Friday, February 01, 2013

I don't know my own strength

Chinese New Year was in full swing again this evening, so we tried shutting our windows so we could hear ourselves think. I reached up to one of the windows above the washbasin, which we haven't moved in almost a year, tugged on the handle, and it came off in my hand. Perhaps all these strength exercises the Kinect is putting me through are actually having some effect.

The apartment is gradually falling to bits. Nothing structural (yet) but lots of small things are working loose. The hatch over the rubbish chute doesn't shut properly any more (after nine months of good performance) and at six months the plastic hooks that we used to hang our washing from the ceiling turned to dust and blew away. Then again, we've been using the same gas cylinder since March, so there are some pros to this flat of ours. I'm just worried in case the floor disintegrates suddenly one evening and we end up on the 20th floor.

The Chinese New Year celebrations have been going on for two weeks now. I think that means there's two more weeks to go. When I see a lion dance, I automatically start shutting windows and turning up the volume on any television sets. It's not cultural insensitivity, it's a Pavlovian reaction. Does that count as an excuse?

Living in Chinatown during Chinese New Year but not eating meat is a confounding experience. I walk to work past long queues of people desperate to purchase bakkwa at 8 in the morning. It's dried, barbecued pork. Surely that's a food that doesn't need to be purchased fresh every morning: why is everyone lining up for it? I'd stop and ask if there's only a certain ration you can buy every day, but I might get my ticket punched.

Still, apart from the bakkwa queues, the never ending music and the comedy giant snake, floating above the street like an inappropriate children's toy, Chinese New Year hasn't affected me much. Apart from making me break my window, of course.


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