Monday, November 14, 2005

Give Thanks - Even in Hong Kong

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

I like it because it basically can't be ruined.

Christmas is no longer a religious holiday but an excuse to spoil children. New Year's eve is simply an excuse, as if any was needed to get drunk. July 4th doesn't play well outside the US. San Jacinto day is only a big holiday in Texas. Memorial day is not celebrated in Hong Kong and they don't even want to learn about Labor Day here!

However, I find that many of my Chinese friends find Thanksgiving to be a wonderful holiday. They enjoy, what for them are exotic foods and the history of the holiday is a good introduction to American history. One year we had a group of mainlanders eat Thanksgiving with us. While they found some of the foods not to their taste others they really liked. But what was really great was that they came away from that table with a new and I think better and more true vision of America.

It is hard, I guess unless you are a turkey or a ham to not like Thanksgiving.

It is also I think, hard to grumble about people being genuinely thankful for having enough food and and adequate housing. If ever there was a good reason to start a holiday then Thanksgiving is it. Europeans don't seem to understand the holiday but the Australians I've met do. I don't know why this is.

I find it interesting that even the commercial aspects of Thanksgiving are still somewhat wholesome. Watching the Cowboys play on Thanksgiving day with our brothers and fathers and wives and mothers is a good thing. Indeed, the only day that I am a fan of American football is on Thanksgiving day. Washing the dishes together. Baking the pies and setting a table for Thanksgiving are moments that many remember as their fondest moments of childhood. The Thanksgiving day parades. The sandwiches. The casseroles! The three weeks of post Thanksgiving weight loss which is ruined by Christmas parties! It simply doen't get any better than Thanksgiving.

In my family Chinese vegetables such as Bok-Choi have replaced broccoli and taro once replaced sweet potatoes but we celebrate Thanksgiving every year.

This year our daughter will be gone and so my wife and I have arranged to have two seamen from a visiting US navy ship come and eat with us. The group that organizes this is hoping that some of the ex-pat families here will reach out to the sailors and make them feel less homesick. In my case I think the opposite will be true. Thanksgiving day is one of the two or three times a year that I really feel like an alien in Hong Kong. It will be a good thing to have my countrymen in our humble flat and eat and talk and drink some beer and maybe watch the Cowboys via cable tv.

So, this year. Whoever you are, wherever you are from; take some time on November 24 and give thanks. You'll feel better for having done it.

Until next time
Fai Mao
The blogger who gives thanks

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