Saturday, March 22, 2008

Easter holidays

Currently in Hong Kong it is a wet, slightly mild Easter weekend. As I often said before in my life, "Typical English weather!" At least yesterday (Good Friday) was warm and my parents took the dogs to the park for their usual weekend outdoor frolic.

I often wondered why most countries allow Christian holidays to become public holidays for the rest of the country. In certain countries such as USA there is supposed to be a separation between government and religion. Therefore the state shouldn't allow certain religious festivals to become national holidays whilst neglecting others. Just because the majority of the country so happens to worship God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost does not mean there shouldn't be a holiday for Yom Kippur or Ramadan (although Ramadan does last a whole month). In fact most people who are Christian are not very dedicated to their faith (like myself). Most Christians don't go to church on Sunday, go to bible groups or know all the teachings from the Bible. Most people just fill in 'Christian' in the census for the sake of history or habit. In fact the 5th most common religion in England is a bit of a surprise - Jedi. Why isn't there a holiday for George Lucas's birthday or the commemoration of the opening day for "Star Wars"?

I just think countries need these days just so people can have enough public holidays away from work. Evidence for this can be seen in Hong Kong. When the former British colony was handed back to China, the region had to give up certain holidays such as the Queen's birthday and the liberation of Hong Kong during the World War II. I don't know why we had to give up the latter holiday - wouldn't people want to celebrate being freed from oppression? To replace these holidays, new ones were put in place such as Labour Day, the Buddha's birthday and the National Day for the People's Republic of China. I don't seem to recall there are many Buddhists in Hong Kong. I know Chinese Folk Religion and Christianity are the major religions for our region, with a great deal of public holidays to serve both faiths.

I'm not complaining about having public holidays, just complaining the purpose of having them. Yet in my (hopefully) future line of work, it wouldn't matter which days are public holidays. I actually wouldn't mind working on a public holiday. Far fewer patients are likely to be admitted, since who would want to be in hospital during a holiday. When I would have my holidays, there are far fewer people around to jostle with.


So what have I been doing this Easter weekend? Apart from preparing for my last exams, I've gone back home to what I like doing - cooking and baking. I'm not a great cook but I'm not a bad cook either. I'm just willing to try recipes. I like making desserts and Western dishes, which is a pity for my family since I'm the only person to have a sweet tooth and my parents usually abhor anything Western.

So what did I make. I tried making a strawberry cheesecake, which was not all that successful. It was my first attempt a making a cheesecake with gelatine, which I usually abhor since I prefer the New York style cheesecake. The cheesy part was a bit too soft, requiring longer to set, whilst the biscuit base was a bit too firm, requiring a chainsaw to cut through it. I'm just going back to making the New York style cheesecake, which I haven't mastered yet. The other dish I made was mini strawberry tarts. Again not a complete success - the shortcrust pastry (which I made from scratch) was a bit too crumbly and I didn't dry bake it long enough. The custard part was fine.

It just occurred to me that anything one cooks, no matter how bad or good it is, you'll be willing to eat your own creation. Both creations weren't that perfected but perfectly edible (actually the correct sweetness).

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