August 30th, 2005

krazy koati

I can't believe the things I've found

Would you believe it's almost time for the mid-Autumn festival? Autumn is a rather abstract concept here, implying as it does some discernible change in the weather, but this notion is a cultural import, from China. The highlights are, for those of us who don't really understand Chinese culture and whose every attempt to understand is confused by encountering Chinese popular culture, abundant moon cakes and the Chinese Garden Lantern Festival.

This lantern festival is the construction of large paper (or, I suspect, plastic)-covered wireframes with bright lights inside, depicting scenes from mythology or history or just things that seemed fun at the time. Last year, the garden was decorated with a Disney theme, so there was the mix of classic-looking scenes along with, say, Lilo and Stitch doing internally-lit Elvis impersonations. The year before the theme was the World of Hello Kitty and Friends, so you had Hello Kitty, Hello Big-Eye Froggy Thing, and Hello Creepy Evil-Looking Penguin Guy as the Seven Gods of Prosperity and the like.

I don't know what the theme is for this year, although the show opens in a week or two. But at Suntec City they did have a little preview that's got me rather excited. I don't know where they're going with this, but a giant orange lantern tyrannosaurus -- complete with motorized jaw opening and closing -- is definitely a really cool start. And they've got hours before sunset this year, so I might be able to take some pictures without my camera fighting me this time.

Trivia: Each of the first three piers built off the Atlantic City Boardwalk were destroyed by storms their first winters. Source: Boardwalk Empire, Nelson Johnson.

Currently Reading: A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century, Barbara W Tuchman.