Thursday, February 24, 2011

Kom Tong Hall became Dr. Sun's memorial museum

     Elwin and I took off one Monday morning, Feb. 7 to be exact, to visit this historical building, the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Museum.  There is so much church history here.  I found the following article in the Church News/Deseret News to share on this blog.

Hall of fame — Kom Tong Hall

Church lauded for its historic role in mansion / meetinghouse / museum
Published: Saturday, Oct. 18, 2008

     While the surrounding neighborhood has changed drastically over the decades and its interiors have mirrored its use from early 20th century mansion to Church meetinghouse to public museum, Kom Tong Hall remains a well-recognized LDS landmark in Hong Kong.

     And from the outside, it appears much like it did from 1960 when Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, then an assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve, arranged for its acquisition.

     For the next 44 years, Kom Tong Hall served first as home to hundreds of missionaries and meetinghouse for thousands of Hong Kong Latter-day Saints and later as headquarters for the Church's Asia Area.

     Now hosting the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Museum honoring modern China's influential statesman, Kom Tong Hall still bears a few reminders of the Church's presence there.  The Church is mentioned in audio-visual presentations and featured in a building-front plaque. And preserved from remodeling and restoration efforts, the old, deep baptismal font — built after the Church's purchase — remains, today a prominent display located just inside the ground-level entrance.

      Perhaps no one knows Kom Tong Hall — its stained-glass windows, staircase railings and veranda wall tiles — more intimately or has a life more intricately entwined with the building than Stanley Wan.

     Now an Area Seventy and the Asia Area welfare services manager, Elder Wan moved into Kom Tong Hall as a young boy with his parents, Wan Leun and Tse Wia Fong. They were hired by the Church as custodians, caretakers and curfew monitors, clearing the building of members at 10 p.m. after activities so the missionaries living there could retire.

      "They were there as servants, not as masters," said Elder Wan of his parents, with the small family living in tiny, one-bedroom quarters in the back.  The young Wan's regular building duties included locking doors, shutting windows and, after baptisms, hopping into the font to drain the water.

      "More than 5,000 to 6,000 of our members were baptized here over the years," said Elder Wan of the Kom Tong Hall font. "Including me."

      His ties to Kom Tong Hall continued, including his father serving as branch president there and his father's funeral later being held in the building. Working as a Church employee from 1979 to 2004 there, he first met Kathleen Kah-Wah NG, whom he later married, in 1981, at Kom Tong Hall — of course, their reception was in the building's cultural hall after they were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple.

Photo by Scott Taylor
Elder Stanley Wan points to a plaque outside Kom Tong Hall with which the Hong Kong government acknowledges the Church's use and preservation of the historic mansion.

       In the 1970s, offices for local representatives of the Presiding Bishopric were added inside Kom Tong Hall; later, the large top-floor cultural hall gave way to more administrative offices.

      Just as Hong Kong membership had grown from 1,700 in 1960 to more than 22,000 by 2004, the Church needed more office space than Kom Tong Hall could provide. After deliberations and negotiations, the building was sold below market value to the Hong Kong government in what then-Secretary of Home Affairs Dr. Patrick Ho Chi Ping called "a three-win settlement" — the Church receiving financial considerations, the government receiving the mansion and the public earning a museum in Sun Yat-sen's honor.

       "The people of Hong Kong, Taiwan and China — we all regard him as the father of new China," said Elder Wan, adding that the transaction helped draw the community and Church together.

       In its place, the Church constructed its current 12-story Hong Kong Church Administration Building, also located on the Hong Kong Island side of Victoria Harbor but in the bustling Wan Chai district.

      By design, Kom Tong Hall features are repeated in the new building, including the five arched-doorway entrances, the dominant multi-pillar facade, similar stained-glass windows and the red-brick exterior.

Photo by Scott Taylor
Hong Kong's Victoria Harbor area at dusk.

