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I know this is my longest blog post yet, but if you treat it like a short story in a book, by an amateur girl who likes to write, then it might be good entertainment 😀 I decided to split it up into sections because it would make a massive post if it were all amassed into one chunk. This is the first part of a series that I’ll be blogging, and the only public post of the series (after which it becomes too intimate/private to blog publicly. Please email me to request the password of the subsequent private posts).

My 2.5 months of holiday in Hong Kong was probably the most memorable of all the holidays I’ve had in Hong Kong, and perhaps, this statement may even extend to all the holidays I have ever had in my life. It may partially be due to the fact that:

  • it’s my longest stay in HK since I emigrated (from 18 Nov to 10 Feb),
  • or perhaps the first time I could immerse in the festivities of Chinese New Year since I left HK (i.e. 10 years),
  • or the seemingly unending succession of celebrations – Christmas, my birthday, New Years, my dad’s birthday, Chinese New Year…) – accompanied with luscious indulgences and subsequent agony of witnessing my face becoming progressively inflated…
  • or the first time I lived with my step-mother, Auntie Grace, and witness my dad’s life turn around, happier than I had ever seen him be for a long time…

But, by far, the most notable factor that contributed to such an indelible imprint on me was the opportunity to work at Hong Kong Disneyland (HKDL) (13 December to 29 January). Although a large part of this holiday’s unforgettability is due to the evocative experiences I had in DL, I think that merely working alone is enough to make one appreciate the times when playing is allowed… Note that this was the first paid job I’ve had outside employment of a family business. I suppose that’s partly why this has been so poignant for me: I was thrown down the deep end: thrown into a really unfamiliar environment… unfamiliar with everything imaginable, from the people, to the language, to the rules and regulations, to the huge place (read: labyrinth)! Although they say HKDL is the smallest of all the DLs, it was no easy task to memorise both the onstage and backstage locations….

The following passage will track down, in the following format: the chronology of a series of events that led to me getting the job; the daily routine of my working days there; a few tidbits and anecdotes about the stalls I worked at and interesting happenings each day; the numerous rules I broke; the colleagues I met there; and of course, the obligatory happy sappy ending about what I had learned and nostalgic reminiscences yadda yadda.

It all started in Australia. I received an email from Auntie Grace in early September 2010, where she asked whether I would be interested in working as a seasonal staff in HKDL. Auntie has a friend of a friend who works in the HR department of HKDL, so I bypassed the job hunting process and sent in a CV, with this in my reply:

I was thinking of doing work, but I wasn’t sure where, especially since my Chinese is not very good.. I thought of maybe a waitress or shop assistant in shops/restaurants in Central or the Peak (where there are more English-speakers), but I’d love to work at Disneyland too! I highly doubt I would be able to work there though, since my Cantonese is only soso and I cannot even speak mandarin (I think there are a lot of mainland Chinese going to Disneyland, right?) Anyway I will try my best.

Note the highlighted part, “I’d love to work at Disneyland!”…my my my…. Everybody thinks working at DL would be like a dream come true, but gosh, things were put into perspective when reality hit.

Later, I was told that Disneyland called my dad’s home phone to arrange an interview for me in early November, but my parents told them to call on the 19 Nov. The day after my arrival in HK, I was keen to receive the call from them, waiting with both trepidation and anticipation… Unfortunately, HKDL is very elusive (and my impression of them still remains that way), and I had no way of procuring their number to take matters into my own hands! Finally, in the afternoon, after a few false alarms, the phone rings. (my poor translation from the little information I could make out from the super-fast-speaking Cantonese lady)

“Hello?”

“Hi, is this Bonnie?”

“Yes, I am.”

“This is HKDL calling. Are you still interested in the seasonal job here?”

“Yes.”

“Okay, you’re scheduled for an interview on 22 November, at 3.15pm. Do you know how to get here?”

“Um… I know I catch the MTR…”

“Yeah, go to the HKDL MTR station, then walk straight ahead, turn right at the green sign, then go to the 招聘中心 (I now know this is the recruitment centre). You need to bring your HK ID card, proof of residence, and a bank statement.” (at the time, I had great difficulty understanding everything she said in Cantonese terminology and I was utterly confused….)

