A visit to Francis Lai Hong‘s house yesterday was by far not what I expected, in a good way. Me and my fellow classmate had an interview with him at his house. I walked in not knowing what to expect but I knew it would probably be a quick interview and we would be out of there in an hour or so. Little to my surprise it was nothing like this.
We entered his house and were welcomed with open arms, he was very pleased to have us there. He had prepared a braai for us and a table full of delicious food. We were immediately served with ice cold cold drinks, which is all I needed after a full morning in the sun. We sat down in his TV room and began to chat.
We met his nephew who is a qualified actuary and is currently doing his articles through a London university. Christopher Kim Sing came and introduced himself and sat down and spoke to us while his uncle prepared the braai. Mr Lai Hong spoke to us open and freely.
We learnt that he was adopted and that in the late 1900’s many Chinese people had several children and they would normally keep one child and sell their other children off for a few pounds. This was the case for Mr Lai Hong. He did not know his parents and his siblings and did not want to, however he still identified himself as a South African, since he had made this country his home from 1958 when he arrived here, he was two months old. Mr Lai Hong came with his adoptive parents. This was quite interesting to me firstly because I did not know the Chinese di this and secondly because I could identify with it as my ancestors from India did the same.
Mr Lai Hong’s entire family was there, his eldest son who is a qualified Charted Account, his younger son who is in matric plans to go into computer science and his daughter who is also in matric plans to be a pediatrician and his wife all joined us at the table, as we ate out lunch. We sat outside on the deck which overlooked his blue pool and green garden, there was a slight breeze and the environment was so relaxed.
It was a lovely environment to have a conversation rather than a formal interview. I learned that some of the Chinese people I had been dealing with as part of my research we actually related to one another, which showed me that the Chinese community for the most part are united.
We could ask as many questions as we wanted. Although Mr Lai Hong rated himself a four out of 10 of how Chinese he thinks he is, his house was decorated with Chinese garments and the cabinets had Chinese statues inside. So there is evidence of identity with his family which is portrayed through his house. Sometimes, interviewing a person at their house tells you more about them than you could ever ask them.
We spent about three hours with Mr Lai Hong and his family. It was an experience and something I would have never done if I wasn’t researching it for my project.
这是我的中国周末。今天，我们回到绘图板的旅程仍在继续。(That was my Chinese weekend. Today we back to the drawing board as the journey continues).
- Hong Kong in Pictures (beontheroad.com)