Cheung Chau islanders like to believe the children who float above the Bun Festival parade are chosen by destiny. If that is the case, destiny found me 23 years ago, when I was four years old. Of course, destiny has a helping hand - in the form of talent scouts who keep their eyes peeled for suitable children. It is considered an honour to be chosen, with only two to four children selected to represent each of the island's main streets every year. The selection criteria are vague - after all, it is mainly a matter of fate. According to my parents, I bumped into one of these parade organisers on our street all those years ago. I was offered $300 for a day's work standing atop one of the metal poles which make the festival's costumed children seem to hover above the crowds. My parents claim I eagerly answered 'yes' when asked whether I wanted to be on a float. The organiser told them I was the right weight after placing me on an old grocer's scale used for weighing rice. I was told I would be dressed up as the main actress in one of the popular soap operas of the day. I remember thick makeup being applied, being dressed in yellow and black silk, then being placed on a tiny stool built on top of a metal pole. From the outside, it looked as if I was standing on only one leg. Below me there was another child holding the same pole, posing as the hero in the drama. In reality, both of my legs were strapped to the pole, although this was well hidden by the multiple layers of my dress. The leg that appeared to be dangling in the air was fake. It might sound surprising, but I was not scared at all as I was carried around the island. I remember the excitement - especially because it was my first chance to look down on so many adults. There is a regal feeling to the experience - when I was thirsty, a small bottle of Yakult would be delivered to me; when I was hot, somebody would waft me with a fan. The only thing I was required to do was to smile and wave to the spectators on both sides of the road. I felt sorry for the four tanned workers who carried us for two hours. The best moment came when I was carried past my house - I felt I could almost touch my parents and aunts as they waved to me and shouted my name from the balcony of our second-floor flat. Watching the parade yesterday, it seemed not much had changed. The children on stilts are still paid the same as I was. The master stilt-builders are more or less the same group. Au Loi-kwei, 79, has been in charge of designing and building the 'floats' for more than 50 years. 'If I stop doing it, the tradition will die because nobody knows how to do it,' said Mr Au.