By Wayne Chan
Northwest Asian Weekly
People are hurting out there.
It goes without saying that our country, and much of the world, is going through an economic slump that no one under the age of 80 has really experienced. You might say that we are living in an age of loss — loss of our homes, loss of our employment, and loss of our sense of security.
This column, or at least my intent with it, has been my attempt to provide a momentary diversion so people can take their minds off daily struggles and focus on something that might give them a chuckle. I do this by writing about things that one might not ordinarily notice but seem amusing.
For example, why is it that the standard usage time for a “Grand Opening” banner for most stores is two weeks, but for Chinese restaurants, it’s four and a half years?
But I digress.
As I was saying, there is no denying that we are all, collectively, in a funk. My dilemma now is whether I can still bring a bit of levity to what I write without forgetting the obvious struggles that we are all facing.
Sometimes it’s easier to deal with your problems if you can put things in perspective.
With that in mind, to help provide a bit of perspective on our collective situation I thought I would go through the process of comparing and contrasting my current lifestyle with the life of one of my earliest ancestors in China. I will call him Mok. I will call this exercise “Wayne and Mok Chan: A Study in Lifestyles.”
Every morning I get out of bed, brush my teeth, eat a light breakfast, and go out for an early morning jog. Every morning Mok would get up off the dirt ground, search for some berries, pick up a spear, and run away in sheer terror to avoid being mauled by a sabre-toothed tiger.
After my jog, I shower, change into my work clothes, and suffer through traffic congestion to get to my office by 8 a.m. At 8 a.m., Mok would usually be found clinging to a tree in order to avoid being mauled by a saber-toothed tiger.
Once Mok would climb down from the tree, he would take his spear and begin hunting animals to feed his family. He would understand that his family would not be able to eat unless he was successful in catching his prey. I, on the other hand, respond to e-mails, talk to my co-workers, and do not have to worry about catching any food because a large concession truck will park in front of my building twice a day, and I can go order a pastrami sandwich.
After many hours of creeping through bushes and ravines, Mok would quietly climb over a steep knoll, peer over the edge, and spot his prey: an Asian golden cat, an animal found in the subtropical regions of south China. This cat feeds his entire family for two days. I, on the other hand, drive back home and am greeted by Allie, our golden retriever.
Upon arriving back to his cave, Mok would set the cat down over an open flame and then, with his spear, wade into a nearby pond with hopes of catching a fish. Once I arrive home, the family decides to go out for fast food, where we proceed to order fried fish sticks that have been pre-shaped into perfect rectangular shapes.
On the weekends, you can usually find our family walking in a park, watching movies, or spending time at home. On the other hand, Mok would spend his weekends doing the same thing he does on weekdays since the calendar has not been invented yet.
Well, there you go. I feel better already. ♦
Wayne Chan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.