Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Anniversary Gala Dinner

The Gala dinner was quite an event. Hong Kong Baptist University is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Donald Tsang, came, as well as a number of distinguished guests: various consul generals from places like Hungary and the E.U., business leaders in Hong Kong, representatives from other universities in Hong Kong, representatives from affiliated universities in Thailand, Taiwan, and so on.

The event itself took place in the Hong Kong Convention Center main ballroom, and it was the most elaborate event I've ever seen. I thought it would be a regular banquet, but no, it bore a closer resemblance to an Emmy awards show. Professional people from the entertainment industry with some connection to HKBU were MCs (alternating in English, Cantonese, and Mandarin) and featured singers. Awards were given with klieg lights and presentation music.

The meal had 10 courses, and the menu describing them was a very clever acrostic, where the first character of each dish, put together, spelled out "Hong Kong Baptist University Golden Anniversary Evening Banquet". More specifically, for those of you who can read it, it spelled out:
where the first dish was
and so on. The challenge, I think was 學 meaning learning (it is featured in the word for "University") and that one was "Deep-fried Crispy Chicken":
(the word-for-word translation is: "learn have place become phoenix transmit happiness". Go figure.) The last one was
which is a bun filled with lotus bean paste (like the moon cakes for mid-Autumn festival which just happened) and these are traditional buns for birthdays.

The food was delicious. They leaned a bit on the side of being Western-friendly, probably, but everyone seemed to enjoy it. I talked with a Hong Kong student who was there and he didn't go for the speeches but said the food was excellent.

Everyone was taking pictures. They had a set right outside the ballroom specifically for this purpose. Our International office did that too.

Sorry I don't have other pictures from the event; I didn't bring my camera. We took this one while everyone else was supposed to be playing a game, where each table got quizzes about HKBU.

I also discovered that there is a local Cantonese Happy Birthday song, though they also sang the English Happy Birthday song, as was fitting for Hong Kong.


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