City Seen

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 December, 2007, 12:00am

The chestnuts are roasting in a wok on the footpath and Jack Frost is hardly nipping anyone's nose, but there's still an occasional Yuletide carol sung by a choir and one or two people dressed like Eskimos though it's only 16 degrees Celsius outside. With the Christmas season upon us, it's time once again to unwrap our CitySeen tradition and ask a variety of local personalities about their best and worst seasonal memories. Enjoy.

Qi Qi


The most memorable Christmas I've had was in 2004 because my daughter Ella was born during Christmas that year. I had a Caesarean section and I specially chose her birthday because I wanted her to be a Capricorn. It was the happiest and most unforgettable Christmas for me and my family. Ella's arrival brightened up the whole family and seeing her grow every day has been wonderful. Giving birth was painful but seeing a newborn baby lying next to you, I knew it was worth it. She is now almost three years old and I hope she will become a painter.

Andy On Chi-kit


It was a kind of a depressing Christmas. I was born in the United States so I was used to every Christmas being very festive with decorated trees and stuff. Then I had to move to Taiwan when I was probably five or six. I remember vividly that Christmas wasn't a big deal in Asia. I was staying at a relative's house because my family was all over the place. I woke up on Christmas day, hoping to see some presents under a tree, but there was nothing. I was six years old, so I was like 'Oh my God!'. By that time I already knew there was no Santa Claus but I still asked where my presents were. I was depressed for a while until my uncle said: 'Do you know what we do for Christmas in Taiwan? We eat for the whole day.' The eating was good. I didn't care anymore. I was just happy to be with my family. That's the biggest thing about Christmas for me.

Hacken Lee Hak-kan


I don't remember which year it was but it was a Christmas I spent with a bunch of close friends, including [TV host] Nat Chan Pak-cheung, on a ski slope in Whistler, Canada. It was most memorable because it was snowing, I was skiing and it was Whistler, it's as simple as that. If I didn't have to work during Christmas, I would go there again.

Amina Lamarre-delafoulhouse

Owner of Makumba African bar and restaurant

Every year we all try to hide the presents from the children. When my daughter Tatiana was five years old, she tried to come into my room where I was hiding all the gifts, and I had to keep her out. From behind the door she asked: 'Mama who is going to be Santa Claus tomorrow?' I replied, 'Why sweetie? Nobody can be Santa Claus. You know, he comes from very far and arrives very late in the night when everybody is sleeping.' Tatiana kept quiet for a moment and then said: 'But at the club last time, he came when we were not sleeping. We all recognised it was [her friend] Bruno's father.' 'How did you know?', I asked her. 'We saw his shoes. And Bruno even told us that he saw a red coat and the long cotton-wool [beard] that his father puts on his face in his bedroom.' I was speechless. I laughed so hard. Since then, we travel over Christmas - in Vientiane, in Laos sitting by the Mekong; in Bangkok eating kao pat [fried rice] on the street; or in Phnom Penh eating West African barbecue.