Wednesday, July 13, 2022


One thing wich I still find unbelievable is that the Mormons have a mission in Chinatown. "If you believe what we believe -- which is some really crazy shiznit -- eventually God will make you beautiful and just like us!" "Oh please no, you lot smell bad and look rather corpse-like, anthing but that!" And grannie scurries away determined to get as far as possible from the daemonic creatures and their zombie wizard king.

Mormons are extraordinarily optimistic and innocent. They have a ping pong table. Surely that will convince the locals of their good will. And some of them have learned Mandarin, totally ignorant of the fact that the only conceivable use for that language is to transact business or converse with Northern Chinese, who, sadly, aren't able to learn a civilized tongue. Like Toishanese.

Two blocks away from the old Sam Wo, where the Mormons have established their sacred pied-à-terre in Tong Yan Fao -- bulwark, beachhead, voodoo lounge, whatever -- is a place where I often have dragon tongue fish with garlic butter over rice, but today ate the paradigm of Hong Kong Western chow: a club sandwich with fries. And a cup of milk tea.


The 'gong si saam man ji'. Or "company three literature administer". In wich the last three characters are used purely phonetically, and the first two are used like they often are in a South East Asian Sinitic context, meaning variously company, clan association, gang, social club, common interest society, or even a group of people with something that ties them together. That set of meanings got borrowed by Indies Chinese Malay dialect, and subsequently glided effortlessly into Indies Dutch speech.

[Indies Dutch: Indo. Indonesian descent Netherlander, Netherlander whose ancestors spent time in the East Indies, Dutchman with some Indies blood, Indonesian culturally influenced Dutchman, Dutchman whose social circle often speaks Malay and whose food is almost always hybridized Indonesian. It's a flexible term. Indies Dutch (Petjoh) is a version of the language with a debrided grammar and pronunciation and many Malay Indonesian Javanese locutions, reduplicatives, and simplified sentence structure. Almost a creole language. The situation is fluid and complex.]

In standard Cantonese and Mandarin, gong si (公司) means a company.
It's a legal and business term.

The Hong Kong Club Sandwich has luncheon meat, fried egg, lettuce, and tomato, contained within three slices of toasted bread, diagonally cut into quarters, each quarter held together with toothpicks.

This was the nicest version of the club sandwich I've had in Chinatown. I had seen it pass by a few times while eating there, and finally remembered to order it. Suprising the bejazus out of three waitresses, who are used to me ordering one of the lunch sets, usually nowadays dragon tongue fish rice soup milktea.

Afterwards: Pipe smoking, grocery shopping, followed by a slice of lemon Swiss roll and another cup of milk tea. Then dodging a herd of blond walrusses who came out of nowhere when I was lighting my second bowl. The city is awash with wildlife.

That and tattooed loonies.

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