Monday, July 9, 2012
out in chinatown
I'm in Canberra for the week (too much annual leave). I arrived on Saturday and, after the obligatory visit to Costco (it is next to the airport and my folks are a fan), went for a family lunch in Dickson (Canberra's china town). The owner of the restaurant used to work for my parents. She is loud, nosy and inquisitive. And, like many chinese people, feel that it is perfectly acceptable to ask about your personal life. Sure enough, the moment I walked into the restaurant, she ambushes me (in cantonese) "When are we going to see you with a girl next to you?". I roll my eyes. She persists and speaks at a volume that is typical of cantonese-speakers (i.e. loud so that the entire restaurant can hear) "Do you have a girlfriend yet?" "No," I reply. "Why not?", she asks. I am silent and present her with a steely smile [how does one say 'homosexual' in cantonese?]. Sensing that she wasn't getting anywhere with me, she moves onto my married sister and brother-in-law. "When are you two going to have a child? Your parents want grandchildren" [ok, she is not only nosy, but psychic too]. Then she turns to my youngest sister. "Do you have a boyfriend yet? Aunty knows lots of people. Let me be your matchmaker." [nosy, psychic and relationships expert]. When she has finally had enough, she walks away. I whisper to the family "Let's not come here again."