The Wedding Banquet in Yau Ma Tei

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For the first time in my ten years in HK, I went to a Chinese wedding banquet.

I didn’t have to do much, just sit at my designated table with my wife’s friends and eat whatever they put in front of me. Luckily, no fish with a face or chicken feet, though I would’ve eaten either if forced.

If you’ve never been to a Chinese wedding banquet, it’s basically this:

i] You drink some wine and watch two people on stage introduce the married couple.

ii] If the married couple haven’t already done this, they’ll get a lawyer up there and sign the papers chaining themselves to each other for the rest of eternity.

iii] They show a slide show of pre-wedding pics and baby photos.

iv] Everyone eats as the bride and groom go round all the tables and say hi to the guests.

v] Finally, there’s about 5 days of photo taking.

Oh yeah…before the first step, you have to give red packets to the bride and groom which is basically payment for the meal you’re about to eat. Most banquets require about HK$800 [$100?]

The whole thing actually went pretty fast, even the baby photos.

The married couple were my wife’s friends, so I was sitting on a table with all her other friends, as well as a Japanese couple with a baby.

The last time I met my wife’s friends I used English cos my Cantonese level was shit, but the last month or so I’ve stepped up the learning to 2 lessons a week, so I thought, man, I’m just gonna speak Cantonese, even if they only reply in English.

Turns out my wife’s friends had no idea I knew anything in Cantonese so they went through three stages

i] shock + awe [possibly fake]

ii] Laughter at my tone fuck ups and attempt to say ‘relatives’ [it’s a tough word to say for me]

iii] boredom Continue reading

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The eternal battle [Me vs Cantonese]

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This isn’t horror or sci fi but

I’ve always been interested in languages and

the idea of including them in sci fi/horror more often, mostly cos I’ve rarely seen them done well

e.g. most characters are like Hoshi or Uhura from New Star Trek who are already fluent, which to me takes the interesting part out of it, as if you really wanted to write a decent horror story about a vampire and that vampire is from Hungary then wouldn’t it be creepier if that vampire didn’t speak English

but some kind of old Hungarian

and if the characters are visiting a village in Hungary then what better way to isolate them than having all the villagers speak only Hungarian

no English speakers at all.

Why don’t many films try this?

Why set a sci-fi horror movie in Russia if you’re gonna have all your Russian characters speaking English, even to each other?

It makes no sense.

The Devil called Cantonese

For the last two years I’ve had one Cantonese lesson a week and that’s it.

One lesson about 90 minutes long, nothing else, except sometimes when my adrenaline’s up I’ll watch old HK movies on youtube and ask my wife, what did he say, what did she say, what did they say, over and over until she gives up and finds a version with subtitles. Continue reading