The Necklace

Before my mother and Maureen arrived to Hong Kong, I was doing my usual stroll around the streets and markets. During one particular wonder, I was window shopping in the Wan Chai district and noticed there are many jewelry shops selling the expected jewels on headless necks. However, in Hong Kong there is always a section where the jewelry are displayed on red velvet and everything is very big and very gold.

One such necklace especially caught my attention. It was a large pig with many dangles. At closer inspection I realized the dangles are suckling piglets…uuum, what’s that about? The friendly sales clerk came to the front door and asked if I’d like to try it on. I responded “Really, I don’t know where I would wear something like that”. He explained that it is a necklace given to a new bride for luck so that she will be able to conceive many children. She would typically wear it on her wedding day.

My second thought was “why would they need a pig necklace if they can only have one child?”. Like many other things, Hong Kong does not follow the same laws and customs as mainland China. Actually, the longer you are there you realize how different they consider themselves. Many Hong Kongers don’t hesitate to point out the differences. I was later told by a young financial journalist in a cafe that the one child thing is for mainlanders but is changing. Also, wealthy people have always had the right to have as many children as they wanted. The restriction was for poorer families and peasants. It appears in the end, if you can pay for a half pound gold necklace of suckling pigs then you most likely can afford your offspring and the good luck of fertility.