Mr. Cloud Ring collects thermoses and travel mugs. Not the way ten-year-olds collect Pokemon, or middle-aged church organists collect Hummel figurines, but rather the way a magnet collects iron filings. They just seem to attach themselves to him, and I’m having trouble finding places to put them.

All of these thermoses are defective in some way. One has an inscrutable lid. One holds about a half-mug of coffee, if you leave out the milk and sugar. One of them has the logo of a company where Mr. Cloud Ring once worked, of which he would prefer not to be reminded. All of them fill up with water when you wash them, then pizzle it all over you when you pick them up. (One has a Chihuahua on it, because I bought it, because Mr. Cloud Ring would never want my coffee so badly that he would stoop to drinking out of a thermos that says “I [Heart] My Chihuahua.” It’s been working very well so far.) Mr. Cloud Ring is on a perpetual quest to find the Perfect Thermos, and so far he has been unlucky.

So Mr. Cloud Ring bought a gigantic thermos from the local Chinese grocery store.

Ong Size

The box says, “Beijing Deer Articles of Metropolitan Life Co. Ltd. Deer, famous Chinese trademark. Flower color thermos,” in case you were wondering. Also, thermoses are really hard to photograph.

At 15″ tall, this thermos is far too big to fit in the cupboard, let alone a cup holder. It’s glass inside, so you can’t knock it around. It has a wooden cork instead of a screw-top, so you can’t knock it over. But it’s big enough to comfortably house a family of five, so all in all, it’s pretty awesome.

Cupboard Ong

Not gonna happen.

When we bought it, my Imaginary Chinese Grandmother opened the box and lifted the thermos out onto the conveyer belt.

“Did you check to see if it’s good?” she asked.


She uncorked the top and put her ear to the opening. “If it is good, it will go ‘Onnnnng!'”

We listened, and yes indeed, we could hear it. It made a deep, resonant “ong” noise, like the tail end of a gong. I think Mr. Cloud Ring said it’s something to do with the vacuum seal, but to be honest I kind of zone out when he starts talking about science. You could ask him.

So anyway, we bought it, and we called it The Ong, and now I can’t for the life of me find out what they’re actually called in Chinese. In my epic Google search all I could discover was that they’re hard to find in America, so yay me, I guess. They’re damn useful, though. That baby’ll keep water hot enough for tea for literally 24 hours. And you won’t run out of water, either.

Digby Ong

Chihuahua included for scale. Can you guess which of these objects is less likely to dribble on my things?

Deco Ong

It’s very decorative, too!

Here’s part two of the story: I’m kickin’ back at home, watching “China: A Century of Revolution” on YouTube, like you do. Hey-ho, looks like this guy’s got an Ong too!


We’re twinsies!

Here’s another one!


I guess they’re popular.



I hope you brought enough for everyone.

So that’s my Ong story. If any of you are looking for some slightly impractical Chinese kitchen equipment, I know where to send you.

Happy onging, everyone!