Contrary to the ravishing and love-or-death Madam Bai depicted in the famous folklore (白蛇傳) ‘Tale of the White Snake,’ I find it rather strange that the Cantonese mostly conjugates snakes to lazybones. For them, people on French leave are labeled as ser wong, or snake king (蛇王). The term ser dou (snake pit, in English) is the kind of hangouts for these good-for-nothings corporate leeches to fling themselves together.
Granted that location is crucial for every good ser dou (蛇竇), it is more about attitude, and the kinship inside that count. Here’s some basics that must be followed for an ideal ser dou to be constituted:
1) it must breathe a dungeon-like aura. Metaphorically it’s like a prison must stay prison-like to breed a sense of belonging among cellmates (meaning nothing pejorative here). More to the point, the place must be dim, somewhat manky (barely acceptable), and seemingly forsaken by all (particularly your bosses) to achieve a stress-free slumbering-ship. Some classic giveaways for the quintessential loafer la-la land: a belying entrance to shield out unwanted disturbance, proximity to a public W.C. (or a trash storage), the basement of a haunted building, et cetera.
2) staff capable of providing you with the most lethargy service in this world; given the illegitimacy of the circumstances, the last thing you want is conspicuous consumption. In short, a perfume that tweets ‘I’m a desert island, go mind your own business’ well before you creak your first step inside.
But whatever the yardstick is, Rainbow Service on the 8th floor of TakShing House must be the place for the ultimate ser wong emancipation. It is completely on a realm of its own, epitomizing the kind of seclusion only spaceships deserve.
The place is strategically ambushed among a fleet of dentists and doctors, suggesting better of a place for memorial services than one for restoration. As elusive as John Cusack’s office on floor 7½ of Being John Malkovich, there is no door knob to be found at the end of the shadowy corridor that pulls loafers of all stripes (to the black hole of vitality). What, no doorknob?! The door for the stealthy dining room is actually, now-you-see-me-now-you-don’t, hidden behind the emergency exit next to the registered address. Well, what else should we be surprised, save that we don’t need to land on some ditch in Yuen Long at the end of the meal (it’s New Jersey in the movie)?
Still, there’s an important etiquette not to be dozed off with. An honorable ser wong never greets anyone by name. A knowing nod and wink go a long way – the code of ser wong brotherhood calls for zero divulgence even upon whipping and lashing; otherwise, you’d only be a snake in the grass!
Address: Room 810, Tak Shing House, 20 Des Voeux Road, Central
Opening Hours: 0900 to 1430 hrs; weekdays only