Here is a typical timeline for chibi Glow CNY: weeks ahead spring cleaning is under way. This includes me helping my mom paint either the walls, gates or window frames. One year we even painted everything! Then a week before, cleaning the decorations and start giving new breath to the old ang pow by turning them into new decorations. Invites to my friends are sent out. We have a schedule on whose friends should come at which time as we live in a small Terrence house. Typically I get the 1st day afternoon slot as most of my friends, all t of them aren't Chinese. My brothers would opt for the more cooling night as they would eat drink and be merry till the www hours of the morn.
A few days before, cookies are made or collected. Supplies of food and drinks stocked. Last minute purchase of new clothes, shoes and undies. The day before CNY really gets into full swing. Decorations are hung by my brothers in their macho shirtless glory while I would wonder where were they when my mom and I were painting our house all by ourselves. By mid morning chopping can be heard from the kitchen as my mom hollers at our cats for loitering in the kitchen. By evening decorations would be in full swing, not a wall or ceiling were to be spared from the auspicious red. Gawdy I know but it's only once a year.
Then we sit down at our dinner table for our reunion dinner. Throughout the time the table seems to be getting smaller. For a family of 6 burgeoning to 16 and yet somehow we manage. Mom would prepare a spread of minimum 5 kind of meat: pork, chicken, duck,fish,prawn,sea cucumber. Along side 2 servings of vegetables and vegetarian mock food, my favorite being the mock duck, yums!
There is a sense of bonding when we are forced to sit so close together celebrating and sharing while fighting for the choicest morsel of food. Trust me, growing up with 3 elder brothers train you in the art of eating. Through the din and clatter family unity is felt. After dinner, we plop ourselves in the living room as we recover from the food overdose. Barely an hour in it was time for a final wash of the porch as we weren't allowed to clean the house on the 1st day of CNY. This would happen around 10pm. While waiting for the fire works to come out, mom would help me put on the family jewels. That being a few choice gold wrislets as she would recite the history year after year of how these pieces came about and how I must not loose them as she seal the jewelry with an auspicious red string.
Midnight strikes as we all gather on to the street at the sound of the first explosion. We're lucky to be staying at a place where there are many Chinese businessmen willing to spend a few thousand each year for our enjoyment. The fireworks typically lasts a good 30 minutes coming for all four corners of our house. Back in we march recounting our favourite explosions. We don't put out altars to receive the God of Prosperity as my dad is a Christian so mom compromises by keeping all the lights turned on till 1am then only switching off the bedroom lights till the morning comes. I was also given the duty of wrapping the ang pows. A duty I took too immediately with glee as it meant I knew who gets what and how much. Then it was sleep time.
When I was young, the 1st morning was the most fun as we awoke groggily, clean up and out on our smashing new clothes and giddily hunt down our yearly bonuses from the elders. It was the only time if the year where we were guaranteed of genuinely behave our very best. Smilling and spouting well wishes. Traditions are men made and it changes over time. Now, being based up north things are done differently. Being with a new family one has to adapt.
Perhaps if one day I become the matriarch of the family I could merge some of our traditions together. So enough of nostalgia. Here are a few pics of this year. The table felt quite empty as dad has passed on and 3othersade a choose not to return. It was more of a sombre mood as now we become the adults putting on a jolly show for the kids. Trying to rekindle the innocent excitement we once felt.
During our return to the north on the 2nd day. Teddy Ben for pick pocketed at Mid Valley KTM station. This is how they work. They wait Tull the last minute when people have already josselted a small standing in the train. Then they leap in attempting to get a space but in actual fact the body contact was to pick your wallet. It lasted for no more than 10 seconds. Pretending to give up, they hop of the train with a smile as if to say "darn, I'll just catch the next one" but in actual fact it was a snug smile directed in your face. Doors close a split second later and you reach down realizing there would be no chase. So beware of 2 young Malay chaps one tall and lanky the other oh average height and curly hair. They operate there quite of then as another victim bidder Ben at the police station. All with the same story and location. Good thing Teddy Ben has a special insurance that covers losses like these and even help you to cancel all your cards with just one call. But the hassle is there. On a lighter note, Unifi decided to drop by with this.
A CNY hamper of appreciation. I wished they would appreciated with electronic goods as junk food isn't very healthy. None the less it was a very kind gesture from them. Unifi had been awesome to us and the tech support is awesome. 24hours a day.
Well that's it. How has your CNY celebrations been?