Friday, December 25, 2009

Seasonal cheer (with a Hello Kitty twist)

Yesterday, a Jewish-American friend wished me, an agnostic Malaysian, "Merry Christmas" without any irony. "Only in Malaysia!" (where I currently am back on holiday) was my first reaction.

Except, after living in Hong Kong, I could see this kind of exchange happening there too! And this especially after recalling a recent conversation with a friend in Hong Kong (another Jewish-American, as it so happens; albeit one who has lived in Hong Kong for 25 years!) about how it can seem to be that for many people in both Hong Kong and Malaysia, "Christmas" is more about holidays, Santa Claus, presents and shopping than anything else -- with snow and Christmas trees (but little Christianity) often thrown into the decorative equation.

With that in mind, here's a seasonal mini-photo (cum comments) essay below to mark this time of the year (with -- look away now, Hello Kittyphobes -- a distinctly Hello Kitty theme!):-

The regular season for Hong Kong to get Hello Kitty-fied
is summer but this year, the 35th of the cute cat's existence,

Hello Kitty mania has come to the fore in winter too
with, among other things, Japan's official tourism ambassador
leading the winter installment of the Visit Japan campaign

Smiling Sanrio faces at the Maritime Square mall
that is playing host for 50 days (including
Christmas day itself)
to Sanrio Village

In the area of Tsing Yi MTR station leading
to Maritime Square (note the Christmas stockings
in the picture though, for me, what matters more
is the abundance of family members in the equation)

Objects of adoration - past, perennial
and once but no longer?*

*This time of the year also is one during which I tend to reflect on what I am grateful for. And that last photo allows me to confirm in one single photograph how Hong Kong really is a place
where I can indulge in my love of Hong Kong movies (that's the Seven Little Fortunes -- the subject of a recent Hong Kong Film Archive programme retrospective -- in the poster on the left) as well as Hello Kitty.

Lastly, for those Hong Kong filmophiles who continue to nurse some affection for the fallen angel that's Gillian Chung, here's a present of sorts by way of an image of the now definitely lesser Twin in an ad for... Botox in the poster on the right. Not particularly ideal for any occasion, I'd think, but Brian, you did ask for pictures of "the real Twins" a while back... ;b


ewaffle said...

Unless she already has an entourage, Hello Kitty will probably need a number of aides to keep her schedule straight as she deals with her new ambassadorial duties plus a security detail for all her motorcades.

Several years ago we made the acquitance of a woman had what I thought was an excessive collection of Hello Kitty branded items--a toaster, for example--but realized that "excessive" and Hello Kitty don't really belong in the same sentence.

Our extended family which includes devout Roman Catholics, devout (not really the right term) Buddhists, occasionally doctrinaire Marxists and much else and which this year is scattered from Afghanistan to Chicago and Montreal to Cordoba, Argentina, does its best to welcome those who have joined us (marriage, birth, adoption, discovery), mourn/remember those who have left us and pray/hope for peace and well-being for anyone we can think of.

Which this year will include Hello Kitty as she embarks on her new responsibilites. ;-}

YTSL said...

Hi ewaffle --

Teeheehee re your Hello Kitty comments... to which I'll add that with all those duties, it's a wonder that she doesn't get her twin sister, Mimi, to share some of them.

Re that woman with the not so excessive Hello Kitty collection: I don't think she had as many items as an elderly woman I met years ago too -- even her doorknobs had Hello Kitty's visage on them! :D

Anonymous said...

YTSL, I'm so glad that you didn't include Botox in your list of Hong Kong indulgences. ;p

Merry Christmas! Best wishes to you and your family. :D

sarah bailey knight said...

hi ytsl,

Wonderful Hello Kitty photos. The escalator looks fantastic. I might be becoming a Hello Kitty fan....

Happy Holdiay to you and your family and everyone who posts here.

YTSL said...

Hi duriandave --

Teeheehee and no fear re Botox ever becoming an indulgence of mine! ;D

And seasons greetings -- and happy holidays -- to you and yours. :)

Hi sbk --

What? You're not a fan of Kitty Chan yet?? ;b

In any event, happy holidays to you and yours too. :)

Brian said...

Thanks! To echo Oliver Twist, "More Gillian, please"! Wherever and whenever - she is still much cuter than Hello Kitty even with the Botox!

YTSL said...

Hi Brian --

Tsk, tsk -- both re your wanting more and thinking that Gillian remains cuter than Hello Kitty! :O ;(

ootorirei said...

Brian, if you like to see Gillian, come drop by her fans' thread here

Sorry to the owner of this blog for disturbing. LOL.

YTSL said...

Hi ootorirei --

Normally, I'd consider comments like yours to be spam but in this case, I think I'll let it stand since it might be a way of satisfying Brian's appetite for more Gillian pics/info... ;b

Anonymous said...

Hello, you wrote:

>Yesterday, a Jewish-American friend wished me, an agnostic Malaysian, "Merry Christmas" without any irony. "Only in Malaysia!" (where I currently am back on holiday) was my first reaction.>

Yes, well many people in Malaysia wish me "Happy Christmas" simply because I'm Caucasian. Perhaps they think all Caucasians are Christians. At this point, I just welcome the "Happy Christmas" as a warm gesture rather than take it as a sign of ignorance.

And, plenty of non-Christian Malaysians get into the spirit of Christmas -- just as non-Hindus join in the Thaipusam procession (usually in January), carrying offerings to Lord Muruga.

I love that about Malaysia.

Anonymous said...

I am pleased to discover a place where I can talk with people who also enjoy the writings of Delderfield. Very few of my peers have ever read or heard of him as an author. I recently had to complete one of those silly survery things in a graduate English class and one of the questions was "What book(s) would you take if you knew you were going to be stranded on an island?" I immediately put "God is an Englishman" triliogy. (counting it as one story)The younger students thought it was a book of Religion, and only the professor had a vague idea of who the author was...... very sad, very sad. But it has been my favorite "go to" book ever since I first read it in the late 1970's. Of course, I have read his other works and they are all wonderful, but that particular series is my very favorite. Thanks for providing a place to post and share with other lovers of literature and Delderfield.
signed, PLHT

YTSL said...

Hi Anonymous #1 (Lucy, is that you?) --

I'm not Caucasian but get wished "happy Christmas" a lot in Malaysia. I remember once, on the last leg of a trip back home from the US, a Muslim Malay stewardess wished me "happy Christmas" as I was leaving the plane. And yeah, that got me thinking "it's good to be back home!" ;)

Hi Anonymous #2 (PLHT) --

I'm glad you got such joy out of making the acquaintance of a fellow fan of the writings of RF Delderfield -- and assume you had come across one or both of the following blog entries:-


Right now, I have his "Diana" -- which I'm saving for a rainy day. It's so hard to come across his books that I snap up each "new" one I can find -- more usually in used than new bookstores, alas!

Anonymous said...

Any thoughts from other R. F. Delderfield readers?

YTSL said...

Hi PLH --

Perhaps if you tried to re-start a conversation on the Delderfield specific posts, it might work better? ;b