“Um… okay then.. Thanks.”

“Alright, see you there. Bye bye.”

So there I was left with a bewildered look as I gazed down on the scribbles on the paper of the poorly romanised Chinese words and crap English translations that I couldn’t quite get. Oh well, I thought… I’ll just have to make do.

I had in my possession a valid HK ID card and I sincerely hoped they would accept my father’s electricity bill as my own proof of residence, so what was left was the bank statement. I did not have a HK bank account at the time… with just 3 days until the interview, it was far too late to create one. So again, I hoped for the best and took my dad’s bank statement with me, wondering if they would accept my request for my salary to be deposited there.

The Interview

Before I knew it, three days passed and I got ready for my interview, scrubbing myself up and wearing half-decent clothes (although I only had sneakers to wear). “You should wear makeup, maybe they want you to look beautiful!” my domestic helper of 16 years, Minerva 姐姐, said to me… My parents insisted that I travel to HKDL in the company of Miner 姐姐, despite my assertion that I’d be fine on my own. So on that day,

– I left the apartment down to Queen Mary Hospital bus depot,

– catching the Green Mini Bus 55 down to Central,

– walking to Central MTR station Exit A, then a 5-minute walk underground across to Hong Kong Station (with the help of a travelator), through to the platform serving the Tung Chung line,

– taking the 30-minute-ride all the way to Lantau Island (Sunny Bay), the interchange station for transfer to the Disneyland Resort Line

– waiting ~5 minutes for the specially designed Disneyland themed train, with its Mickey Mouse windows and ceiling handles and golden Disney figurines… for the 5 minute ride to the magical world of Hong Kong Disneyland… then came the haunting (in my own scarred mind of too many early mornings of half-asleep “I don’t wanna go to work” moanings… in fact, it is supposed to be very cheerful!) music, followed by the speaker phones blaring “Welcome to the Disneyland Resort line!” (and the Cantonese and Mandarin version prior)… “We will soon arrive at the magical world of Hong Kong Disneyland.” …. “Disneyland Resort station, have a magical day.”

a lengthy and tedious 1.5 hour journey that I was soon to become all too familiar and dreary with. But on this day, it was a journey filled with both trepidation and anticipation.

To be continued…

Breathtaking movie, beautiful men, beguiling music… Hans Zimmer – Time (Inception)

Am I truly living the life I want to be living? Is it an impossible ideal?

I want to dream, dream forever… But I cannot escape from reality, for that would be a lie.

Sometimes I wonder whether it’s a blessing or a curse that I have the intrigue and curiosity to think so hopelessly philosophically about life and all its mysteries, yet be so utterly ignorant about what everything is all about.

I like the rain.

It’s like the sky is crying with you…

 

 

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2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,600 times in 2010. That’s about 6 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 2 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 17 posts.

The busiest day of the year was May 13th with 63 views. The most popular post that day was 中秋節.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were twitter.com, facebook.com, hello-bye.blogdrive.com, danns-nobody.blogspot.com, and freeliketrees.blogdrive.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for graduation clip art, graduation cap, graduation cap clip art, free graduation clip art, and graduation clip art images.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

中秋節 October 2009
4 comments

2

Embracing braces May 2009
2 comments

3

Profile October 2008
3 comments

4

Archives November 2008

5

Ice skating April 2010
2 comments

 

Of course, the fact that I wrote just one blog post in 2010 is rather pathetic. Sorry folks, it just seems I’ve been snowed over by so many things… I’ll try and write more in 2011!

Imagine yourself to be among pristine white surrounds, on the glassy surface of an ice lake. The vitreous glaze glows with a heady radiance that feels so ironic on a cold winter’s day. The ice liberates you from the wearisome clutches of friction; farewell to the mundane walking on predictable ground. Amongst the serene backdrop of silhouettes of willowy trees, snow-topped mountains and city skyline, you are gliding along, graceful and carefree, atop the vitreous veneer that conceals the cavernous chasm engulfed with infinitely beautiful lattices of countless snow crystals. Each crystal has its own unique multi-faceted character, seemingly negligible as a sole crystal, yet united together, form the majestic natural wonder for your feet, eyes and soul to float, feast and fathom upon.

