Sunday, 18 February 2007

A day at the CNY celebrations

Yesterday I felt all excited
about going out. True, I wasn’t all dressed up in a new floral frock that Ah Gek had made, but I was like 12 or thirteen and Margaret Chan again getting ready for my Chinese New year rounds. My sayang mama accompanied me before his silat class and we made our first stop at the Victoria &Albert Museum where Dato Jimmy Choo was given pride of place to exhibit his shoes and meet his fans to wish them a prosperous New Year. The crowd in front of the
V& A had gathered for the promised of a spectacular entrance of the lion dance but the troupe took their time. It was freezing cold outside. It was also very brief; a few kids screamed with fright but many warmed up to the ‘lion’. Taufiq noted that none of the members of the troupe was Chinese. In fact, he further noted that the one holding up the head was a singh, prompting him to say that it was a ‘singha dance’ which I thought was very funny. Good sense of humour that, my sayang mama.

We followed the lion as it pranced about amongst the precious exhibits of the V&A and what a din the drums made in the usually quiet and sober surroundings of the museum. We then ended up in the room with our famous shoe designer and family. Fans were already crowding around him wanting to take pictures with him but Kak Teh managed to get this from him to you:

Looking around the hall, I saw a game I used to play and it brought such sweet memories. The Chinese Chess. When I was living with Tok the year Mak left for Mekah, I befriended the daughters of the Chinese contractor who rented the house that Pak built for Mak just next to Tok’s house. Everyday, after school, I’d rush with my homework and join the two girls whose name I forgot, but who also taught me the song Pu Yau that I sang wholeheartedly in the bathroom. With the chores done for Tok, such as the tulang belud and hemming up the baju kurungs that she made for her clients, Kak Cik and I would go over to the house and sit outside and play Chinese Chess. I believe I was quite good at it but now I have even forgotten the moves or the characters. So I persuaded Mrs JC to show me how.

When ewok came with some friends, we made our way to Trafalgar Square joining throngs of other revellers to celebrate the start of Shanghai Week. We had of course missed the Shaolin monks but we were in time to see some Chinese Dance by an all English girls troupe, and a very talented violinist. And we saw a very foolish martial artiste break several bricks with his head and an even more foolish one demonstrating a very effective method of birth control by having someone hit his you know where with a very long rod! I swear to you, as it was also shown on the big screen, every male had their legs crossed at that time, while letting our a chorus of groans.

Having seen enough of sadistic acts, we made our way to Leicester Square and a much bigger crowd had gathered to watch a display of fireworks. We managed to get a dragon which became everyone's favourite accessory for the day.

The operatic song coming from the square just before the fireworks brought my memories back to the time when a dance troupe would play night after night just down the road.

Kak Cik and I would persuade Tok to let us go and see. The actors wore very heavy make-up with fierce looking faces and beards almost touching the floor. I never knew what the plays were all about, but I remember being very scared of the character with the long beard. Even on nights when we didn't go, we could hear the soulful rendition carried by the wind into our bedroom.

Alas the fireworks was a disappointment. They could have waited for the sky to become darker for it to be more effective. So, apart from the din and the shouts from the crowd, it looked more like a community effort to burn their rubbish in the square – with smoke rising to the sky. And so it was time to go. We took our dragons and made our way to Mawar for a bit of koayteow and roti canai.



Hi&Lo said...

Kak Teh dan Kawan2 yg berbudi,

As much as I pray for myself to be prosperous rohani dan jasmani, the prayer of thanksgiving also goes out to everyone of you.

Tho we have not met, I can feel the deep kinship with you all. The kind words of exchange is very refreshing.

Today I went to church. The sermon was on the seasons of life. I smiled to myself cos Kak Teh had been cooking a storm of glorious autumn.

And I am in the autumn of my life. During my days in Penang, the streets were carpeted with red, yellow flowers of the Angsana.

Autumn can be the best season of the year.

Anonymous said...

happy chinese new year to all of u too :0)
cant wait 4 d pictures kak teh

Kak Teh said...

hi&lo, aren't you supposed to be stuffing your face with food today instead of visiting blogs? I hope the weather is as nice as yesterday. today is the start of Shanghai Week and I am sure Trafalgar Square and Chinatown will be so colourful and full of interesting events. Will come back with pictures - I hope.
as for the sermon - aaaah, the priest must have been in his autumn years as well.

simah, kak teh dok tunggu kawan nak pi. belum siap lagi ni. battery semua dah recharged!