      Also by design, the Hong Kong Church Administration Building contains more than offices, boasting a multi-purpose functionality similar to its sacred counterpart across the harbor, the Hong Kong Temple. Beside the Asia Area offices, the office building — home to several Hong Kong Church units — also features three chapels, classrooms, serving areas, a cultural hall and offices for priesthood leaders and clerks.

      President Hinckley returned to Hong Kong to dedicate the new building. The late prophet and Church president remains a common thread with the city's three major Church edifices, having obtained Kom Tong Hall in 1960, receiving inspired direction as to the location and multi-use design of the Hong Kong Temple and then returning for the 2005 office building's dedication.

      "The old members, they remember seeing him for years — and he remembered names," Elder Wan said. "His print is everywhere here."


Photo by Scott Taylor
Like the Kom Tong Hall and the Hong Kong Church Administration Building after, the Hong Kong Temple is a multiple-use building.
Photo by Scott Taylor
The Hong Kong Church Administration Building features design elements -- including pillars and arched doorways -- similar to Kom Tong Hall.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011

    Today was a special day for us as we were asked to speak on the topic of "hope" at the Victoria 3rd Branch in Hong Kong.  And, yes, they asked us to speak in Mandarin Chinese.  For me, it was like going back to some 45 years ago when they asked me to speak at Church in English.  For Elwin, there were a lot of preparations to get the tones right and all that.  Our first language in Church was in English, so to speak in Mandarin, we had to start with English, then translate into Chinese.  Elwin then had to change the characters to pinyin (a way of spelling out the sounds). A lot of the Church terminology in Chinese was lacking.  So, it was intense, I guess.

    I was able to find the Chinese publication of the Church magazines online, so it was very helpful.  The Book of Mormon is online in Chinese, but not the Bible yet.  I hope someday it will be published in Chinese too.  Of course, with the simplified version of Chinese vs. the traditional, it adds another layer of difficulty, or challenge for me too.  Growing up in Taiwan, we learned the traditional Chinese, but Communist China established the simplified version of Chinese to afford the millions of people to learn the language quickly, and to deal with the illiteracy in China.  In traditional Chinese, the word saint, or godly, is 聖 which is comprised of ear and mouth, and is of the Lord, but the simplified version of the same saint or godly, does not show the meaning of the character. It's just simply 圣.

    I did my talk all in Chinese. Elwin started out with his greetings in Chinese, but turned around and asked me to go up to be his translator. I happily obliged, as I didn't want him to have a heart attack up there. :-)

    All went well, but we were so glad that it was over. We then went to teach our temple preparation class. After visiting with some friends at church we headed home. We got on the same bus to across the Hong Kong under-harbor tunnel to get on the MTR. We got to Sha Tin and noticed that most people got off the train. We continued on, and then, the loud speaker announced that we were at the end of our ride. We were dumped off at the Hong Kong Race Track. It was the funniest feeling. So, we got out, found the train back to Shan Tin, then, waited for the train to take us back to Fanling. We made it fine with a little detour. We thought we'd have run into lots of traffic problems because of the Hong Kong International Marathon racing going on. We got on the web and found many buses rerouted. To avoid being late for church, we left the house at 7:15 AM. But we didn't run into any problems and were at church by 8:15.

    We came home to some very loud Chinese music. Came to find out that it was the lantern festival celebration. The Fanling Centre management organized a community activity day and there were lion dances, singing, children's activities at the Fanling Centre courtyard. We went over and observed. The troupe of dancers went to each part of the apartment complex to dance an ward off any evil spirits. There was a man dressed as the Guangong, as a Buddhist guardian walking with the Lion. He was at least 6 and half feet talk, with a tall Chinese mandarin hat, traditional Chinese official's robe with embroidering of dragons and such. He handed out candies. He gave Elwin a Chocolate gold coin, and gave me a piece of red bean candy. It was really cute. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera and missed taking this wonderful event.

    It was a memorable Sunday, for sure.

