I penned the following letter to Hong Kong’s Ocean Park shortly after a visit this summer…
Dear Mr Zeman,
On the morning of Saturday March 14th I bestowed my presence upon your fine aquatically themed leisure park and was surprised to discover that you apparently enforce a strict dress code. Indeed, had I have known that your establishment required a certain impractical distinction to its guest’s attire whilst wolfing down candy floss, fraternising with sea mammals and tackling the ‘Abyss Turbo Drop’; I may have reconsidered donning a bright yellow chicken costume. However, one failed to recognise any such clothing directive in your small print.
Whilst admiring your charming flurry of flamingos near the entrance, I was accosted by a staffer who offered me tickets to return at another time, sans rooster outfit. Upon challenging this audacious offer, I was informed that certain fellow visitors could potentially mistake me for an employee. I delicately reassured the over-zealous worker that should an unlikely misinterpretation occur, I would graciously elucidate that my appearance as a giant six-foot-white-boy-chicken was solely for my own exclusive enjoyment, and that any enjoyment experienced by third-parties was purely coincidental.
Despite bearing little resemblance to ‘Whiskers’, the cherished park sea-lion mascot, I humoured your member of staff and demanded to examine the relevant passage of the terms and conditions forthwith! When presented with a list of visitor provisos, I immediately noted the unsurprising absence of any section associated with the bearing of poultry-related garments, and gently indicated that barefaced discrimination surrounding guest’s physical appearance would surely be a PR faux pas.
Since below the chicken suit I had bore only my birthday suit, I was unwilling to sacrifice my fowl garb, if only to spare innocent visitors the horror of one’s near-translucent milky white chest. As our fervent exchange climaxed, a compromise was reached whereby I would detach the chicken head – to which I reluctantly complied.
I later concluded that when devoid of the aforementioned headdress, I was simply a man wearing a bright yellow romper suit complete with random tail. Any previous similitude to gallus domesticus had thus vanished and I became overwhelmingly embarrassed. Wary of being judged to be a sheer loon, I reinstated the bonnet without delay.
One can only imagine the emotional trauma and lasting turmoil one suffered when confronted twice more by security personnel objecting to my disallowed headpiece. It is felt that the only possible compensation to allay my lasting personal suffering and distress would be tickets gratis for a further visit to your splendid Oceanic enterprise.
Thomas William Grundy.
Mr Zeman’s response…
(…and for those wondering – yes, of course I was kidding!)