Feb 27, 2015

16 Kid At Heart, Watching The Lion Dance

Tak Tung Chiang is here!!!

That's how we alerted the elders that the Lion Dance troupe had arrived when we were little. Tak Tuk Chiang, being the sound of the beating drum that accompanies the lion dance.

Chinese New Year is a happening affair back in my kampung. We would all hang red lanterns and prosperity symbols on the door. This also makes it easy for the lion dance troupe to identify which houses to visit. The lion would stop by and bless homes with good luck and fortune.

Dad would prepare several red packets (ang pao) with money for the lion. Several, because the number of lions that visit us can be as many as seven or eight in the first two days of the New Year! Some lions are from temples and some are from Chinese schools. Dad gives more to the temple that 'takes care of me' - although we're church-going people, I was also a devotee of the Goddess Kuan Yin. Ah, but this is another story altogether.

My corner of the kampung is predominantly Chinese so it made more sense for the lion to walk from house to house than get on and off the slow-moving truck that transports the whole troupe. It's always an exciting time for adults and kids alike, one filled with vibrant chatter, GongXi wishes and occasional mimicking of lion dance movements, as we followed the lion to far as five houses!

Fast forward now and in my middle age, I still make an effort to catch the lion dance every year. I have this feeling that if I were to stop, my life would be a lot less colourful and festive gatherings would slowly fade away to routine table get-togethers that are less memorable ...not less enjoyable ..just less memorable.

These photos were taken on the first day, after having our annual mee sua (longevity noodles) breakfast.  I apologise for the blurry pics!

A little bit about what's going on. The lion first pays respect to the deity and ancestors. Drums and cymbals slow to a uniform beat at this point. It picks up dramatically when the lion starts bowing.

And then, it gets exciting with fancy footwork and the lion agilely jumping about and raising its head.

Lion paying respect.

This is a short video of the lion giving out mandarin oranges to onlookers, including me. 

My share of the lion loot. They say these bring good luck.

Mandarin Oranges

Lions taking more oranges to give out.

Hanging from the ceiling of the entrance of this building is a bundle of fresh lettuce with a red packet tied to it. Lettuce carries the symbol of wealth. One lion lifts the other to reach it. It eats the lettuce and spits it out to the crowd, symbolic of spreading wealth to all of us who were there. That's the gist of it.

Now you know how I spend my New Year mornings. I'd be looking out for the lion!

With that, I wish everyone "Gong Xi Fa Cai!" (I wish you prosperity).

Feb 14, 2015

10 CNY Decor At 1Utama

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

I've just finished preparing the home for Chinese New Year. On Valentine's Day? I know...but I'm feeling really accomplished.

The decor is up. The prosperity symbol, a red papercut piece, hangs outside my door upside down. I welcome spring with a thin cardboard sign with the Chinese character emblazoned on it.

1Utama CNY Decor

Festive cookies, ang pao packets, lively songs I don't understand a word of and oh, as I type this, someone's lighted the  firecracker! I've heard drum beats from a couple of trucks ferrying the lion dance troupe passing by my home.

It's hard to not feel overly excited.

These are photos I took the other day of the decor at 1Utama Shopping Mall.

Theme : Bloom of Opulence (Left, Spring. Center, God of Prosperity)

Summer (Back), Autumn (Front)

It reminds me of the old Chinese opera performers. So lovely to look at. If these came in small sized dolls, I would definitely buy some to decorate my home.


Oh my, it's almost 6PM. I have to go get ready. ..for dinner, of course.

Feb 7, 2015

16 The Endgame is REAL ~ Meet & Greet : James Frey

It all started with a regular visit to Popular Bookstore to get the Endgame book. While browsing the magazines corner, I noticed a huge banner promoting a 'Meet and Greet' with American writer, James Frey.

"Heyyyyy ... that's a coincidence! " I thought to myself. I snapped a photo of the details.

Five days later, I was back at the store, waiting excitedly.

Who is James Frey exactly? Well, I can't tell you that of course but I do know that besides Endgame: The Calling, he was also one of the authors for I Am Number Four, a book which has already been made into a movie. Have you watched it? I did, and enjoyed the fight scene between Number Six and the Mogadorians very much.

Anyway, back to the story. It was a relaxing session. James sat down and chatted with us for awhile. He shared how the book Endgame came about and also some amazing bits about the world and aliens.

James Frey in Kuala Lumpur

In between, there was a quiz to win Endgame merchandise. Some lucky people walked away with tees. After that, we got our books autographed. This is me.

James signing Sharon's Endgame book!
Nice, right?

Tadaaa...so cool!

I could not miss a photo opportunity!

Sharon meets James Frey

Endgame is basically a science fiction story where 12 chosen young people from different communities are taken away to fight for their survival, and the fate of the human race, in an endgame designed by Aliens. Hunger Games much? Not really!

There is a twist to this book which makes it unique. It was written with a real adventure slipped in. Yup, in its pages, is a mystery to solve. Think intricate puzzles and codes. Anyone who figures it out will win a prize of US$500,000 in gold!

The concept was inspired by Masquerade, a 1979 book which was written to include clues to the location of real hidden treasure.

More about Endgame, the game, here: www.endgamegold.com

But if you're not into that, you can just read the book for its amazing story.

Book and tee, Endgame: The Calling


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