It’s that time of year again – Chinese New Year – and you know what that means… It’s time to put on that tacky Chinese outfit you would never be seen in public with every other day of the year, time to drop our jaws for 20 minutes straight going ‘wahhhh’ for the same ol’ fireworks in Victoria Harbour and of course, time to shirk around all those building reception and security guards that we don’t really know or like enough to give them a red pocket (lai see).
I know it’s proper etiquette to give all of them a lil somethin’ somethin’ for the hard work they’ve been doing for the past year, but I just don’t believe in obligatory giving, especially when it’s to the masses and to pseudo-strangers at that. In fact, I’m proud to say that I am a strong supporter of special treatment, both giving and getting (aren’t we all?).
Anyway, now that the red pockets have been sneakily distributed to (only) those we’ve deemed ‘favorites’, I can’t help but reminisce at some of our favorite building concierges gone by…*sniff sniff*
Eggie aka. Elgar/Egwart/Egwar (?) was the first reception guy in our building when we first moved to Hong Kong. A skinny, soft-spoken and dare I say nerdy guy, he could often be seen chatting on the phone with his ‘girlfriend’ (unconfirmed) during his regular graveyard shifts, unless he was asked for help, that is. No matter whether we asked him where we could order takeout, how to stream Premier League games or how to change our locks, he would always conduct intensive research before answering us, in the form of a 3 page handwritten note slipped discreetly into our mailbox the next morning. Sigh…he was so sweet!
Mickey was a beautiful and sweet Hong Kong girl who always made me wonder what the hell she was doing as a reception girl in our building. To me, she could definitely enter and win any beauty pageant with her big (contact lens-enhanced) black eyes, porcelain skin and sweet as sugar giggles. One day, she even referred to our neighborhood as a ‘garbage land’ (translation: dump), so I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised when she silently disappeared one day…
My personal favorite, Mongkok Guy was aptly named for his partly-shaved emo haircut and rough-looking features. A man in his mid-30s, one of his eyes was a little bit smaller than the other, which I assumed was a battle scar from a fight he’d survived versus other triad members in his past (or current?) life. Always friendly and helpful, we felt particularly hurt when he disappeared without telling us, especially when we had gone out on a limb by outwardly telling him he was “our favorite” guy! ::burn::
Unfortunately, all three of them disappeared without any notice at all, so I have no idea where they are now. I hope Eggie found a better job where he can actually spend the evenings with his said-girlfriend, and I have a feeling that Mickey and Mongkok Guy may have run off together (they seemed quite close and always worked the same shifts for some reason) but who knows?
If anyone out there has seen them, please let them know that they are sorely missed… and that their red pockets are here waiting for them! 😥