One day, when I’m in a sufficiently cold enough place, I will experience this daydream… And Snoopy makes my heart melt!

In July, 2009, my brother sent me an email about a competition offered by totaltravel.com entitled: “Win a family holiday in Canberra! – Wrapt in Canberra”.

Apparently, ‘wrapt’ is the archaic form of wrapped. Perhaps it is implying one needs to be bundled up with >10 layers, or a pun to being ‘rapt’ in the city.

The question to be answered was this:

“What’s your favourite winter experience in Canberra? (50 words or less)”

Now I thought that was quite a funny question because winter in Canberra can get pretty darn piercingly cold, and I remembered when I visited for my brother’s graduation for his undergraduate degree, it was quite a bleak and desolate place when the icy winds engulfed the town. Nevertheless, I thought I might get my creative writing juices flowing and went ahead with this entry:

Canberra’s beautiful scenery is shrouded in an aura of mystique as the misty fogs waft through the maze of mountains, architectural masterpieces, and national landmarks. The tranquil streets impart a bittersweet enchantment as the wintry winds sweep through; a uniquely mysterious beauty no other Australian capital city can parallel.
(49 words!)

Now perhaps it was the slightly melancholic words ‘shrouded’, ‘fogs’ and ‘bittersweet’ (Canberra does look slightly dramatic/melancholic in winter…can’t deny that, but melancholic drama often has a lot of depth…), or the slightly wild and abstract undertones, but I didn’t win. Well, I thought I might use this as an easy post to this much-neglected blog of mine (it takes a long time to write an eloquent and crafted prose!). Nevertheless, I got to visit my brother and his fiancée during a more hospitable season (summer! But it was still cold!) at the end of the year, and had a great time :).

Is it not almost inconceivable to the mind that this moon is the same one that friends afar separated by the oceans can see; the same one that ancestors from a thousand years ago once gazed upon, perchance thinking these exact same thoughts?

Some memories of Moon Festival from HK:

I’ll miss playing with the red candles’ wax on park benches since they prohibited it 10 years ago (as I saw on TV) – moon cake tins then became the new base on which to create the red sculptures…

The simple joy that the beautiful paper lanterns could impart, and how connected we felt when we saw other children also holding their beautiful paper lanterns passing by the park.

The roadside shops dedicated to the myriad of different handmade lanterns…and how special we felt when we got the expensive and unique rabbit (with wheels!) lantern. I lamented how the lanterns the children held became progressively more plastic/electric-ised as I grew older.

My love of the lotus seed paste in mooncakes as we ate it under the moon… so much so that I would pick out the prized duck egg yolk core. Oftentimes I’d play around with the smooth, oily, lotus seed paste, treating it in a play-doh manner and rolling it into shapes of 1cm balls/cubes, before eating each artistically crafted morsel.

The legend of the ‘lunar deity’ is a fascinating one, yet, as much as I squinted my eyes, I could only see a rabbit in the full moon.

Living in Australia, this yearly ritual never occured. It’s not mid-autumn, it’s mid-spring here. But the moon that I gaze upon, shall never be changed.

中秋節快樂

Today, nay, tonight, as I traversed through the way back home, I gazed in awe at the beautiful Moon. It was the same Moon that I had seen for 19 years: full-round and circular, and emanated a silver aura down to the dark Earth below. But that was not what was of marvel … it was the wispy veil of clouds, shrouding across the Moon, that imparted it with mysterious beauty.

Moonlight imbued through the patch of clouds, like a glowing mother-of-pearl with the brilliant gem (the Moon) residing so preciously within. I continued walking, and the skies transformed yet again. This time, the pearl was swept awash in a fluffy, satiny gossamer, like the remnants of the trail imprinted by a gown’s train of the goddess floating across the skies.

Embracing braces

(if the tenses seem completely incongruent, it’s not because I have a completely warped sense of time (or maybe I do, but not so much that I can’t tell the difference between yesterday or two months ago!), but because, as usual, I procrastinated posting this and so it combines experiences from when I first got braces fitted to present (2 months later)).