Nan Lian Garden (Kowloon)

   We took time to visit the Lan Lian Garden on Saturday, 2/12 when we were going to that area to get something fixed.  We took the East Rail MTR, switched to Kwun Tong Rail and got off on Diamond Hill.  We stopped at the Hollywood Mall first to have lunch.  It's a big beautiful mall with all the big name stores, such as Coach, Ralph Lauren, Estee Lauder, etc.  We had lunch at the food court and enjoyed the variety there.  We then headed for the park.  Here is a description of the park.  It's well worth visiting.

    Nan Lian Garden is a wonderful public park built in the ancient style of the Tan Dynasty (AD 618-907).  The scenic garden is meticulously landscaped over an area of 3.5 hectares, in which every hill, rock, body of water, plant and timber structure is placed according to specific rules and methods.  Open 7 am - 9 pm daily and is free.

    Above the garden and connected by a bridge is the Chi Lin Nunnery, another must-see attraction in Kowloon.  This magnificent wooden building underwent a multi-million dollar renovation using oly traditional wooden dowelling and brackets, and no nails.  The 3.2 hectare site, comprising various Buddhist halls, is a living museum of the Tang Dynasty.

    Following is a slideshow of our visit to the garden, but the Chi Lin Nunnery is not included because we ran out of time.  Will post when we visit sometime later.  Enjoy!

Fireworks in Hong Kong

    Lunar New Year comes with big celebrations as posted in our blog.  The Wilson's and us took the MTR to East Tsim Sha Tsui, and walked to Victoria Harbor to watch the fireworks on the New Year's Day.  There were people everywhere.  Here are the slideshow of the fireworks.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dinner @Dan Ryan's

     Jeanne, an old friend of ours from Church in Taiwan invited us to have dinner at Dan Ryan's at the Festival Walk in Kowloon.  Dan Ryan's is a Chicago steak house and is very popular with Westerners.  It's quite expensive so we haven't been there very much.  You can imagine our surprise when we realized that Jeanne had invited all the missionaries in the Branch, all 12 of us.  Wow...

     She has done this with the missionaries regularly and they knew the drills - get whatever you want!  First, there were 2 platters of nacho cheese, then their famous rolls.  Then came the dinner, two of them had Live Boston lobsters, four had ribs, three had prime ribs, one had lasagna, one had Reuben sandwich, one had hamburger, and the last one had the pork chops.  The manager treated us all to cheese cake, Tiramasu, and brownie with ice-cream at the end.

     We all wobbled out of there.  I hate to think how much all these cost.  I know the hamburger cost US$15.  We met Jeanne and Lynn when we lived in Taiwan, 1977-1982.  Lynn and Stan Winters were missionary companions when they served in the LDS Taiwan mission.  We all became good friends living in Taiwan.  After we went back to the States, Jeanne and Lynn stayed in Taiwan and Hong Kong for a few more year, then went back to live in Salt Lake.  Jeanne finished her Masters' degree and was teaching Chinese at the University of Utah while Lynn worked for Hallmark and Disney.  Then we lost contact of each other.  It was so fun to meet them in our Church Branch again in Hong Kong.  Jeanne is teaching at the Hong Kong International School.  We feel like we have family in Hong Kong now.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011

   Eleven weeks have gone by since we landed in Hong Kong.  What a change it has been for us!  Our lives will never be the same again.  Our time has been mostly spent in the temple assisting members with their temple work.  We have met many members from Taiwan, China, Mongolia, Thailand, the Philippines, India, Pakistan, Singapore, Malaysia, and the US.

   Because we attend the Mandarin Speaking Sunday Services, we have met many new members from China.  Since the Church is not allowed to preach in China, and the rules are strictly enforced by the Church, we are surprised to see people coming from China to be baptized.  As far as we know, all of them met or heard of the Church from their Chinese family members.  Since they are not allowed to be taught or baptized by missionaries (because there aren't any) in China, they come to Hong Kong, be it flying, or taking a train for many days.  There are amazing stories.

