Monday, 26 November 2007

God's Birthday

Not the God, but a God. The local temple held their (apparently annual) God's birthday party last night in a huge marquee on the field. The scale is impressive - a metal frame about 80m long and 30m wide plus 3 side tents for the catering, all floored with boards and fitted with lights, ceiling fans, portable toilets, a generator, stage, red carpet down the middle and TV projection screens for the video feed. Round tables, each with 10 chairs arranged in rows A - W, about 250 tables in all.

As I understand it, it's a fundraiser for the temple, so you buy table and then get to bid on auctioned items such as small table altars for $1000. I think they were a bit late getting ready as they worked until 5am Saturday on the tent, but they'll tear it down in 2 days.

This year's event seemed a little lower key that last year which featured a proper Lion Dance, complete with papier mache head, 20m body and man holding a pearl on a stick. This year, it was 10 guys in yellow and orange polyester jump suits with balloons and tinsel.

The surreal touch was provided by a funeral wake being held in the void deck just opposite the marquee entrance. A Christian affair for a Madam Woo, is observing 2 nights of services (Sun, Mon) followed by a service and funeral on Tues. Stood between the 2 events, I experienced the dragon dancers playing a big drum with 2 cymbals on asynchronous accompaniment, the compere shouting Hokkien into the PA about the next auction and the mourners giving a decent rendition of What a Friend we have in Jesus. You can't make this stuff up.