Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fuwa ...and corn?

Spotted at Hong Kong International Airport last week!

Seen more than once in Causeway Bay!

After capturing the attention of the world, the sporting extravaganza that was the 2008 Beijing Olympics has come to a close. Somewhat ironically, I personally found more people transfixed by the events which were taking place in various parts of China during my recent visit back to Malaysia rather than in Hong Kong (officially a part of China since 1997 and this Olympics' equestrian events host). At the same time though, there's no question that there have been more fuwa to be found in the Fragrant Harbour than those who have not been here in recent months can possibly imagine.

Seemingly in every corner -- or, at least, district -- of Hong Kong, there have been fuwa displays about. So I wasn't too surprised to see fuwa at Hong Kong International Airport upon my return to Asia's World City this past week. Passing the fuwa which lots of people -- adults as well as children -- were clambering to take photos with, I did end up doing a double-take upon realizing that what I had previously thought were mere large blow-up dolls actually had people inside of them; something made patently clear when I saw a couple of other fuwa being led by helpers as they made their way to join (or replace?) the fuwa I had seen capturing attention and putting smiles on people's faces in the airport's arrival hall moments earlier.

Setting aside the thought that it must be super-hot (and generally uncomfortable) inside those inflated suits, there's a part of me that got to reckoning that it must be kinda cool to have a job as a fuwa. Kind of like working in Disneyland (though, not necessarily Hong Kong's much criticized mini version of the theme park) -- corny, I know, but as a kid, I used to think it would be great to get a summer job at "the happiest place on earth" doing such as working on the Matterhorn Bobsleds ride -- which, more than incidentally, Hong Kong Disneyland does not have -- and being witness to all that anticipation and excitement of those going on that rollercoaster!

Speaking of corn: There's this giant corn cob -- okay, okay, a person dressed up as a corn cob! -- who can be occasionally spotted near the Sogo in Causeway Bay handing out advertising leaflets for a nearby eatery. Although basically just a more elaborate version of a human billboard (or sandwich man), I've seen happy kids going up to shake its hand and amused grown up folks asking to take photos with it.

So, again... if one had to do a low-paying job, surely that is among those that would be among the more satisfying? (Far more so, for sure, than the seriously mundane one I saw being carried out by a woman at a hotel on my most recent visit to Macau: one involving her using giant metal tweezers to pick up cigarette butts from an ash can's sandy surface and then a slice of cardboard to smooth the sandy surfaces of a series of ash cans installed in various sections of the hotel's reception area...)


A. said...

I can't remember the details very clearly, but years ago my husband had to organise a promotional campaign involving the Disney characters in full regalia. What I do remember is that they were never supposed to forget they were in character. If someone asked them to move, they had to move the way the character moved, and they were never to talk at all. In other words, it was a somewhat more skilled job that I had expected, at least for Disney characters.

Glenn, kenixfan said...

In 7th grade, during some assembly, I got roped into wearing the mascot costume for my middle school -- someone was out sick.

It was a huge paper mache American Patriot/Revolutionary War Minuteman.

It was hot but fun as I ran around like an idiot in that gym.

But, then again, I was only 12 at the time.

YTSL said...

Hi a. --

I have no doubt about what you said. All in all, I reckon that 'becoming' a Disney character is a much more serious and professional business than most people realize!

Hi Glenn --

Glad you got into the spirit of things and had fun being a mascot! :)

sarah bailey knight said...

Hi ytsl,

Panda corn and now people corn????

What's with HK and corn??? Last time I was there the restaurant where I occasionaly ate breakfast served a broth with corn and ham with most breakfast orders.

Is the panda corn a toy?

YTSL said...

Hi sbk --

Funny that you picked up on the corn thang. It's been observed before by, among others, the Big White Guy on his website. To wit: "Hong Kong has a corn fetish. I haven't figured out why, but when I do, you'll be the first to know"!


Also, sorry, have no idea re whether the panda corn (corn panda?). But the friend I went to Ocean Park (German, albeit one who has lived in Hong Kong for 5 years) wondered whether the image came about because pandas liked to eat corn... ;b