2008 Newsletter: Merry Christmas, Happy New Year & Happy Chinese New Year from the Wong family!

Charlie 

23rd March was the most important 2008 family event – Lu and Dave’s al fresco wedding on the Front Lawn of The Repulse Bay, with the ocean horizon as back drop peppering the occasional distant islands, birds chirping in the bushes, on a sunny afternoon. As a special addition, we ourselves also prepared the wedding lawn with green tarpaulin and hardboard just in case of rain.  Dave and Lu gave the most tear jerking wedding speeches I have ever come across.  This was an idyllic wedding, perfect in every way is an understatement.

The other important event was Nic moving back to Hong Kong. She now occupies Jeff’s room after Jeff moved out to Lu’s flat, and Lu moved to Dave’s flat on Park Island.  This year had been the longest period that Nic has stayed at home over the past decade.

After March, I at last managed to form a band to play relaxing music on Sunday afternoons – me on the double bass.  The music genre is best described as "elevator".  Membership has now grown to ten people with some of us playing multiple, different instruments when required.  Since then we have performed at several weddings and scientific conferences.  The photo here is one taken in April with me playing a borrowed sax on my arrangement of Gershwin’s Summertime using Finale on downloaded MIDI score.  In October, I started taking saxophone lessons from a young teacher of 40 “Ah-chuen”, essentially music theory of jazz, at Parsons Music. 

 

In the summer, Jools and I went to miserable Russia.  Not a pleasant place to visit for even a couple of weeks, but imagine having to live there!  Moscow was so incredibly expensive that we hardly bought anything at all.  What impressed us were the restored, royal palaces which demonstrated the outlandish extravagance of the aristocracy in the Tsar days whilst the ordinary Russians starved.  At St. Petersburg, we visited an amazing museum of several thousand musical instruments, from primitive, ancient excavated ones to modern 20th Century.  This was the only occasion that we managed to meet two friendly Russians during the whole of the trip.  For the rest of the time, we were snapped at, and ripped off.

 

January 2009 will see the formation of a brand new wind ensemble, hopefully able to perform at its inaugural concert on 31st January 2009 at Sai Wan Ho Community Centre Theatre.  Regular practice will take place at home in the lounge on Saturday afternoons unless the band size outgrows out the lounge.

Julia

From January to March, I was preoccupied by wedding arrangements. Everything went off without a hitch, and we had a day full of pleasant memories and  many  moments of tears  laughter, songs and entertaining speeches.  

In April I went to Sichuan visiting beautiful  new museums set up to  show off the SHANG  culture , and also to visit the Panda Sanctuary at Wolong.  We oohed and aahed at the pandas in their luxurious  pens and were even able to touch and feed a young panda, which didn't care two hoots, and just chewed on its bamboo.  Two weeks later the earthquake hit Wolong.   As a result of the earthquake,  6 of them escaped.  Good luck to them.. We also took a trip up Mount Emei, one of the sacred mountains  and saw the enormous Leshan carved Buddha. Both these being UNESCO heritage sites.  

That trip was  followed quite closely with  a memorable trip by Charley and I  to Moscow and St Petersburg,  both cities made famous by the Romanovs.  St Petersburg was beautiful and well worth a visit.  The seaside position enhanced its pleasantness, and general feeling of relaxation.   

Our extended  family is  growing (3 more babies on the way in 2009, 2 in HK and 1 in UK)  and mother-in-law getting fragile, but with everyone around her taking her out almost every day she has a lot to be thankful for. This Christmas saw additional overseas WONGS arriving for a family wedding: nephew Mark Lee married Frances Cheng, one of Louise’s school friends, on 2 Jan 2009.

 In the meantime I have continued with choir activities, being on the organising committee (treasurer) requiring more and more time. The choir had two dinner performances, the Springtime concert raising 35,000 GBP and an opera performance with a visiting group in October ,  that raised 30,000 GBP. Finally, the Christmas recital raised  3,000GBP .  We are pleased the money going towards local charities.

