OH AUNTIE, YOU ARE SO REFINED!
[To clarify: Pipes and the occasional cigarillo. No ciggies.]
Less so in Chinatown, where folks are brash and devil-may-care.
But even there it happens. It's very white behaviour.
When the breeze blows the wisps in an opposite direction, the non-smoker is halfway down the block, and there are multiple lanes of traffic nearby, it is remarkably stuck-up to feign distaste the moment you become visually aware of tobacco being burned.
The other day a woman did not do anything at all until she saw the pipe, when she was almost right in front of me. From that moment on she kept her bony claw clapped to her beak, for almost the entire next block.
Six lanes of traffic. Dog poo sidewalk.
Plus unwashed crazy people.
But my tobacco.
Nearly one third of all Chinese smoke, and China produces almost half of the cigarettes in the world. Which are smoked mostly by Chinese folks.
Ma'am, many if not quite all of your male relatives huff like chimneys, you need not act so pained.
Both Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平 'dang siu-peng') and Mao Zedong (毛澤東 'mou jaak-tung') liked Panda Brand (熊猫牌 'hung maau paai') cigarettes.
Deng Xiaoping is known to have favoured the green label, which is extremely expensive, and possessed of a refined and mellow saveur.
It is exquisite; flue-cured leaf, aged tobacco.
Many Cantonese smoke Double Happiness (雙喜 'seung hei'), which is the status brand in the south, and available at many fine grocery stores in the neighborhood. Empty packs litter every sidewalk.
Surely you've seen Huang He Lou (黃鶴樓 'wong hok lau') smokes?
They are exceedingly nice!
All of the cigarettes shown above are available from Mr. Muhamad Ali at Oriental General Trading in the Jebel Ali FreeZone in Dubai, and at tax-free airport stores world-wide, if you wish to gift your male relatives.
Brands I could also mention: 利群 ('lei kwan'), 中華 ('jung waa'), 蘭州 ('laan jau'), 紅塔山 ('hung taap saan'), 中南海 ('jung naam hoi'), 北京 ('baak king'), 紅燈籠 ('hung dang lung'), 獅牌 ('si paai'), 聖草 ('sing tsou'), 白沙煙 ('paak saa yin'), 大紅鷹 ('taai hong ying'), 紅河 ('hung ho'), 紅梅 ('hung mui'), 99, 好貓 ('hou maau'), 真龍 ('jan lung'), 鑽石 ('juen sek'), 玉溪 ('yuk kai'), 紫氣東來 ('ji hei tung loi'), 好日子 ('hou yat ji'), ......
Even, just for the Chinese market, the legendary 壽百年黑俄羅斯 ('sau paak nin hak ngo-lo-si'; Sobranie Black Russians).
And Long Life Brand (長壽牌 'cheung sau paai'). Such an auspicious name!
In fact, there are over a thousand charming varieties to choose from, most made in the mainland and much beloved by the Chinese, young and old, male and female, rich and poor. From the coughing infant in her crib to the superannuated old geezer hacking on the edge of the precipice, Chinese people smoke like bacon, and gift each other cigarettes.
If you are not aware of this, or always feel the need to show how repulsed you are by smokers, maybe your relatives all avoid you.
You haven't seen them in like, forever.
It's a possibility.
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All correspondence will be kept in confidence.