What My Mother Speaks

As Chinese New Year approaches (the best holiday, really, with the optimum permutation of food, family festivities and money), it is inevitable that I would contemplate how much more concrete the ‘Hong Kong’ facet of my identity has become since spending two years abroad. And enclosed within that facet, as the city is plastered with more and more fai chun (auspicious characters and couplets calligraphed onto bright red paper), is the problem of my mother tongue.

Against my own (and my family and friends’) expectations, I enrolled in a Hong Kong university four months ago. Since my early childhood, initially for no other reason than a romanticised Great Britain constructed from The Five Find-Outers and Harry Potter, I had always envisioned myself studying in the halls of some centuries-old English institution for my university career. It was only when I reached the wholly surprising conclusion that yes, I do want to be a doctor, and yes, I want to be a doctor in Hong Kong, that I grudgingly admitted Hong Kong is the most practical choice. Continue reading “What My Mother Speaks”

Christmas Wish

How often had I aspired
To sit beside a crackling fire
In obnoxiously festive lounge attire,
As carols sung by distant choirs
Float o’er the Isles to me.

How fervidly had I admired
Literature so oft inspired
By such fantasies as heavy snow,
Love requited under mistletoe,
Or an authentic Christmas tree.

How earnestly did I conspire
For mulled wine (or if you so desire,
Hot cocoa) with friends and family
And an altruistic shopping spree
In remembrance of Nativity.

How often do I still conceive
The quintessential Christmas Eve.
Yet the heavens cruelly disagree –
Instead, this year it gifts to me
A frigid twenty two degrees.

It was actually 22°C though. 😒 Nevertheless, have a very Merry (last five minutes of, if you live in Hong Kong like me) Christmas with late-night rom coms and Mariah Carey! 🎄 In the spirit of this poem, a fun fact: the original lyrics of White Christmas actually included an opening verse describing the disappointingly warm weather in Los Angeles. Most recordings omit it, but you can still find it in Barbra Streisand’s 1967 album!