Rite of Passage
No trip to Hong Kong is complete without a promenade down Kowloon’s Nathan Road. A shopping street which in terms of quality and quantity makes Oxford Street seem like Dalston High Road. Queues of orderly Chinese wait their turn to be allowed into the big brand stores. Hardly surprisingly Gucci have 11 stores in Hong Kong.
It is consistent with Confucian ideas about ancestor worship/respect that many effigies of Gucci and other top end brands are placed on shrines so that their ancestors may enjoy the delights of Nathan Road in the after life. Equally it was certain that Gucci’s lawyers would complain about this infringement of their copyright.
A storm in an undertaker’s parlour has ensued and Gucci have backed down.
The story reminds of an episode on our world tour in a cafe in Hue, Vietnam. As always there was a family shrine. A cup of tea and two incense sticks,also a can of diet Coke and a pack of Marlbro. I looked ,only four in the pack.
I asked our hostess what was going. Granny loved Coke but was always worried about her weight. Granddad loved smoking and it probably killed him. Why only four in the pack. We are trying to help him give up.
On a trek in Bolivia outside a up country cathedral they were selling toys. Cars, houses, dolls-all representing dreams. You buy, you place on the altar, you pray. Bless. I asked our graduate guide how people put up with such hocus pocus. He looked shocked. I bought a toy car last year and now I have one. It works.
So there you have it. The power of prayer. I’m buying a Barbie doll. Just for conversational purposes.