“Come check it out, Gordo’s next door and he’s wearing a silk shirt,” said my coworker.
We were setting up for lunch in the hotel banquet room when I got the news. “Here’s my chance,” I thought, as I eyed the pies coming from the kitchen.
Gordo is British Columbia slang for Gordon Campbell, our raging neo-conservative drunk driver of a Premier. The event was a New Year’s celebration for the province’s Chinese Businessman’s Association and Gordo, a day before the new budget, was the star attraction.
There he was, the waspiest of the WASP elite, on a small stage in the corner of the hotel’s Ocean View suites surrounded by a few hundred eager members of the province’s Chinese business community. The news crew covering the event inexplicably lit him from below which emphasized the tightness of his shirt collar and the resulting double chin.
The shirt itself was a bright red thing, a bit of failed cultural appropriation, as everyone else in the room was in a suit and tie. I stood in the corner looking at the man who’d taken away my right to statutory holiday pay, and my right as on-call staff to work a minimum of four hours before being sent home.
“Remember last week when we came in at five thirty in the morning only to be sent home at nine after we weren’t needed anymore,” I whispered to my coworker. “That’s the fucking guy who made it possible.”
The speech was something along the lines of “what a great day for multiculturalism.” People were in a party mood, and the crowd pressed closer to the stage. The servers working the event had to run to keep the buffets stocked with Ha Gow and Siu Mai. The silver bowls, meanwhile, were constantly being refilled with lucky-red cranberry punch.
After the speech, the MC announced that Premier Campbell would be doing the ceremonial pinning the eye on the lion (or whatever). The lion dancers entered the room with a gong smash and did their thing. Campbell nodded his coifed white head to the beat as the lions prostrated themsleves before him. That was all I could bear, so I went back across the hall to where the room was steadily filling up with conventioners ready for lunch. The crash of cymbals and drums could still be heard through the walls, however, surprising some of them.
Gung Hay Fat Choy