going around, we’ve decided to cancel. That gave me some more time to meditate on the whole topic of Leisure, Play and Sabbath since that was all I could do today, resting at home. Here are some questions to ponder:

Do you fill your time off with a list of activities that resembles work?

Do you find yourself “consuming to death” during your time off, much like “working yourself to death” during normal work hours?

Do you find the need to be productive during your time off? And would you feel comfortable if you don’t do anything during your time off?

Do you find yourself more tired after time off than after work?

What’s the difference between leisure and Sabbath?

I came up with a mental To-Do List just days prior to my holiday 2.5 weeks ago. Of the things I didn’t do I actually felt disappointed for not following through. As for some of the things I did do, I felt tired afterwards because I had maintained some sort of a schedule to keep myself on time. Overall, that week off was not as refreshing as it can be.

So here I was today, thinking and trying to make sense of the importance of spending time contemplating/reflecting on the source and goals of my life on earth instead of focusing on myself on this day of “rest”.

Let’s just say this was not as easy as I thought.

Item du jour

“Sabbath seems to be a waste of time, but in reality it is the redemption of time.”

Gustavo Gutierrez