Sri Diah said...

Salam Kak Teh
Semoga enjoy di Trafalgar Square and Chinatown. Nanti upload gambar2 menarik di sini. Today baca tentang si kurus yang tergedik-gedik di pentas ;-)

wonda said...

"Margaret Chan",
Gong Xi Fa Cai! Enjoy yourself but don't get lost in the crowd. Please give my hugs and regards to Judy for me when you see her. She is probably too busy to chat with me.

Hi&Lo said...

Kak Teh,

You are so observant. After church service, I had lunch by myself.

Guess what I had? Mee Suah with herba ayam sup together with long black coffee. Not that I was kiam siap to complain but RM18 was too much. I quietly paid without a fuss.

Mee Suah on 1st day of CNY was my Penang tradition. Supposedly Mee Suah give longetivity as long as the mee suah. :)

It's not the quantity of life but I hope to expire before my brain's shelf-life. :)

This year was first time after many years to have a reunion dinner. My pal's mom-in-law is a Toishan. The table spread totally unique. Unlike nonya style, the cooking was minimum to bring out the natural flavour.

Fish maw with sea cucumber, soya skin fried with lam yee (red tau joo), kampong-bred chicken steamed, steamed grouper and asparagus. Everything pork-free.

Just now I settled for nasi lemak at a roadside warong.

All my years here I spent CNY at the Promenade Hotel gym and spa. The flurry of activities at the lobby gave me the CNY mood.

Thanks for allowing me the space to share a bit of my CNY in kk.

By the way the tune of Sabah is Jambatan Tamparuli. Tamparuli is about 30KM from KK, an idyllic dusun district.

The lyric is about a kampong boy crossing the wooden suspension bridge of the village.

He was wearing his prized sepatu and it accidentally got stucked in between the crevices of the plank, and it fell into the river. Thus, he sang his lamentation.

Kak Teh, did you read in Ruby Ahmad's blog my comment about my funniest incident?

Rohaya & Taufik said...

Kak Teh,

Iskkk we miss the opportunity to see you today around Trafalgar Square.. heheh the weather was too cold and because of that we had to leave early. It's the golden boar year this year, and Taufik seems to believe that all the luck will go into his pocket heheh just joking

Anonymous said...

Hello kak Teh, I wish you and all at home a very Happy New Year, with lots of sunshine, laughter and good health always.
Kong Hei Fatt Choy!
I will return soon in a the new upgraded Blog...old one too many sad 'Memories'.
Start new year rumah baru.
Best regards, UL.

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh,

Satu perkara yg agak lucu, kata kucing saya sambil memakai gincu, ialah tahun ini, ramai (yang bukan Cina) tak perasan tahun ini, tahun apa, kata kucing saya sambil mengunyah biskut kelapa. Sebab, selalunya, semua animals yang terdahulu, diiklankan gambar mereka di kaca tv, suratkhabar dan papantanda bagi menandakan Tahun Baru Cina yang bakal tiba, kata kucing saya sambil memegang timba. Tapi sebab tahun ini, adalah tahun Babi, jadi mungkin takde sapa nak letak gambar babi terpampang di papantanda. Apatah lagi, di kaca televisyen, kata kucing saya sambil menyapu losyen.
Walaubagaimanapun, kucing saya, Pak Malim,kucing yang alim,
telah menulis serangkap pantun, untuk dinyanyi bersama. Sing to the tune of Gong Xi, Gong Xi.

"Kera petik ubi
Untuk beri babi
Babi pun gembira
Terus peluk kera".

Gong Xi Gong Xi Gong Xi Ni.
Oink Oink
Gong Xi Gong Xi Gong Xi Ni
Oink Oink

Ray and the Chinese Cats
Koala Lumpur

Kak Teh said...

sri diah, enjoy tapi letih. sakit kaki dan orang ramai sangat. Hai, kalau sepuluh tahun dulu tu lebih lagi lah enjoynya!

alice @wonda, i will certainly hug judy for you!

Hi&lo, I have never eaten mee suah - must try one day. and thank you for that beautiful background on the tune of Sabah. I didnt know this at all! and yes, i read Ruby's!

Kak Teh said...

rohaya & Taufiq - what a pity - we went to V&A first and was quite late at Trafalgar square - i think we were there at 3pm and went to leicester Sq at 4.30. Yes, It was very cold.

