Showing posts from April, 2010

CNY Flashback: Chinese New Year Tree

You'd heard of a Christmas tree for the Yuletide but a Chinese New Year tree for Chinese New Year? This year, we have just that at home - Chinese New Year tree. Some of the trees and shrubs in the garden got decorated with red envelopes and that I suppose, could be called Chinese New Year trees. By the way, the red envelopes which when filled with money are called ang pow and are given to children by adults during Chinese New Year. Elders normally give ang pows to the children on the first day but the red packets can be given out throughout the fifteen days of Chinese New Year. The red packets are given by married people to unmarried people regardless of their age. The unmarried stand to gain when they go a-visiting. Perhaps, here, you can see the joy of visiting during Chinese New Year!

CNY Flashback: Hey, Cookies!

Cookies made prior to Chinese New Year are put to good use when friends came a-visiting during Chinese New Year. When there are visitors, a special dish that could be filled with a myriad of cookies (inset) would be dished out and passed around and friends and host alike may nibble them and chat at the same time; that is if they don't get themselves involved in playing cards! Chinese New Year cookies are often dry and look like they are made to last! Often kueh kapit (love letters), kueh bangkit, peanut cookies and other traditional and modern cookies are made and stored in tins and bottles and would last even after the New Year. But, what is importants on Chinese New Year is the gathering of relatives and friends...

Getting together during Chinese New Year...

Green Post: Look What they have been throwing!

On Earth day, some 2,800 volunteers scoured the 5.7km stretch of Gurney Drive, Tanjung Bungah and Batu Ferringhi in Penang, Malaysia to collect garbage. The number of volunteers far exceeded the 2,500 people targetted and Pulau Tikus assemblyman Koay Teng Hai said the Penang state government might consider applying for this event to be listed as the biggest clean-up operation in the Malaysia Book of Records. Universiti Sains Malaysia Marine and Coastal Studies Centre researchers reported that 5.7 tonnes of garbage were collected from Gurney Drive, 0.3 tonnes from Batu Ferringhi and 0.4 tonnes from Tanjung Bungah. More than 48,000 items were in the entire pile of garbage and among these were a refrigerator, a bulldozer tyre,diapers, undergarments, condoms and lubrication bottles from Gurney Drive. A total of 51 condoms, 128 diapers, 222 tampons and 53 syringes were picked up during the four-hour clean-up. You'd wonder what people would throw next!

CNY Flashback is taking a break!

CNY Flashback: Food for Chinese New Year

My late grandmother hid the broom on Chinese New Year Day. Chinese New Year officially begins at midnight and a special prayer will be held to send the Gods off to Heaven. From then on, brooms and dust pans are put away so that the newly arrived good luck cannot be swept away. My late grandmother hid the broom so that the kids at home would not get to lay their hands on them and unwittingly sweep away the good luck. Sweeping the floor is not the only taboo on Chinese New Year day. There are people who consider lighting fires and using knives to be bad luck too. So food naturally has to be cooked the day before. Preserved food therefore should have a special place during Chinese New Year and top on the list would be Chinese sausages and waxed duck. Waxed duck, by the way are not waxed but cured and they are, I think, more popular to the Cantonese. In my Hokkien home, I have not seen a waxed duck being served yet...

Which would you prefer? Waxed duck or Chinese sausages?

Munch on this whi…

CNY Flashback: Chinese New Year Breakfast

Talking about vermicelli - this has been described to be a type of pasta but get confused you would! Vermicelli has its history in many parts of the world, not just in China and various parts of East Asia but also in Italy, Americas, Middle East and even North EastAfrica. In East Asia, there is the rice vermicelli often described as rice noodles. Then, there is the vermicelli made from mung bean, which is translucent when cooked and vermicelli made of wheat. The latter, commonly used in Chinese cuisine, is called mee sua 面线 in Hokkien, min seen in Cantonese and mian xian in Mandarin Chinese: mian xian). My sister-in-law always cooks that(inset) for Chinese New Year breakfast. Bless her! For me, it's better than bread or cornflakes!

CNY Flashback: Dinner at Chinese New Year Eve

In China, it is common to see millions of Chinese jamming train stations to buy tickets home for the Lunar New Year break. I suppose Chinese everywhere will try to make home before Chinese New Year's Eve since one of the highlights of Chinese New Year is on the eve itself. There will be a big dinner and every member of a family is expected to be present. You'd see that in Malaysia too, people come home from every corner of the nation to have dinner with the family. In northern China, it is said that dumplings (jiaozi 饺子) are made after dinner as their shape like a Chinese tael symbolize wealth. Most Chinese in Malaysia come from South China and I suppose, that's why you don't see people making dumplings after dinner. But be assured though, there'd be plenty of food to go around on Chinese New Year's Eve!(inset)

CNY Flashback: Chinese New Year Greetings

Days before Chinese New Year, it is usual for Chinese families to give their home a thorough spring cleaning. Some believe this sweeps away the bad luck of the previous year and the home is now ready for good luck. The house may be repainted too and then gaily decorated with paper cut outs of Chinese auspicious phrases and couplets . It is easier nowaday as one could easily buy ready-made paper decorations. Meanwhile, of course, you'd probably receive Chinese New Year cards which would come posted to you in pink envelopes (inset). I remember receiving more Chinese New Year in the seventies compared to say, today. One could still find Chinese New Year cards being sold in supermarkets and shops. Mini-size Chinese New Year cards have been in the market for some time now and I suppose they are more popular with students. I do wonder however if sales of Chinese New Year cards are as brisk as in those good old days when the post office got flooded with Chinese New Year cards and the pos…