   Today, a middle-aged man from the middle of China was baptized.  How does a man like that come to learn about the Gospel without missionaries allowed in China?  It began with his sister-in law.  Apparently, a few years ago, his sister-in-law was living in Hong Kong and having a pretty rough life.  She met some missionaries, was taught, baptized and got her life straightened out.  Her sister (the wife) noticed the big change and decided to check into it herself.  She could not believe what her sister was telling her because she was a hard-core atheist.  The more she checked, the more convinced she became that God really does exist and that He loves each of His children regardless of whether they believe in Him , or not.  She came to Hong Kong a little over a year ago and was formally taught and baptized.  She returned home to a skeptical husband, but seeing how his wife had changed, he then developed an interest.  He was a smoker and drinker since he was young, and he felt that the alcohol could go, but not the cigarettes.  He struggled with that for a while, but through prayer and the desire to change, he was able to give up the cigarettes too.  He came to Hong Kong with his wife, was formally taught by missionaries and baptized.  A marvelous work and a wonder, indeed!

      A family from Mongolia (mother, father, sister and brother) came through and attended the temple for the first time together.  The sister just graduated from LDS Business College in Salt Lake and will help her father in his business.  The son was just released from his mission (Mongolia and Japan), and everyone met in Hong Kong to attend the temple.  If everyone in Mongolia were as sweet as that family, the country would be problem-free.

     Things are going as well as they should be.  There are some tough moments though, as I start to miss the kids, the grandkids and friends.  Learning Cantonese has been tough as most people try to speak to me in English or in Mandarin Chinese.  But, each time I went into a meeting conducted by Cantonese speaking people without an interpreter I knew I needed to learn Cantonese.  We miss our Cantonese tutor from BYU.  He was great and probably expected us to be speaking fluent Cantonese by now, but how disappointed he would be to know that we haven't progressed much (meaning we are digressing).

     For our P-day on Feb. 7, we went to visit Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Museum, formerly owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It was quite interesting and I'll post some stories about it in a separate post.  For Saturday, 2/12, we went to visit the Nan Lian Garden at Diamond Hill.  The place is so beautiful that I'll also do a separate post.

    We have plans to visit at least a place or two each week so we are not waiting until the last part of our mission and not have enough time to do anything.  Besides, with Elaine and her family coming for a visit in November, we want to check out as many places as possible so we could show them around.  We are excited about that. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011

    We only worked 2 days this past week because of Chinese New Year.  This is a big holiday here, well, the biggest for the year.  Some people get 2 weeks off work, most students get a whole month off, and the temple was closed from Wed. Feb. 2-4.  Since Tuesday, Feb. 1 was our prep day, we had a total of 5 days off.  But time comes, and time's all a blur now!

    We did do a few things, but the humongous crowd attending the festivities were so amazing and overwhelming that we were glad that we stayed home most of the time.  We went to the parade at Tsim Sha Tsui Thursday night and fireworks on Friday at the harbor. 

    Chinese New Year begins according to the Chinese calendar which consists of both Gregorian and lunar-solar calendar systems. Because the track of the new moon changes from year to year, Chinese New Year can begin anytime between late January and mid-February. Below is a chart that shows the beginning day of Chinese New Year and the animal sign for that year.

Year Chinese New Year Begins Animal Sign
2007 February 18 Pig
2008 February 7 Rat
2009 January 26 Ox
2010 February 14 Tiger
2011 February 3 Rabbit
2012 January 23 Dragon
2013 February 10 Snake
2014 January 31 Horse
2015 February 19 Sheep
2016 February 8 Monkey
2017 January 28 Rooster
2018 February 16 Dog
2019 February 5 Pig posted some pictures that described well what it's been like since the New Year Rush started later part of January.

    There is still traditions of having the New Year's Eve Family dinner.  Children still look forward to visiting family and friends and received the red envelop full of money.  Daughters still go home to the parents on the 2nd day of the New Year and received warm welcomes from her parents, siblings and old friends.  Of course, the tradition includes lots of food.  I wonder who would cook all the food?  One of my friends from the temple went to mainland China for 3 days to celebrate the New Year with the in-laws.  She said while she enjoyed the country side and visited her in-laws, she was really glad to be home.  The parents were getting old, so she was the one to buy and cook all the food.  She was so exhausted from her trip that she was happy to be back to the temple working on Saturday.

