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Den's Journal

Stories by a short, fat bastard

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Last Tuesday I was having lunch in the crib room at the Gladstone, Queensland, LNG refinery, and I overheard this conversation between a welder and a truck driver. The welder was reading an text on his phone when he started laughing.

"You know it's the Chinese New Year?" he asked the driver.


"Year of the Dragon?"


"My friend in Alice Spring says two guys dressed in a dragon costume just ran into her shop and crapped a whole lettuce on the floor."

The driver blinked at him. "What?"

I started shaking with suppressed giggles. The welder looked at me. "That's pretty wild." he said

"It's Alice Springs," I said. "It's that kind of town."

He typed into his phone, and a minute later recieved a reply. "My friend says you must have lived in the Alice for a while."

Finally the truck driver spoke. "Why a lettuce?"

The significance of the lettuce was never resolved. Even the Malaysian guy (born in Malaysia, Chinese parents) was mystified. Maybe there is a cultural significance we were missing. Maybe a lettuce crapped onto the floor of a shop by a dragon costume, is just a lettuce.

I don't care. It made a very dull day a little more interesting.

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They probably weren't Dragons, they were Lions.


During the Chinese New Year, lion dancer troupes from the Chinese martial art schools or Chinese guild and associations will visit the houses and shops of the Chinese community to perform the traditional custom of "cai ching" (採青), literally means "plucking the greens", a quest by the 'lion' to pluck the auspicious green normally 'vegetables' like lettuce which in Chinese called 'cái'(菜)that sound like 'cái'(财)(fortune) and auspicious fruit like oranges tied to a "Red Envelope" containing money; either hang highly or just put on a table in front of the premises. The "lion" will dance and approach the "green" and "red evelope" like a curious cat, to "eat the green" and "spit" it out leave it in a nice arrangement, like an auspicious character but keep the "red envelope". The lion dance is believed to bring good luck and fortune to the business and the troupe is rewarded with the "red envelope".

Ah! That explains the lettuce, then. And it was probably a lion, not a dragon, that went into the shop.

To the unknowing, they can be hard to tell apart! :-)

I'm 1/2 Chinese, so I know some of this... but Wiki can explain it faster.

So did this post. Thanks for sharing, great story :)

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