Let There Be Light

As a tentative atheist, I get more worried by doomsday prophesying than someone with strong faith. People who believe they’re going to be snatched up during the Rapture and hover in the clouds with Jesus, or whatev, can approach these days with comfort and even eagerness. Me, I know I’m going to be left down here with all those pet-care services cashing in on predictions of the end times with frankly evangelical fervour. Just me, 78 million dogs and guinea pigs, and heaps of “pet consultants” so busy rolling around in piles of church money that they don’t clean up the excrement, and then eventually we non-believers will suffocate, hideously, on the hydrogen sulfide enclosing the planet like a big murderous post-Armageddon ozone layer.

Just thinking about it gives me a sudden inclination towards joining a religious order. But even though the Rapture was allegedly imminent, I didn’t, because the monasteries here are all for Buddhist monks, and are Buddhists even saved in any potential Rapture? Because if they’re not, shaving my head is a pretty big price to pay just for the privilege of eating fine vegetarian cuisine every day for the rest of my life.

So instead, today I took the more moderate approach of reading selected passages from the King James Bible quietly to myself. I’ve read the bible before, obviously, and feel it has the potential to be a great read but for the unimaginative and at times outright dull narration. The content is absolutely sparkling, but those early AD draftsmen…well. I’m pretty sure they came back in future lives as the guys who write books like “Liquidation Damages – Methods of Assessment”. I mean, look at the opening gambit:

1:1 – In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

That’s it. Just like that. I have considered that the unquantifiable majesty of “creating heaven and earth” is deliberately juxtaposed by the simplicity of the sentence, but I don’t think that’s the case. I just reckon the Genesis ghostwriter was shit.

But this particular verse did get me thinking about the post I was going to put up today anyway, another “Who knew…” about Hong Kong village houses, this time focusing on the appalling light fittings in this joint. Like this deeply offensive “chandelier”:

There’s a matching pair of these lights. Here is the effect seen as you descend from the second floor. It’s like walking down into a cave with phosphorescent slime glowing off the walls.

You can see they’re both hung haphazardly, and the one on the left is half hanging out of the roof. It fell out while MaryJane was dusting it a few months back. MaryJane is about 4 foot tall, so she was standing on the back of the couch to do this. When the chandelier fell, she was able to catch it, and stood there with her arms over its head supporting its surprisingly heavy weight while she tried to convince the kids to go upstairs and wake us up to help her. (Why yes, Joel and I were asleep while she was dusting our plastic chandeliers and supervising our children. It was a Saturday morning. We sleep in on Saturday mornings. Also we would never ask MaryJane to dust lights, it was just a bit of unfortunate initiative.) Anyway, don’t try to wake us up during our Saturday morning sleep-in. Shit just doesn’t work. We sent Rufus away three times before he finally stood in the doorway and yelled: “You’ve got to come down, MaryJane is BEGGING YOU!” How good are we!

I stood next to MaryJane on the back of the couch in my nightie and together we supported the light while Joel pushed it back into the cavity and drilled it semi-securely to the roof until we could get an electrician out. He’s been and gone, and since then it falls out a little more each day. It’s heavy enough to kill someone, so we don’t sit under it. Imagine your death certificate, it would say “Cause of death: Blow to the head from chandelier clearly made by some tai tai with far too much time, industrial steel and cheap craft supplies on hand.” Too galling!

The staircase is illuminated by another “spectacular” feature fitting. We actually rarely turn this on. Even at night, it’s better to chance it in the dark than turn the light on and have to navigate the turning staircase while battling nausea after getting an eyeful of a dangling bunch of pink, green, orange, brown, red and purple baubles.

The second floor is filled with more delights. We bought them, by the way – along with the curtains, lots of the furniture, whitegoods etc – from the previous tenants. Knowing that we actually paid for this interior decoration contributes to the overall disappointment. None of the lights in the whole house match; why would they? Nothing else does. It would just be incongruous.