Uncle lee, please hurry up and publish yr blog. am sure you have beautiful memories of Chinese New year. when u start rumah baru, please let me know.

ray and the chinese cats,
kak teh ketawa dengar cerita,
pasal orang ternama punya angkara,
nak bergambar dengan yang elok belaka,
dah tahun ni depa hilang ke mana.

ray dengan kucing tak ke pergi raya ka?
makan kueh kapit dan kueh bakul semua,
dapat angpow tentu gembira,
beli whiskers in jelly tentulah suka.

Theta said...

Sounds very festive and jovial in London that day! Glad you had tonnes of fun!
The Hague also held something similar, albeit on a much smaller scale, which we chanced upon in our regular weekend visit there.
The procession was along Den Haag's busy tram line so it's quite hard to miss.
And like Taufiq, I also noticed those who carried the lion were not Chinese. They're all mat sallehs! Also the same for the ones waving small CNY flags to the crowd in the parade! How refreshing!
Too bad we didn't bring a camera.

wonda said...

Margaret Chan,
What a grand celebration! Thank you for regaling us with your interesting snippet and filling what I missed out on the CNY celebration. Brought back many memories.Ah... that Chinese chess -I used to play it with my dad and brother when I was small. If I am not mistaken, it is also known as "Elephant Chess" in Mandarin. Bought a pocket magnetic type of that chess for my son last year. I lost to him cos he has his Chinese cousins as his mentors.
Thank you to hi&lo for enlightening me too. Hmm... eating Mee Suah has not been my Pg. tradition. Toishan? Like Cantonese? I wonder.
A very Happy New Year to all the Chinese readers!

Kak Teh said...

theta, never leave home without yr camera! I really want to go back to Holland and walk along the canals.Insyaallah, one day.

wonda, i knew the chinese chess will bring back someone's memories too!but mee suah? when i go back - i must try .

D said...

Just wondering, weren't there any lions wearing Jimmy Choos?? ahaks..

Atok said...

tu la dia, punyalah ramai makhluk kat leicester sq tu, nak masuk pun seksa... berasak2. tu yg i gave up and joined you all at mawar tu.

nway, dragon dah bagi adik this morning...seronok dia, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Dear Kak Teh @ Aunty Z, still remember me? Hubby who actually stumble on your blog by accident & he said, isn't this your aunty in London. Yep sure enough. Anyway, really enjoyed reading the entries. Brings back memories of UK. Still remember that scrumptious choc trifle cake slice. Hardly recognise the children. I only remember Taufiq as a baby then. Take care to all of you over there.

silversarina said...

Happy CNY kak teh and family,

Wah meriahnya CNY kat London..... Kat sini tak sambut apapun sebab chinese pun sikit sangat.


Hi Ah,

We had a lovely Chinese New Year yesterday ... sunny (not too hot) and then there was a light shower in the afternoon...long enough to leave a crisp refreshing feel.

Today was the same. Seems to be a great start to this year of the boar.
And I see you have kept yourself busy visiting friends.....

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh, looks like you had more fun on Friday than I did. Slaving away in the kitchen and driver to my daughter.

I will get in touch with you come closer the time. My son has actually returned to QM yesterday.


HCI said...

Kak Teh; tumpang rasa seronok.

wmw said...

Thanks for your CNY wishes....looks like you had lots of fun too!

Kak Teh said...

d, lions in Jimmy Choo's? Hahahaha! That'll be the day and I will be the first one to write abt it!

atok, hope she likes it and thanks for the picture message! aiyooo - adik so big oredi!!!

ainun, dearest ainun, welcome to my blog! so yr husband yang jumpa, eh! anuar drops in once in a while too. met georgie di whiteleys and he was so terkejut the first words he said to me, eh aunty, i baca yr blog! all i wanted to do is cekik him for not telling us he was coming. Hope u are all well. Will be back next month. any chance of meeting yr parents?

Kak Teh said...

loveujordan, tak apa- that is why i brought to you the celebrations here. meriah sangat - tujuh hari tujuh malam!.

ena, been running around like headless chicken! see you next month, okay? remind fato orso and the rest.

JL, so are u still coming? sms me lah!

Kak Teh said...

has, seronok dah hilang - letih pulak. kaki pun rasa dok sakit lagi sebab banyak berjalan.

wmw, hope you had a great day!

Mama Rock said...

you guys looked like you had a ball! it's quiet in KL now, but that doesnt stop the kueh bangkit and oranges to be gobbled down :)

Blabarella said...

