Starting a year of dog

Dragons and lions. And dogs, of course, in a year of dog. Lots of dogs. Dogs everywhere.  A woman in her mid eighties, a famous actress called Wong Ha Wai, heavily made up, dressed up as a pink dog, went to the famous Wong Tai Sin Temple four hours before midnight, only to be the first of the year to pay tribute to Wong Tai Sin, the god, to ask for blessings. She touched her dog hat, then tucked out the pink dog tail, “there is a head, and a tail.” Her bright lips curved. Her  fake eyelashes flapped heavily. She repeated, “there is a head, and a tail.” A life head to tail. Complete.  Blessed.  Everyone wants blessings from Wong Tai Sin. Yet Wong Tai Sin is not enough. So they go to Che Kung Temple, too. With incenses taller than humans. Red incenses with choking blue smoke.  The temple workers didn’t like it, the blue blessing from the huge incense. Too tall, too heavy, too bulky, too hot, its smoke too thick, bringing tears to their eyes and making them cough.  Some wore goggles. I asked one of them, “do you burn incenses and pray too?” He smiled tiredly and sadly, “no.”  He reminded me of a man dressed up as a monkey king near Wong Tai Sin Temple on New Year’s Eve. When I left the temple and walked toward the MTR station, I spotted him sitting alone on a railing by the highway, a block away from the temple, in the dark except for the dim road lamp, a cigarette dangling from his mouth.  He saw me raising my camera, made a thumb-up. He shook my hand when I put down my camera.   A lonely monkey in the year of dog? I wondered if the loneliness I felt in him was just my imagination. If I had been not too bushed from work, I would have stayed to chat with him.

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