The New Year begins and  New Years resolution has been made.  Piano playing should be reinstated  to its proper position in ones life, and not website management ,  choir promotional activities  and  frivolity  like that.  An exam might even be taken.   Time also to go and visit the chiropractor,  and ..yes…do more exercise.  Yoga is fine and good,  but its quite a shock staring at one's spare tyre when performing shoulder stand.

 Charley and I look forward to a trip to Hanoi and Halong Bay (Vietnam) coming up for  Chinese new year , together with Nic and Hugh, and  then a trip  to Venice  for me in late February for an over  60’s girls fun convention.  Later this year will be a wedding in Melbourne ,  which we look forward to.  Australia always had a  place in ones heart after the 20 months spent there in 1977.1978  , Jeff had his first 20 months there.

 With many apologies for a late sendoff , but wishing you  the best in 2009 and the upcoming year of the OX.

 

Jeff

Jeff is now half way through his radiology residency and benefiting greatly from the cheap rice boxes he gets at Tsuen Mun Hospital.

He still commutes to work but now from his new home (Lu's old home) in Central and with his new acquisition - the Golf GTi. With his hair getting spikier by the day, he is now officially a boy racer.

The last few months have kept him busy with studying and preparing for cousin's Mark's wedding. This has included gathering copious ammunition for the best man speech and organising a memorable stag night in Macau.

Jeff has replaced his attachment to the family kitchen with cable TV's Asian Food Channel. He enjoys holding dinner parties in his new home and indulging his dreams to become a Chinese Jamie Oliver.

 

Lu & Dave 

We welcomed a new son-in-law into the family in 2008. On 23rd of March, Lu wed her soul-mate, David Wong, at the Repulse Bay Hotel and became Lulu Wong-Wong. The ceremony, which was conducted by Chuck's sister, Auntie Angie, took place in the morning on the lawn looking out over the sea on the south side of Hong Kong island, followed by lunch in the colonial-style hotel. The evening was a relaxing cocktail/BBQ at the Golf Club next door, where Julia's singing group performed a few numbers to entertain the guests. All very romantic. The Wong-Wongs flew off the next day for their honeymoon in the Blue Mountains (Sydney) and Bora Bora.  

After all the wedding excitement, and with a touch of post-honeymoon blues, Lu moved to David's home on "their island", and has been busy making David's home more orange-coloured, installing a new fish tank and disco ball, and ordering customised Wong-Wong lai see packets. Other than settling into domestic bliss, the Wong-Wongs have been slogging away at the same old jobs (Lu's job in litigation must be the only business benefitting from the global financial meltdown) and took a much-deserved holiday to India just before Christmas.

 

Introducing... David Wong-Wong

The newest addition to the Wong clan is the love of Lu's life. David Wong-Wong is 5ft 7inches tall, with black hair and dark brown eyes. David is, at heart, a schientist. He has GSOH and is big-time into scuba diving. David went to primary school in Kowloon Tong, and spent many years walking past the Wong compound on his way to school, and taking the number 7 bus, same as Lu. But they didn't meet until the time was right. It was destiny.

 

 Nic

Nic has now been happily living back at home in Kowloon Tong for the past 9 months after securing a secondment to the consulting arm of PricewaterhouseCoopers in Hong Kong.

With all exams out of the way, Nic filled 2008 with performing arts. The year started with her part in the London PwC pantomime's 'Babes in the Wood', which neatly closed off her work in the UK. Shortly after her arrival in HK, she sought out and auditioned for the Hong Kong Singers which performed Disney's Beauty and the Beast at the Hong Kong City Hall in October.

Nic's boyfriend Hugh also managed to secure a secondment to Hong Kong 6 months after Nic and is currently getting to know Hong Kong and its wonders. They have taken this opportunity to travel around South East Asia, visiting Vietnam, Macau & Bali. Nic also went on holiday with Hugh and his parents to Kiawah, South Carolina.

Nic lives in constant fear that she will have to go with Hugh on a 7 hr hike in the Sai Kung countryside.