     Saturday was a great day at the temple since we had a full house all day.  The Spirit was strong and we were all edified.

     We met a few new people at Church Sunday.  President Dai, the former Hong Kong Temple President and his wife came to visit.  Their son and his family live in Hong Kong.  Came to find out that Sister Dai is from Tainan, my home town.  Small world!  Sister Tong, the young lady who buys me cough medicine many times, was there with her sister from Sichuan.  It was so sweet to hear their stories of coming to Hong Kong to do temple work.  I know the Mongolian members took 68 hours of riding in the train to come.  But most of the Chinese members fly and the cost is quite high.  They sacrifice much to come to the temple.  What good examples they set for us!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Filipino Sisters

     The Temple was open today after 3 days of Lunar New Year closing.  The first session started at 7 AM and we saw many young Filipino sisters present.  They came with big smiles and happy countenances.  They were especially friendly to me because I think I looked like one of them.  I was trying to figure out how I looked like a Filipino and realized that may be my eyes were rounder like theirs, or may be I wear a smile like they do.  In any case, I'm always happy to see them.

     The Filipino sisters kept coming all morning.  They have the weekend off because their employers have to give them time off for Lunar New Year.  They work so hard that it's nice to have a break from their mundane work each day.  Most of these young women are here in Hong Kong as domestic helpers.  They sent money back home to support their families, may be a husband, children and also parents.  As hard as it seems, they keep a happy and positive attitude.

    Since these young ladies don't always get Sundays off because their employers need them to work during the weekends, the Church has set up special sacrament meetings for them.  Seven day a week, there is always a sacrament meeting going on at the Wan Chai Chapel.  I'm so happy to hear about the accommodations so they wouldn't miss out on church attending.  You see, these are very religious, faithful and devout members of the Church.  They sure set a good example for all of us.

    I found an article about the Filipino girls in Hong Kong.  It's quite interesting and would like to share it with you.  The following pictures were taken 2 years ago when we came to Hong Kong for a conference.  Things haven't changed much.

The Life Of Filipino Maids In Hong Kong

Among the average 7 million inhabitants of Hong Kong, Filipino workers comprise at least 140,000 of the population. Majority of these workers, mostly women, are Filipino maids or referred to by the locals as feiyungs. Life in the Philippines is hard but for these helpers, life in Hong Kong is perceived to be harder but the chance to harbor income is higher, but might as well take the risk. But how does life go on in Hong Kong?
Faith Goes On Everything feels quite different but something familiar tags along with them-their faith. Being devoted religious, Filipinos in Hongkong still adhere to their advocate and obligation to the creator. While there are Protestants and Buddhists Filipinos, Roman Catholics comprise the majority. It is expected that Catholic churches in Hongkong are always housed with Filipinos especially every Sunday. To acknowledge their numbers, masses are even versed in the Tagalog linguistic.
It’s a 6-day work and one day off for all Filipino Maids in Hong Kong. That day off is usually held on Sundays. During this day, thousands of them are seen flocking in Central, Victoria Park or the Hong Kong Cultural Centre to hang out and entertain one another. Most of the time, loud rendezvous can be heard blocks away, there are singings, concerts and picnics.
The Hong Kong government supports the day of rendezvous of Filipinos. Seeing the need for privacy and respect, the main roads leading to their spot of retreat are closed for at least 10 hours usually. It has been a tradition for Filipinos for years that in their frequent hot spots, a sign of “no littering” is flagged in English, Cantonese and Tagalog.
For Filipino maids, Life goes on wherever you are. No matter what the risks as long as it is for the betterment of everyone’s future, it is worth taking. In the eyes of the hopeful maids working in a foreign land, life is working hard 6 days a week, a day of enjoyment and constant faith everyday.


Chocolate-Hazelnut Cheesecake

Chocolate lover?  For Valentine's Day, try this!  The recipe came from Reader's Digest. 

