City Seen

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 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 still 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.

Terri Holladay

Socialite and former model

I have been fortunate to experience many wonderful Christmases, but last year in particular was very special to me as my son Roman and I spent Christmas morning at the Christina Noble orphanage in Vietnam. Living in a city that is full of luxury, I feel it is a worthy experience to teach our kids that there are less fortunate kids in the world and that the true meaning of Christmas is giving. Roman and I had a lot of fun giving out gifts to the kids and seeing them happy.

Gordon Lam Ka-tung

Actor

To be honest, I don't really have a memorable Christmas to recount. I was from a poor family and, as a kid, I spent most of my Christmases working part time as a waiter delivering food at the Regent Hotel, which is now called the InterContinental Hong Kong. But I'll tell you what, though my family could not afford the food that I served to my customers I never envied them because I could always get to taste the delicacies first in the kitchen.

Jim Thompson

Crown Worldwide Group chairman

My best Christmas memory goes all the way back to when I was a little kid of about eight in New Jersey. It was Christmas Eve and it had started to snow quite heavily. My dad decided we should drive to the place where my mum worked and pick her up because she may have trouble getting home. When we got close to her office, the snow had become a blizzard and the traffic came to a standstill throughout the city. We had no choice but to walk about 8km home in the snow. There were no cars moving so we walked down the middle of the street. It took us four hours and all the time we were worried about where my mum might be. When we finally got back around 10pm on Christmas Eve I was cold and exhausted but I'll never forget arriving at our house and seeing my mum near our beautiful Christmas tree. She had managed to get home before the snow got too heavy. That was a beautiful family Christmas memory.

Alain N'Galani

World martial arts and twice world Thai kick-boxing champion

Christmas brings me back to my childhood memories. Being brought up in a Catholic family with seven brothers and a sister, I really enjoyed Christmas because it meant great food and lots of gifts. Hearing Christmas carols, I reminisce about the good times and the warm family gatherings. But back in 2005, I had a prestigious championship fight in Thailand: The King's Birthday Cup. I remember walking through the streets on my way to the gym a few days before my fight. I was hearing Christmas carols and seeing the bright lights. Plus, I was going to fly to South Africa after my fight, so I was already excited about being with my family again. But being a fighter, I had to box out all the distractions and focus on that one night when all my training would be put to the test. Can you imagine how I felt when everyone was filled with the spirit of giving; everyone was being especially nice to everyone, and here I am trying to instil in my mind thoughts of destroying whoever steps into the ring with me. I was so genuinely happy during that time that I was seriously contemplating giving my opponent a hug after the fight and wishing him a merry Christmas.'