You Ala Carte, Don’t Da Bao (打包),Da Bao Very Troublesome (麻烦)


Our Original Shop At No. 67, Pagoda Street

You Ala Carte , Don’t Da Bao (打包), Da Bao Very Trouble Some (麻烦)


Mr.  C. C. Lau was a very good friend of my late father. He was a very . successful civil contractor and had several  very large road and bridge building projects in Malaysia. As he had an office in Temple Street, he often dropped by our original shop at 67, Pagoda Street for coffee and chit chat with my father. His second wife was also a frequent visitor who often dropped by after her shopping trips or visit to the beauty parlours.

One day  when I was still in my teen age, Mr.  Lau pulled me aside and told me in a mixture of English and Cantonese, “ Young man, take my advice,  if you want, you ala carte, you don’t da bao. If you da bao, it  will be  very troublesome (麻烦)”。

Let me explain the context of his advice to me. Mr.  Lau had 2 wives. The two ladies could not stand the sight of each other. They quarrelled to no end  every time they met . For all his business experience and acumen, Mr.  Lau was often caught helpless in the cross-fire  between the two ladies. He was very stressed and unhappy with the situation. Unfortunately, he was not able to put his foot down to stop the quarrels and squabbles  between the two wives. Although not spoken, he clearly regretted having two wives. To be fair to him, at that time it was “normal” or even “expected” for a successful business man, especially a  contractor like him, to have more than one wife.

What did Mr.  Lau meant by his advice/statement ? Well, he meant that should I  want to have more than one woman in my life, I should have one night stands or visit a prostitute instead of getting entangled in a long term relationship with another woman.

His advice was certainly given with good intentions and he meant well.


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