Chocolate-Hazelnut Cheesecake

from Eat Well, Stay Well

Crunchy toasted hazelnuts top this velvety cheesecake. For more of that heavenly hazelnut flavor, substitute 1 tablespoon Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur) for the vanilla.


  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (5 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 pound silken tofu
  • 1 cup creamed (4%) cottage cheese
  • 1 ounce semisweet chocolate, melted
  • 3 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    How to make it  1 hour, 5 minutes

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Toast the hazelnuts on a baking sheet for 7 minutes or until the skins begins to crinkle. (Leave the oven on.) Transfer the hazelnuts to a kitchen towel and rub to remove as much of the skin as possible (some skin will remain). When the hazelnuts are cool enough to handle, coarsely chop them; set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together the crumbs, oil, and 1 tablespoon of water. Press the mixture into the bottom and partway up the sides of a 9 1/2-inch springform pan. Bake for 8 minutes or until the crust is set. Cool on a rack. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.
In a small bowl, combine the cocoa and 1/4 cup of water until well moistened. In a food processor, combine the tofu, cottage cheese, melted semisweet chocolate, granulated sugar, brown sugar, flour, whole egg, egg whites, vanilla and the cocoa mixture, and process until very smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared crust and bake for 40 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 250°F, sprinkle the nuts on top and bake for 10 minutes or until the cheesecake is just set. Cool to room temperature; refrigerate for 2 hours or until chilled.

Nutritional Information(per serving)

  • Calories: 207
  • Fat: 7g
  • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Cholesterol: 20mg
  • Sodium: 189mg
  • Protein: 8g
  • prep 15 min    cook 50 min
  • serves 12

Friday, February 4, 2011

Lunar New Year Flower Markets 2011

Lunar New Year Flower Markets 2011:  flowers, arts and crafts
    1. Dates:  Jan. 28 - Feb. 2
    2. Places:  Causeway Bay Victoria Park and also Mong Kok's Fa Hui Park
    3. Time:  best time to go is 6-9 PM (but will be very crowded), Noon-midnight and until the early hours of the next day on 3 February
    4. Price:  free
    5. Description:
      Join the happy throngs flocking to the flower markets looking for an auspicious bloom or plant for the New Year. Kumquat trees, narcissus and peonies bring prosperity; peach blossoms add fire to romance; while tangerine plants with leaves intact help ensure long-lasting relationships and 'fruitful' marriages. So, mingle with the huge, happy crowds and enliven your senses for the Year of the Rabbit!
     After clearing out some confusing information about the flower market, the Wilson and us met at the Fanling Train Station and went to Hung Hom, the end of the East Line, and found Bus #102.  It took us through the Cross Harbor Tunnel, and we were let off at the first stop which is Victoria Park.  No need to ask how to get there as tons of people were heading that way.  We just followed the crowd.  Here are some pictures to share.


Lunar New Year Parade in Hong Kong

    We left at 5 PM to see this highly acclaimed parade in Tsim Sha Tsui.  We were there by 6 and the parade didn't start until after 8.  It was too highly rated.  We were happy to see some creative displays of talents, but were most disappointed to see young scantly clad dancers parading down Nathan Road.  Western influence?  They had choices here.  Anyhow, we positioned ourselves across from the Peninsula Hotel, right behind some flower bushes/hedge at the park and should have good view from there until some aggressive onlookers pushed into the beautiful flower bushes and trod them under their feet.  Ouch, ouch,...

    Below is a slideshow of the pictures we took.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Lunar New Year Celebration + Fireworks

     Don't forget the fireworks tonight.  It's going to be good!  It starts at 8 PM.  Flock to Victoria Harbour on the Tsim Sha Tsui site.  Have fun!

You’re in for a magnificent spectacle when you join the thousands upon thousands of people who flock to both sides of Victoria Harbour to witness the Lunar New Year Fireworks Display.

