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Showing posts from March, 2008

Coming Home for Cheng Beng

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Nirvana Memorial Park in Semenyih, Malaysia- a landscaped Chinese cemetery...



Swee Lim came for a visit last night. Ah! Cheng Beng is in town again ! It seems to be a long time since I last saw Swee Lim during Chinese New Year.He is busy working in Kuala Lumpur some hundred of kilometers away and is now back in town to pray and pay respect to his late parents. Cheng Beng otherwise known as Qing Ming or All Souls Day, is one of the major events in the Chinese calender. The occasion which is observed by Chinese communities all over the world is supposed to fall on April 5 every year except on leap year when it falls on the fourth. On this day, the community will visit the graves of the deceased family members to pray and pay their respect. While the actual day is supposed to be on April 4, visiting the graves could be done 10 days before or after this date. Before visiting, the graves will be weeded and cleaned and in Malaysia, sometimes, Indians are employed to do the job. The whole…

Warrior Women

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Years ago, when America went to Iraq to wage war, I remember seeing in TV Baghdad's night sky lighted up as if there was a firework for some kind of celebration. War in ancient time couldn't be so colourful, I suppose. In ancient China, swords and spears were used and drums must have had played a great role too. A native of Qi for instance was asked to experiment with a troupe consisting of solely women. Do you know the front from the back and the left from the right? The man had asked and when the women assured him that they did, with a roll of a drum, he had instructed them to turn right. The women however did not move and had burst out laughing! This went on for some time and finally, the man said If the rules are not clear and orders are not understood, the commander is to be blamed. If orders are clear and are not carried out, the officers are to be blamed. Henceforth, he executed two of the leaders who happened to be the king's favourite concubines. The next time he …

What's in a Name?

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I saw a strange Chinese name in the newspapers not too long ago - Gwo Burne. I thought Gwo Burne should be written Kok Boon, Kuo Boon or something like that but most probably the person who coins the name must have wanted it to look and sound British or Western. Burne definitely does looked like very westernized but the owner of the name, I have seen him in the newspaper, he does looked very oriental, too oriental in fact! Talking about names, once a while, you get to see one or two parents giving their children ridiculous names. A man in Malaysia, I have read gave his daughter three different names, an Indian name, Malay name and Chinese name to express his patriotism. People would think he is trying to start a trend but really that is not as bad as another man who named his children alpha, beta and gamma. This reminded me of some characters in Star Wars, C3-PO, R2-D2. Adopting a western name, which is a common practice, is therefore not such a bad thing especially if it is done in …

Lee Kuan Yew's Gay Views

What do you think of Lew Kuan Yew's gay views?

Old Singapore, New Singapore

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I came across an old photo of Singapore in the net and just realized how Singapore had changed - Greatly that is and it wasLee Kuan Yew, the founding prime minister of Singapore who had transformed Singapore from a sleepy hollow of a fishing village into the modern city it is today! There had been positive and negative reports on the man but this little bit of old news about him perhaps could be count as either positive or negative, depending on where you stand: In 1974, his government had advised the Bible Society of Singapore to stop publishing religious materials in Malay. He was against Christian proselytizing directed at Malays, describing this as insensitive evangelization. Believing in maintaining religious tolerance and racial harmony, his government was ready to use the law to counter any threat that might incite ethnic and religious violence. While often accused of as an elitist and an autocrat, he was adamant that the ends justify the means. Well, I don't know what to t…

An Interview with Shirley Temple of The East

Fung Bo Bo speaks good English. The interview below is in English. As I view this, I wonder if her western counterpart speaks Cantonese or Mandarin. Fung Bo Bo acted mostly in Cantonese movies but occasionally, she appeared in Mandarin movies too. Once, when she had already blossomed into a woman, she even appeared in a Hokkien opera TV serial produced in Taiwan. I am sure I have seen my mom watched her then.

Watch Little Fung Bo Bo Performs!

Shirley Temple of the East- Fung Bo Bo

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Fung Bo Bo (inset), a popular child star of Chinese cinema, most notably in Cantonese black and white movies of the sixties, started acting at six and was often hailed as the Shirley Temple of the East. I remember seeing and being mesmerized by her in reruns in TV long ago and later caught her when she was older in a colored Shaw Brother melodrama Pink Tears, playing the daughter of popular film stars, Julie Yeh Fung and Ling Yun . While Shirley Temple, the iconic American child star tapped danced to stardom in a string of successful movies in the 30s, Fung Bo Bo talked her way in more than a hundred dramas into the heart of adults, kids and teenagers alike and the general description was that she’s so sweet and endearing that she could talk the bird into coming down from the tree and perch on her hand! In fact,she was so sweet and endearing that every mother who had seen her in a movie wanted to have her as a daughter and many rich ladies did indeed had her as a goddaughter, among w…

A Chinese Wedding in Malaysia

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Many years ago in Yangon,Myammar, I chanced upon a Chinese Wedding. There was a big crowd at a Chinese restaurant and a well- dressed couple whom I believed to be the bride and bridegroom had taken to the stage. I wasn't there for long but I would believe then that Chinese Wedding dinner are the same everywhere in the world. Today, I am not so sure but I can say for sure that Chinese Wedding dinner is almost the same all over Malaysia. Usually, the dinner would be held at night perhaps on the eve of the wedding for the bride and her guests and on the wedding night for the bridegroom and his guests. The guests would sit around a round table for eight to ten people and would give a standing ovation when the bride and bridegroom arrived, that is if they do not come early to receive the guests. An eight course dinner would then begin, starting with the special 'stars surrounding the moon' dish. It's an eight course dinner because eight in Chinese is a lucky number. Th…

Jakarta 1998

I met an Indonesian Chinese lady during Chinese New Year. The lady from Medan, Sumatera, was married to a local man and had two beautiful kids. Years back, during the economic recession which hit most of South East Asia, some Indonesian Chinese ladies tried to get out of Indonesia by marrying Chinese men from Malaysia. There was violencein Indonesia then, especially in Jakarta where there were reports of riots, bloodbath and rapes as the indigenous people attacked the local ethnic Chinese, blaming them for their economic distress. Some of these arranged marriage didn't end up well but the lady I met, definitely found her niche in Malaysia.

Jakarta, 1998