|New Year lights in Central|
In Hong Kong serendipity and tradition have combined to make winter a celebratory time of year. The colder weather in Hong Kong only really seems to last for a bit of December, January, and some of February, but during that time there is a big fuss made over Christmas, and now, about the New Year. This means lots of decorations, and lots of coloured lights, which due to the early onset of subtropical nights, you get to enjoy for much more time than you do in summers in Australia. The photo to the left doesn't capture the real glamour of the lights, but may give some sense of how much effort goes into decorating large buildings across the city. Entire facades of many buildings are given over to huge lighting displays, this year commemorating the upcoming year of the Rabbit. Apparently this astrological sign is famous for its diplomacy, so perhaps we can hope for some resolution of existing conflicts between and within countries this year! Is it too much to hope for some progress on the Israel-Palestine issue, or perhaps a resolution of the schism over gay-rights within the Anglican/Episcopalian community?
|New Year display in Landmark building, Central|
|Mushroom theme at New World, Sha Tin|
I assume I am capable of reading these class issues accurately, but is this really true across the cultural divide? How much of the presentation of these New Year themes is affected by the designer's own class, and their exposure to more global notions of taste or fashion? Do some of the Cantonese people who use these malls wish that the displays were more like those of their youth, which presumably were more traditional?
I myself have a lot of resistance to the Christmas traditions, now that they have become freighted with so much consumerism. This is compounded by being a teacher, and having the busy end-of-year time in December compounded by friendship and family obligations for Christmas. So as an outsider, Chinese New Year seems very benign and quite lovely. There are lights, there are fireworks, and lots of visiting with family and friends. I might almost feel a bit jealous. Perhaps though, from within Chinese culture, New Year can be every bit as wearying as Christmas often feels to me.
Maybe it even comes down to one of my favourite laws, the law of diminishing returns. Perhaps in an emotional sense, your favourite Christmas, or Chinese New Year, or whatever, will always be the first ones you remember celebrating, but the more you do it, the less joy it gives you, until eventually the 'work' associated with this, whether emotional or physical labour, overtakes the feelings of satisfaction and happiness that used to be there. Perhaps an overly sobering thought to start the New Year with!