Showing posts from February, 2010

Chinese New Year Flashback: Chap Goh Meh

More than 50,000 people reportedly made a beeline for the Esplanade in Penang where the Chap Goh Mei celebration was held on 28 February to mark the end of the Chinese New Year festivities. Chap Goh Meh, ( ) which literally means fifteen night in the Hokkiendialectrefers to the fifteenth day of the first month when the first full moon of the New Year appears. This day is said to be traditionally celebrated as the Lantern Festival ( 元宵节) or the Shang Yuan Festival, not the Mid-Autumn Festival please- the latter being a harvest festival held very much later, in the eight month of the Chinese calendar to be exact. Thuan Hee and I were at the esplanade on Chap Goh Meh and we did not see people carrying lanterns, not here in Penang and definitely not elsewhere in Malaysia. There was a concert of course, and a singer in a red dress was belting out jazzy Chinese classics. For the very first time too, I heard a master of ceremony speaking in the local Penang-flavoured Hokkien dialect. It w…

Green Post: Eco-friendly Bulbs

Something about eco-friendly bulbs. They are not as friendly as you would like to think. The toxic mercury in it could be the cause of your migraines, dizziness and eczema. And if the bulb happens to fall on the floor, be sure to leave the room for at least 15 minutes before attempting to clean it up. Even then, make sure you do not vacuum up the shards of glass from the broken bulbs. Wear rubber gloves and use a broom to sweep and dispose the broken pieces in a sealed plastic bag. Protect yourself from the bulb's mercury content! Make sure you don't inhale any mercury dust!

Bra Stories

A survey carried out by a news portal in Singapore revealed that a number of Singaporean girls wash their bras only once a week while some others do not wash theirs at all! Someone was of the opinion that even if women working in an air-conditioned environment do not sweat, their skin will still turn oily after some time and will result in body odour and it is only appropriate that they change their bra every day. That strangely reminds me of Shaw sex kitten Hu Chin(inset) who was plucked from Taiwan by famed director Li Han Hsiang in 1970 to act in her first movie in Hong Kong, Four Moods. The actress with the impish look and the sexy mole on her chin went on to become a famous actress, loved and perhaps, hated too for her many seductress roles. That was the time when adult oriented genres were emerging in Hong Kong and some Taiwanese actresses like her as well as Tien Ni, Betty Pei Dee and Chen Ping were flocking to Hong Kong to play sex-up women for Shaw Brothers studio. Hu Chin so…

Prostitute Poser

Once a while you'd get to learn about Chinese culture from some of the stupid things people say. It is said that in Chinese culture, both mum and granny are sacred beings not to be encroached upon or desecrated. I learned that when someone said that Chinese women came to Malaya, now Malaysia - to jual tubuh, that means, to prostitute. Since the Indians have also been labelled as beggars, this surprising episode in Malaysia reminds not only of the shallow nature of some men who utter through their asses; but also the vast contributions of both the Indians and Chinese in Malaysia. Apart from the Indians who came to Malaya first to trade and later, in bigger numbers to tap the rubber trees, work the railway lines and teach in schools, the Chinese came to do business too, for who would you think the Indians would do their bartering with? Towards the nineteenth century, many more Chinese came. First it was just the men and later, their spouses and other women. Many women ended up as du…

Chinese New Year Cookies

Just the other day, I offered some friends some Chinese New Year cookies my niece had made. That's Achi Muruku. It's an Indian cookie. Ponni, an Indian friend had said. Oh, and I was thinking that crispy delicious thing (inset) was a Chinese item! As far as I remember, mom had made them every Chinese New Year. Now, I remember the Malay called them Kuih Loyang and I would not be surprised that some people would think that they had a Malay origin. That's the mix-up that occurs in a multi-racial country, I suppose. Anyway,have a visual treat of my niece's Chinese New Year cookies. Look for this Kuih Bangkit, a Nyonya or Straits Chinese item made out of a concoction of sugar, sago flour and santan or coconut milk... Clue: It is white but not as white as snow; for the oven had browned it so !

Cookies made by my niece... Which do you think is not a cookie and which one is Kuih Bangkit?

Chinese New Year Decorations

Chinese New Year would be making its appearance this 14 February and as usual, there would be many ang pow to go around. Ang pow refers to red envelopes containing money, given to the unmarried by the married during Chinese New Year. It is said that this is practised only in South China. In North China, money is given just as they are, that is, without any cover. The origin of the tradition of giving ang pow is not really known. I suppose too it is not known when people started making lanterns, fans and other decorative items with these red envelopes. As a child, I do not remember seeing people making them. Maybe, it is something quite recent. Things always change. they say, and I think, this is for the better...

Red Envelopes to be used for Chinese New Year...

Red packets turned decorative items... Can you spot any decorative items from these mess?

Putting up decorative items made from red envelopes...Creative, don't you think?