Old Version
Essay

As I watched my wife carefully tuck away her hair under a hat, put on two masks, one on top of the other, place ski goggles over her eyes, then pull on disposable gloves, and then a plastic raincoat on top of her winter clothes, I felt like we had become characters in a film

A morning ritual is to get a phone call announcing the arrival of a package. They are all to be picked up at the gate. Sometimes, the box is light. Other times, it’s kilos of cat litter. I’m gratified to see neighbors going out in their pyjamas. It makes me feel better about looking scruffy

When it was time to go, one of the birds had died of heat exhaustion, because out of supposed kindness I had decided to put them in a sack instead of hanging them upside down. My chicken farming career was not starting well

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Most people have annual traditions at holidays. Mine is to send supportive (he might say mocking) messages on New Year’s Eve to my friend, asking about the status of the Chunwan at regular intervals. Is it time for the military choir? The dancing Tibetans or the bumbling comic? Even worse, the adorable angelic child singer with the scary grown-up make-up

In the new malls, every third shop seems to sell croissants and baguettes. They all pretend to be from France. Many are actually chains from South Korea, or Chinese copycats of the pretend- French South Korean chains

One friend confesses they ordered 10 Victoria’s Secret bras, none of which were her size, just because “11.11!”