Kung Hei Fat Choi! Gong Xi Fa Cai!
Happy New Year! It’s Chinese New Year, or the festival of Têt, as the Vietnamese call it. This is one of my favourite times of year, when everything is bright and cheery, and there is a meaning or significance to everything that you eat and partake of in the Asian community. I look forward to this event as if I were Chinese myself. I have cleaned up the house, hung up the red lanterns, dug out some of my red clothing and even placed a lucky bamboo centrepiece in our kitchen.
Notwithstanding my numerous red garments, I have added another one, a dragon’s blood-red skirt with black velveteen lines. I purchased the fabric at a proper discount price well before Christmas 2011, but could not find the time to design and sew it. I was not going to let the year of the Water Dragon be ushered in without this one hanging in my closet. The skirt took about 10 hours to put together. It turned out exactly as I thought it should. Perhaps I am getting better with practice! I have worn the skirt already, pairing it with a black sleeveless, velvet top.
Last Saturday, The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Toronto hosted a marvellous Chinese New Year benefit event at the Markam Hilton, with lots of fun and frolic. Five sleeping lions got their eyes dotted by a slew of dignitaries, including Bob, and suddenly woke up, sprang into action, and pranced to the sound of traditional Chinese drums. Well, talk about an event! From sampling Scotch with chocolate, to nibbling on dumplings and sushi before dinner, the atmosphere was congenial and friendly. I even tried out a yet-to-be-released Chloe fragrance, expertly presented by four lovely sirens wearing pale aquamarine dresses.
The dinner was superb. I have to hand it to the chef. I have never eaten Black Cod prepared like this. The fillet with large velvety flakes was perfectly poached, imparting the sweet and tangy taste of miso to the palate. One word: excellent. And I was not the only one with this opinion. One of the first guests at my table to remark on the perfection of the fish dish was a New Zealander, and she should know. The Black Cod hails from the waters off of her native land.
Enough about food. Music for the evening was provided by the Michael Vieira Band. A well seasoned and highly talented group, I was thrilled with their vast repertoire, covering the big band era to modern day music. Imagine my shock and amazement when one of the two talented female vocalists announced: “and now we want to pay tribute to the late great Etta James”. Her rendition of At Last left me speechless.
The dragon and the sheep
In the Chinese Zodiac, I am a Sheep. Bob is a Dragon. There are five types of Dragons in Chinese mythology: the first Dragon who filled the hole in the sky made by monster Kung Kung; Dragons that guard emperors and gods; Dragons that control wind and rain; Dragons that deepened the rivers and seas; and Dragons guarding lost or hidden treasure.
The year of the Water Dragon is one to which I especially look forward. The Dragon symbolizes strength, luck and new beginnings. These are all the things I wish for in 2012.