Food, Weddings, and McDonald’s Toys

It’s been a while, and I can’t think of a good title. Well at least the topic is clear?

I remember when I was still in Japan, I wrote something about wasting food. How I would eat maybe 60% of my dish and leave the rest, and I felt so many eyes staring at my unfinished plate. Well, what I finally realized is that in Vancouver, we would usually pack the rest of our dinner and take it home to finish, even if there was only a little left. That doesn’t happen in Japan, nor Hong Kong, so these locals see leftovers as a waste. Now, the difference is that in Japan, I could feel people being a lot more conscious not to waste food. Here in Hong Kong, people don’t mind leaving food unfinished, but they don’t take the food home either. It literally goes straight to the garbage can… and that’s a real waste. It’s gotten to a point where there are actually commercials being aired on TV, and billboards being put up to urge people to be more conscious about this problem.

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I also mentioned a few upcoming weddings to attend, and I’m excited and all for them, but there’s also a very sad side to all of this commotion. The general Chinese custom is for guests to give their blessing in the form of red envelopes, for the same reasons why we get red envelopes around Chines New Year. It just sounds good, red is a lucky colour, and there’s a good connotation behind it (in the Chinese way of thinking). But… how do I say this? Hong Kong has very interesting culture. After a particular incident that got blown up in social media, they now have a “price” for attending weddings. At first, I thought this was just an internet thing, but as I conversed more with my coworkers and friends, it turns that this has become a norm. The groom (ie. the one usually paying for almost everything) pretty much expects a certain amount of money from each guest, even if they aren’t planning on attending. Once you receive an invitation, you’re obliged to give a certain amount of money as lucky red pocket money to the pair of newlyweds. As a result, this action of handing out wedding invitations has been dubbed as “handing out bombs”.

I’d like to believe that not everyone thinks this way, and that’s why my friends asked whether we want to go to the wedding before handing out invitations – to avoid “bombing” us with that burden. Nevertheless, that term still floats around our office (even though we’re all just kidding about it), and it saddens me to hear such a negative word associated with what should be a celebration of love. When we ask the grooms how much we should give, of course they would say “whatever your heart wants to bless us with” – and I know they won’t really mind. But as the conversation goes on, you realize that they do have some sort of expectation to make money from the wedding. Otherwise, why would you plan a huge upscale wedding at a hotel when you clearly cannot finance it on your own? In fact, it’s well-known that weddings are a good business opportunity. It’s a big party that’s all about money. Whatever happened to love and marriage?

Let’s end off on a not-so-depressing note. McDonald’s here is currently selling toys from the Mr. Men & Little Miss series of cartoons. Being the kid that I am, of course I had to get them! I had my eyes set on Mr. Happy and Little Miss Sunshine from the start, and so now they’re hung up at my desk. Seeing them waiting for me at work everyday makes me happy!

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