:i'm not really Chinese....:

so for years i've been eating dim sum lunches with Janice's extended family in hong kong. after years of being amazingly blessed by these great times... i've come a realisation.

i am not really chinese...

during lunch i was having flashbacks to that movie "Joy Luck Club" where the gwailo dude pours soysauce all over the dish that the mom makes? yeah... that's me. only sans le sauce...

i believe that i have discovered about 1001 little unspoken but vigorously followed laws to eating dim sum with old school REAL chinese people. i think that the problem is that i also get nervous and shy when the medium of discussion is Canto. that coupled with feeling VERY small around certain people... makes me... well.. kind of like Mr. Bean goes to eat dim sum.

one thing that i completely get wrong is the etiquettes of serving other people.

Janice is an independent woman (read, she can put her own food on her own plate). she's REALLY not into me putting stuff on her plate, so we just never did that. but in Chinese dim sum lunches, you're supposed to give to someone else before you put on your own? something like that....

see how crap i am?

so then i'm NEVER good with getting stuff from the table and putting in the person's plate... especially if that person is not really someone i know well. i guess i've watched my parents do it to hundreds of people and i'm always embarrassed by it because the people receiving the food OBVIOUSLY don't want it... that's why i never did it growing up... it's also because i'm the youngest, so by birthright, i wasn't serving ANYONE...

the same goes for tea. the FREAKING tea.

when do you pour? do you pour for EVERYONE? what if my arms don't go that long? who do you choose not to pour? do you pour by age, or by sex, or by preference, or by if you konw the person or not? or do you JUST pour the water? or JUST the tea? water AND the tea? do you double hand it and do both simultaneously?

i always thought that my brother-in-law Kevin Tsang did it VERY well. it helped that he has 7ft wingspan with those long arms. they don't call him stretch for nothing.

and then there's the law of "leave the last piece of dim sum so it'll get cold but no one can actually eat it"... i never understand this either.. i dont like eating cold dim sum, but you know what? THEY ALWAYS GIVE IT TO ME! well.. to be fair, i'll eat that thing, no matter WHAT it is, because well.. i love food.

OH and get this. my chinese is as good as a really smart 4 year old local, so when the extended in laws talk right to me and fast, i only take in about 5% of the intended meaning, and then i just go into smile-and-nod-mode. i mean, do i ask them to repeat themselves? do i say, please speak in English? (everyone of Janice's extended family speaks great English, but they only EVER speak in canto)... do i just flip the table and say, look! i'm only as good a 4 year old! PLEASE SPEAK SLOWER AND MORE SIMPLER! ha.. that would funny.... but somehow i think that is not the 'proper etiquette'

SO, i really have decided that after taking a good look at my knowledge of dim sum eating etiquettes... that sadly.. i'm not Chinese. i'm glad that Janice married me.. cuz sometimes i'm a bit of TOOL! (and i say that in and endearing way)

as the great philosopher Zoolander once said, "Who Am I?"


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