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.