I also gave out seven copies of my book as table prizes last night at yet another Ladies Night organized by brethren to tell their wives and families officially and in public how much they love them for allowing them to spend so much time with other brethren in Zetland Hall year round; so that I gave out 14 copies in all in as many days. Not bad.
Ladies Nights are actually very good traditions, albeit somewhat British if not colonial. Typically, members would invite, in addition to their wives and girlfriends, other man friends who are potential members to a nice dinner, normally dressed up, with light entertainment and dancing, and the evening would be flowing with champagne and other drinks. Towards the end of dinner and before coffee, the top man would give a speech during which he would say how thankful he was to the people who organized the dinner and those who had generously donated various raffle prizes and table prizes, ending with a toast to the Ladies. A lady would then reply to the toast and be presented an oversized bouquet after all the ladies present had drunk a toast to the health of their men or man friends. Lucky Draw would follow, ending with more drinks and sometimes dancing and more light entertainment. They are always enjoyable evenings, but could be occasions where people make or break relationships though.
I still remember my own Ladies Night organized for Rotarian Lodge. Rosita was not well and I went with three ladies. One of them replied on behalf of the ladies, reading the speech I had prepared for her. She was very happy, as were most of the people present, brethren, ladies and friends. These days, because of the pandemic, there were no more song and dance or entertainment, and speeches and toasts were reduced to the minimum. There was also the difficult-to-enforce protocol that one was not supposed to drink while standing and the other rule that all should don masks while pictures were taken. Masks were off for a split second to allow the odd selfies, but with a vow that none of them would be posted in the social media. All rather unreal.
It turned out that most Ladies Nights for the Masonic fraternity in Hong Kong were cancelled last year so that many brethren were looking forward to the resumed activities, albeit conducted in very much reduced scales and subdued atmosphere. Eating, drinking and socializing were the main agenda; and everyone appeared to have a great time and were enjoying themselves.
The evening did not exactly began well for Su and me. We had allowed more than an hour to get to Zetland Hall, lugging the books in my almost worn out roller bag. The first uber driver responded in less than one minute that he would arrive in eight minutes to take us to Kennedy Road. I could even see his car moving on the map. He could have run into some bad traffic, for the ETA continued to adjust upwards, until it went to 18 minutes, by which time we had been on the roadside for nearly 15 minutes. Meanwhile, there were no taxis available. We decided to take the MTR to Admiralty. On arrival at the taxi rank and for the first time in months, a small queue had formed. Nevertheless, we got on one after about ten minutes and were amongst the first guests to arrive at Zetland Hall, not as fresh as we had planned though.
We unloaded the books and helped Jason package them as table prizes. Friends and brethren began to arrive and we were refreshed after the first glass of bubblies. After all, it doesn’t take a lot to make us happy.
Still on my books, Anthony had bought a copy, which I autographed, in January 2021 shortly after it was published. At the Lodge Ladies Night two weeks ago, he was one of the lucky winners. He happily told me that he would keep this second copy in his office so that he could read a page or two when he was free either at home or in the office. Last night, he was second time lucky so that he now has three copies. I hope he can find use of it. And I hope to talk to you later.