     Just realized that some of you may be living in Hong Kong and wanted to know about the activities going on during the holidays.  So, here is a list if you are interested:  (We'll post more details as we participate in some of the festivities.)
  1. Lunar New Year Flower Markets 2011:  flowers, arts and crafts
    1. Dates:  Jan. 28 - Feb. 2
    2. Places:  Causeway Bay Victoria Park and also Mong Kok's Fa Hui Park
    3. Time:  best time to go is 6-9 PM (but will be very crowded), Noon-midnight and until the early hours of the next day on 3 February
    4. Price:  free
    5. Description:
      Join the happy throngs flocking to the flower markets looking for an auspicious bloom or plant for the New Year. Kumquat trees, narcissus and peonies bring prosperity; peach blossoms add fire to romance; while tangerine plants with leaves intact help ensure long-lasting relationships and 'fruitful' marriages. So, mingle with the huge, happy crowds and enliven your senses for the Year of the Rabbit!
  2. New Year's Day Night Parade w/floats:  
    1. Date:  Feb. 3 (Thur.)
    2. Time:  8-9:30 PM, be there much earlier
    3. Price:  HK$220-350 if you want priority seats, or watch it for free along the streets
    4. Places:  starts at the HK Cultural Center Square, along Canton Street, Nathan Road and ends at the Hilton
  3. Parade Floats in display
    1. from Feb. 4 - 17
    2. special shows on Feb. 4-5
    3. for places and times, check on www.discoverhongkong,com (I didn't see a schedule)
  4. See the event calendar at

Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011

    We are getting really good at maneuvering those MTR stations now, as it took only 50 minutes to get to church today.  :-)  It's always good to be at church.  Today, the little boy who was very rowdy when we first got here, came to shake my hand.  His name is Tien Shen and is about 6 years old.  He has made a big turn about.  Instead of running in and out of the church services at will, bumping into people, talking out loud, he sat there with his mother during most of the church service.  His little sister was a darling too.  What made the change?  Was I too harsh when I told the boy to be reverent at church?  I was afraid to ask.

    There were 3 speakers today and each talked about obeying the commandments.  They gave examples of how being obedient brought blessings to enrich their lives.  Also, a new convert from mainland China was welcomed into the branch.  I remember her from a few weeks ago when she talked about her interview with the mission president before her baptism.  She was asked if there were anything she did that she hasn't reconciled with the priesthood authority.  She thought she was a very nice person and didn't have anything to reconcile.  But, that night she had a hard time sleeping.  Then, she kept dreaming all night.  In her dreams, she kept on seeing babies crying which made her very sad.  She woke up feeling very strange, then she realized that she has had a couple of abortions.  Abortions are legal in China.  In fact, because of the 1-child per family policy, and most families wanted boys, a lot of abortions took place and still do today.  This lady called the mission president and discussed the issue with him.  It was such a relief for her.  Wow, we never know what people have to go through in different cultures, living under different governments.

    Before we left to come home, we visited a couple who we have been assigned to home teach.  We'll talk about them later.  But the Branch President called us aside and asked Elwin and me to teach a temple preparation class.  He said that many new members are ready to go to the temple, but they haven't had any instructors to teach this class.  He told us we were sent by God to his Branch to help these members.  We are humbled by this calling and look forward to helping these members to have the desire to go to the temple.

    We came home mid-afternoon and prepared a farewell dinner for the Bishops who would be leaving Monday.  The Bishops loved Chinese food, but I know the other couple would prefer American food, so I did a East meets West dinner.  We had the following:
  • mango salsa over grilled fish
  • breaded pork tenderloin 
  • barbecued chicken
  • green salad
  • mashed potatoes w/gravy
  • ma-po tofu
  • brown rice
  • whole wheat rolls
  • blueberry cobbler
     We had a great time eating and chatting.  The Bishops both spoke Cantonese as they served in Hong Kong as young missionaries.  Their contributions have been tremendous and it will be very hard for another couple to fill their shoes.  Susan Bishop and I hiked and walked many mornings and I enjoyed being with her and learned from her.  I also inherited many things from her to enable me to give a dinner for 8 with enough dishes and utensils.  We'll all miss them a lot and wish them well as they settle back in the US.