Here is a selection showing the light outside MaryJane’s room, the light outside the spare room, and the light outside our room that is not only ugly but inconvenient, hanging lower than head height, and so that you can’t open the wardrobe door behind it.

You might remember the black plastic chandelier in the kids’ room from my previous post. We didn’t want our little friends to look up at that thing every night; they’re already bad enough at sleeping. They get a naked globe instead:

(Next step – painting over that infernal bunting.)

And our room? We have a variation on the green chandeliers downstairs. Ours are blue, and they match the drapes. They also have those ridiculous candle-looking lightbulbs.

The blue chandelier is in the desk area. Over our bed, we have what is possibly the crowning glory of ugliness and dangerous electrical work:

Who installed that thing? I guess the previous tenants were like, “Oh, we need a light. We usually put up dramatic statement pieces in new money style, but this time let’s just get a really crappy strip set. And let’s not bother with an electrician either. We can probably just rig it up ourselves. Where’s the red electrical tape?”

So you see, here, with our lights, the Genesis ghostwriter gains a little credibility, because in this context his words have echoed down the centuries and across continents and races. It’s like he was sitting here on our couch in 2011, putting ink to papyrus in our green loungeroom:

1:1 – In the beginning God some guy created the heaven and the earth.
In the beginning some guy built a house in Lung Mei Tsuen.

1:2 – And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
And there weren’t any lights, or lamps; and darkness was upon the face of the house.
And the spirit of Tara Dennis from Better Homes and Gardens moved upon the waters.

1:3 – And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
And Tara Dennis said, Do it yourself, DIY is awesome: and there was light.

1:4 – And God saw the light, and it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
And God saw the light, and it was so, so terrible; but God doesn’t concern himself with trivialities like some house in the backwaters of Hong Kong, so he let the lights stay there forever and ever. Amen.

I’m almost disappointed the Rapture didn’t happen today. I think I would have been one of the chosen, with this unexpected and probably surprisingly accurate interpretation of this important biblical passage. It’s almost like I believe in God.


(Please click on the “Circle of Moms” button to the right to vote for me in the Top 25 Expat Mom Blogs.  You can vote once a day until 6 June.  I’ll put in a good word for you with the guy upstairs.)


6 Comments Add yours

  1. Cindy says:

    I am enraptured over this post. Illuminata. Brilliance. Seriously damn good!

  2. Rhi says:

    Oh they are hideous! Especially the green slime ones, they’re like a combo of a daggy lamp shade and a crystal chandelier.
    We also had chandeliers in our lounge and dining rooms, with the candle shaped globes.. urghh, hideous. We took them down before I ever had to consider dusting them, luckily. They’re up there in the attic, somewhere.

  3. Becci Swan says:

    Great post, I will definitely be voting. So glad I stumbled across your blog. Read through several posts and I’m a fan instantly. Not only are we on the same wavelength but my bloke has been talking about the possibility of moving us all overseas for 6-12 mths. I was fantasising about Paris, but he was thinking Hong Kong. Can’t say I was wrapt, but hopefully if I keep following you I might be convinced (or not?!!). The home help would be very welcome! And I know a little about the fallout from kids growing up without their mums, i work in an Intensive English school where the majority of Asian students only see their parents a few times a year because their working overseas and being brought up by their grandparents/aunts/ or worse still unknown guardians once they come to Australia. Anyway…. I’ll stop rambling and once again, voting for you! [Also I’m such a beginner my blog looks worse than my 12 yr old’s!]

  4. jadeluxe says:

    Hi Becci, great to “meet” you! Hong Kong is AMAZING, don’t be put off by these hideous lights 😉 There’s plenty of English-teaching work available too.
    Thanks for your lovely words. When I look back at the first few months of my blog, I’m so embarrassed…I’m sure yours can’t be as bad as mine was!!
    Looking forward to talking to you more about HK! And thanks for the vote 🙂

  5. Jo Black says:

    I love this for the Tara Dennis reference alone. DIY really IS awesome!

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