December 22, 2014

to the last privileged generation

We were visiting the aquarium at Ocean Park Hong Kong, and in the building, was this big area with a large glass screen overseeing an underwater view of the grand aquarium. In the grand aquarium, were shitloads of fishes of various sizes… and in the viewing area, shitloads of tourists of different nationalities (and sizes).

Amongst the crowd, one petite old Chinese lady stood out and was as excited as a 6 year old child in a toy store. What prompted me to notice her, was when she was standing right next to me and pointing at a seemingly ugly crustacean semi-hiding behind a fake rock, and she exclaimed excitedly in her heavily accented Mandarin “Hey! That’s the bugger we ate last time during the trip to XXXX!” (XXXX because I didn’t get the place). From what I reckoned, the lady must be in her 80’s, with a visible slouch and a walking cane – one can tell that she has seen everything and nothing surprises her anymore. But yet on that day, she was as happy as a lark because she had finally seen her ‘food alive’.

She then went around the area pointing at each and every of the sea creatures (excitedly) and exclaimed almost the same repetitive sentence every time she did that – “Hey! I ate this before! And that before!” To my amusement, I estimated that excited old lady must have eaten about half of the creatures in the aquarium, including some of the endangered sharks and giant manta rays. And for those that she had not eaten before, she’d go something like “I bet this bugger here tastes great by steaming it with some ginger…”

But sadly that day, no one would go near this old lady, especially the group of younger housewives who were with her (her daughters? relatives?). They’d ignore/avoid her like a plague. Not sure if they’re just not interested (they’re more into elbowing people and take selfies perhaps), or were they just plain embarrassed about the old lady’s behavior. Anyway, the old lady would have none of those setbacks dampen her spirit, for she’d continue to rock on calling dibs to them fishes she’d eaten before (sung to the tune of “To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before”). My hats off to the old lady… maybe to the last of the generation that would eat everything till they’re endangered. We’d never get that privilege again…

michaelooi  | what I saw  | 

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