Moon Cake


You can’t possibly finish one all by yourself.

In fact, when I was a kid, I remembered it got cut up not into four but eight pieces, like we would with a Costco pizza.

Slices of sweet moon cake, in all varieties.

Big confectionary  revenue every year in China and Vietnam.

Although it’s a Children Festival,  adults are in for those cakes as well. Later, it evolves into an occasion for gifting, and acceptable bribing.

Sweeten the deal.

It’s almost as if  business and adults  have hi-jacked what few festivals  children got left for themselves.

Let’s face it. In the West, we got Halloween. Then college students hi-jacked it with frat’s costume parties. Even at work. So Halloween spreads to other unintended age groups.

In the Far East, we see similar phenomenon: the commercialization and co-opting of  traditional events by the Retai industry.

As long as you can “create” a “first” event. Next year, it will become the Second X event, then Third…

Some events no longer reflect their original raison d’etre. Hence, a need for self-created tradition  (South by Southwest, TED). Somehow, cultural legacies are associated with “uncoolness”.

Malcom Gladwell recalls his Jamaican aunt (light-skinned) disown her dark-skinned daughter when she met a light-skinned man. In Outliers, he makes a case for cultural legacy,  which, after extensive analysis, proves to be the bedrock of  immigrant success. Personally I also found American cultural tapestry as strength (German Beer Fest, Irish pipers, Little Italy etc …helps induct me to early American immigrants) and not weakness. Case in point. I often run into bi-racial couples who took their half-breed children to these festivals. The “foreign” spouse indeed finds those cultural events fascinating. Perhaps he/she hopes to find some clues into the make-up of his or her spouse, or to simply please him/her culturally.

And it’s only fair. Because to marry into a dominant culture, one has to sacrifice and let go things that are deemed “strange” e.g. instant noodles, chopsticks (in California, sushi and Pho restaurants are actually operated by Korean business people, rather than Japanese or Vietnamese).

So this Blue Moon, full moon and Moon Fest. Go out and join the “strange” people. They have their reason behind the season. Find out the fairy tale, their  pre-Neil-Armstrong perception of the Moon. It goes well with Slow Rock. Makes for a perfect slow dance, while the children are occupied with their own lanterns. The commercial world does go ahead of us . But then, maybe they know us more than we do ourselves. After this weekend, watch for the Halloween pumpkin stand. Coming around the corner, literally.

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