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How Man Wong is in town. His name came up in a previous post, when I wrote about a trip to Hong Kong. We had lunch together at a floating restaurant while I was there. This time, it was burgers on Brunswick street. I met HM a little over a decade ago when I got lost and stumbled into his village on the southern end of Hong Kong Island.

I had succumbed to an invitation to join a “Trailwalker” team. The name signifies an annual fund raising event in the colony. Every expat loves to have done it. The idea is to walk or run along the Maclehose Trail 100 kms (66 miles) with three of your mates within 48 hours. The trick is that the trail goes up and down every peak but one in the New Territories, an elevation equivalent of Everest. Getting lost was the least of my worries.

How Man had returned to Hong Kong to pursue his dream, building a small, effective non-profit organization to explore, research and undertake cultural and environmental projects in China. After college studies in the U.S., he did his training with National Geographic. His ambition with China Exploration and Research Society was to do much more with a whole lot less. Surprisingly, with a little help from his friends, he has done just that. Check out the web site– http://www.cers.org.hk.kittens

The last authentic Burmese cat, named Wong Mau, was said to have left the country in 1930, with an American sailor. It was sable colored with dark brown points. It was later given to Dr. Joseph Thompson of San Francisco, who cross-bred it with a Siamese and then established a breeding program to reproduce Wong Mau’s characteristics. It was accepted as a new breed in the US in 1934. From there, the offspring were introduced in Europe and elsewhere.

When we lived in Hong Kong, one of my daughter’s playmates had a Burmese kitten. The two children used to put that cat through a multitude of indignities, dressing it up and parading it in petticoats and a bonnet down into our inner courtyard. She was very tolerant.

How Man didn’t come all this way to have lunch with an old friend. He is here in search of kittens. He wants to bring them back, reintroduce them to their native land. He has a place picked out. From the pictures I’ve seen it looks idyllic, perfect for the purpose. It is a village of houses on stilts at Inle Lake. From there, if all goes well, dark, sable kittens will be placed in homes across the land. A proud breed back home at last, full circle.

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