Thursday, August 07, 2008

Family Matters

Nothing brings together family like weddings and funerals. The female rebels in my family refused fancy weddings (yes, myself included), so sadly, my grandmother's funeral was the first gathering of my extended family in a long time. In fact, I met family members I didn't even know existed.

Apparently, I'm some sort of aunt. The Chinese have different words to denote how one is related to another. So "uncle", is different whether its from one's mother's side, father's side, elder or junior to one's parent etc. By the time the family tree branches out a few generations, the wording gets complicated (and quite onerous). There's this guy (who's older than me) who is technically some derivative of nephew to me. My Great-Grandfather is his great-great-grandfather. I'm a generation older than he is (despite his age being greater) and so I have some form of "aunt" title. Luckily for me, the much simpler (and saner) British ruled HK for a while an my family was happy to dispense with the formalities and stick to referring to each other by name. It would have been really weird to be called "great aunt" since this guy has a kid.

Clearly his side of the family tree is doing a better job of propagating the species than mine is.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Perspectives from abroad

I had no intention of being anywhere near the olympic venues during the games themselves but fate would have it that I recently lost my grandmother and it necessitated a trip to Hong Kong. Hong Kong is also serving as the co-host site city for the equestrian events. Everywhere I go there are signs of Olympic preparedness. I can only hope that Canadians are half as well prepped before the Vancouver games.

The major difference I notice about the games is the news coverage. Here in HK, so far I have seen extended coverage on badminton and table tennis, sports that are seldom covered by Canadian outlets. Whatever the country excels in is what we cover. Here there is little talk of rowing, track, or kayak, sports which CBC covers relentlessly.

The thing that stunned me the most was when I logged onto the CBC news website. I was watching coverage of the olympic torch relay earlier today on local news. I saw the torch go from person to person with such great fanfare. It wasn't I read CBC that I even knew there were protests along the relay path. CBC sported photo of a gigantic "One world, one dream, free Tibet" sign. I doubt most people in HK or China have any idea that such a protest took place (except for the people actually present of course).

Kudos to the propaganda machine.

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