It’s been such a long time because of my mother’s (dentist) insistence on ‘settling down’ before starting orthodontic treatment. Since we were moving around like nomads during my teenage years, the prerequisite for braces was not met, and we never got around to it till I saw a periodontist and he strongly advised I do get braces. So, in these few weeks, my mum found a good orthodontist, pulled out four of my teeth (originally she didn’t have the inclination to extract her own daughter’s teeth (like taking one’s own flesh?!), but then the disconcert probably subsided), got separators put in last week, and today got the brackets cemented on and the archwires pulled through. The whole process isn’t as daunting as it seemed. I’ve never had teeth pulled out, so naturally I was anxious… but it didn’t actually hurt. The injections hurt… especially the upper gum, but somebody was really clever and told me to think of it as just like ant stings (speaking of which, an ant bit my knee the other day and now puss is squirting out. yummy). The important thing is try not to panic! I did panic a bit and felt quite dizzy: breathe in slowly and deeply, to avoid that happening (easier said than done!). The actual extractions didn’t hurt a bit, I think the pain is more psychological, as if you’re forever removing a healthy part of yourself. But it’s necessary, at least in my case of severe overcrowding. After the anaesthesia wears off, there will be a dull pain on the site where the teeth were, lasting no more than one to two days, but the worst bit is having to taste your own blood.

The separators are just tiny little rubber bands that are placed between your back teeth to allow for space to place the bands. They are good because they allow you to get accustomed to the sort of ‘discomfort’ you’ll get with braces in smaller areas and without the strange metal contact a week before the actual braces are fitted. The ache only occurs when you’re chewing down on food: otherwise it doesn’t hurt.

I was pretty indecisive about whether to get ceramic or metal brackets (for the upper teeth, metal is needed for lower): I know they all say it’s about the same, but I was still unsure and wasted a lot of time researching about it on the internet. While most people my age would think that ceramic braces are more aesthetically pleasing, I have to say I think metal braces are way cuter. At the very last minute (literally), while sitting on the ortho’s chair, I finally decided on ceramic braces. They are indeed a bit bigger and have a smoother texture than metal braces, but after a week, you get so accustomed to the feeling that the feeling has habituated (unaware sense). There are times when ulcers will develop because of the constant friction with soft gums, but they clear up. Braces has definitely made oral hygiene even more laborious because you have to thread the floss through each wire and the actual braces themselves are such obstructive things, but I noticed that interdental cleaning is easier because of the bigger gaps. Eating food is also quite annoying when everything gets jammed in between the wires, refusing to budge even with vigorous mouth rinsing, and you keep tasting your lunch from 4 hours ago as the flavours (that also taste strange because the enzymes have degraded it!) seep out.

I have had one adjustment (monthly), and while the process itself does hurt a little, the pain afterwards was nowhere near as intense as the first fitting, when I was forced to eat soggy Weet-Bix the next morning (my previously most hated breakfast food: but now it seems I am “Australian-ising” and becoming less picky…), and pureed (baby) food for a week afterwards (not really baby food. Pureeing the common family dinner… but even chicken was a bit tough and required some sore gnawing even after pulverisation). I think I loved the blender during that time because it allowed me to evade the usual Chinese “remedy-for-all-ailments” of congee (which I am not fond of at all!)… After that week, I was able to chew on pretty much anything, and after a fortnight, even hard foods like apples and nuts are okay to bite on (although they say to avoid nuts.. obviously I’m not a good patient am I?! I’ve also been eating Twix lately, hopeful the caramel isn’t that detrimental… :P).

Results are clearly and quickly visible. Only just two months into treatment and it’s already straightened considerably, especially the lower teeth. It makes me at awe of the wonders of technology and love orthodontics (I think orthodontists have an unfair advantage to all other dentists because everybody loves getting straight teeth without too much pain!). However, the heart-wrenching thing is the loosening of my teeth… I am wishful that they will still be an intact part of me for a long time to come…

Some interesting things I notice about what has happened because of braces… (I know, just two, pretty pathetic list eh?):

~I can’t whistle loudly! (like I proudly could before! Only a very weak, pathetic one!) Something to do with the hole that the lips form?

~Before, my top right canine (which formed a lump (anterior) on the gum) always (or… a lot of the time) had an itchy feeling. Now it is only occasional.