Finally, a continuation from my Christmas Eve post...
Let me clarify, the rest of my extended family did go to Shenzhen; only my siblings, my mom and I did not. Those crazy "chois", crossing the border at 1am... and then going directly to the foot massage parlour until 3am. Hahahaha... my aunt and uncle own a flat in Shenzhen, away from the border so the area is not as bad as one usually thinks...
Anyway, it was a good call to stay in Hong Kong because we had a real treat in store for us on Christmas Day. This day was a "Yam" day.
In the morning, we all attended Christmas service with my aunt (with whom we're staying). Unfortunately, the service was in Chinese, which was definitely not helpful for my siblings... a couple of my cousins and their kids [my aunt is about 20 years older than my parents..., and my cousins are actually "Yans"] also went too. The service was pretty good. I find Chinese speakers quite engaging; I think it's from their seminary background because many Chinese pastors have a similar way of preaching. It's slightly more forceful, but I find it effective -- like our senior Chinese pastor in Toronto. ;) The church actually has a huge sanctuary, even more so for Hong Kong. The kids sang a song, which was really cute [recommend download the video first, if you really want to see it..]:
After a nice buffet lunch, we had a real treat.
First, some brief background about my family... my grandfather opened a printing company in Hong Kong. This company was passed down to the eldest son (i.e., my uncle). *His* songs (i.e., my cousins) run the company now. Since my dad is the youngest son out of all of his siblings, the age gap is quite significant (i.e., 20 years!), and he is more around the age of my cousins, whereas my siblings and I are around the age of my cousins' kids; there is this juxtaposition in generations, if you will.
Anyway, running a pretty successful company is quite lucrative, so my cousins (4 guys), like any guys who have money will buy toys. And bigger toys. So beyond the nice cars, they've taken up flying, and the eldest of the brothers is now the president of the Hong Kong Aviation Club. [At least 3 of the brothers fly, and teach or spend time with the Hong Kong Air Cadets. The president is the only one who teaches helicopter piloting.]
So it turned out that it was a good choice not to go to Shenzhen, because we got helicopter tours around Hong Kong, piloted by my cousin [not the president, but that's just details...]. Since this was my siblings' first time to Hong Kong, a necessary tourist spot is the Big Buddha on Lantau Island. Well we didn't have enough time to go to Lantau Island... but they did get to see the aerial view. It was great.
Helicopter takeoff [also recommend downloading it!]
In the evening, we had a nice sit-down dinner at the Aviation Club... it's nice to have a nice steak once in a while, even though the Chinese food that we have everyday was so good. =)
To finish off a not-that-brief explanation of my family... my aunt (my cousin the pilot's mother) is an amazing woman. She is obviously not an original Yam (or Yan..), but she is the whole reason the entire Yam clan sticks together. No one really knows what happened to my uncle (he is the eldest son of my grandfather -- in fact, I think their marriage broke down.) But my aunt has stuck by the family and has gained respect by everyone. At the same time, at the age of 74, she still goes to many Publishing Association functions and is active at church, knowing that all the blessings that she has experienced in her lifetime are from God.
Since all her sons have their own families, they bought their dear mother a flat, which is where we stayed in Hong Kong. Of course, it is a nice flat... I was so fortunate as to sleep in my own bedroom (in Hong Kong!) for a few days before my siblings arrived. [We were also fortunate to have been chauffeured directly from the airport... heehee.] It has been my blessing to have her impart bits of wisdom to me throughout various encounters.
And I know that this is not really a typical experience for Hong Kong... it just came with the name. ;) Until next time,.... Yam.