Aaah, I miss the days of getting nice, fat red ang pows from my Chinese relatives and their friends, (one of the hazards of getting married!) and eating homemade kueh kapit. It looked like a truly wonderful celebration there in London! Gong Xi Fa Chai to Margaret Chan!! :)

Theta said...

Kak Teh, will heed your advice and bring a camera wherever
Yes, do come by and visit the Netherlands in the Spring when tulips are ablooming!
By the by, going to visit London come April and hopefully can bump into you in the flesh then! ;)

Anonymous said...

Dear Aunty Z,

Will you be long here next month? Do inform us at , hope we can meet up. Babah & Mummy do come down, at least every month or two. Normally to attend wedding, khenduri or just visiting all the cucus, nine plus one on the way. Not me!

Kak Elle said...

kakteh gong xi fa cai to you too.I had CNY in KL meeting up the makcik bloggers..maklang,kaklady and sya..wish I can meet up with more:)

ManaL said...

Tong2 cheng...hmmm and they tried not to say pig here, opting to sub it with boar instead. I think pig is a unisex term, as boar is the male and sow the female pig. But of course, it comes with the cursing possibility...

Anyways...why ooo why did they not do that VnA thingie (Datuk Jimmy, lion dance) while i was around huh!!!! The nearest to chinese stuff are that paper tiger and oriental kitchen restaurants near south ken stn.

takpe la, we got kak teh the ever-reliable reporter-friend to relay whatever happening through her lenses n words....thx kak teh! Saw ken livingstone officiating CNY celeb down at the oxford circus-regent st on telly recently....damn, half of me is still there so to speak.

Faze said...

I used to play a lot of Chinese Chess and backgammon too, almost everyday actually. But that was eons ago. Now I don't even remember how to move the pieces. Strangely though, I can still remember how to play chess. I wonder why..

CNY this year was a little quiet.

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh - Kong Hee Fat Choy to you. Sounds like it's very sejuk there. We spent most of it paddling in the sea!

tokasid said...

Salam to kak teh and all,
Wah kak teh pun Raya sakan noo..
Cek tahun ni malam raya naik moto kapcai dengan mem ronda2 Jebatville ,nak tengok tanglung di waktu malam.Sungguh cantik.tapi kami notice tahun ni tak banyak tanglung yg di gantung dan tak banyak jalan yg di gantung tanglung.tak macam tahun2 sebelum ni. Dulu Jebatville City Hall pasang tanglung rata-riti.tahun ni kebanyakkan tanglung di pasang oleh persatuan penduduk dan lebih tertumpu di Jonker street dan Jalan Bunga Raya. dari segi lampu nampak kurang meriah.

On the CNY cek naik kapcai sorang2 ronda Jonker street nak cari Singa dan Naga. Dapatlah singa 2-3 ekor dok menari(photos coming soon in my blog).Dan cek masuk tokong tertua di Malaysia to take fotos orang semayang. I'm the 2nd malay there(sorang lagi security guard on duty)and the chinese tengok saya semacam saja.depa pelik kot ada melayu sesat dalam tokong.

That was my first experience in a tokong. It was a feast for the eyes.Hoping to share those photos later.
Kak teh nak balik Malaysia ya? sayang mama dan AG balik jugak ka?


madame blossom said...

kak teh.. I like that dragon toy you're holding.. apa tu eh nama dia.. it's cute!

Anonymous said...

kak teh,

raya sakan nampak!

Kak Teh said...

mama rick - i'd give anything for a kueh bangkit right now -dah lama betul tak makan.

ms blabs - its a seven day celebration - and it is still going on. I love all the colours and the atmosphere.

theta, I shd be back in London by april - let me know when you are coming, ya?

Kak Teh said...

ainun, will email you - am glad we are in touch. my love to yr parents - i get teary eyed when ever i think abt them.

kak elle..oooh so jumpa makcik bloggers eh? so ini yang kedua laa..dulu pun ada juga.

manal, insyaallah will do my utmost to report the goings on...hehe - nampaknya lebih banyak report di blog drp report di akhbar!

Kak Teh said...

missie, i have totally forgotten how to play the chinese chess. indeed i played it almost everyday too.and come to think of it - i have even forgotten the lyrics to pu yau!

tunku, indeed - very sejuk. the weather is so temperamental. are u back in aussieland?

Kak Teh said...

tokasid, waaaah, seronoknya meronda dengan mem! kak teh memang suka sangat join in any kind of celebrations. so colourful and so meriah. nanti nak tengok gambar tokasid pulak.

blossom, its paper dragon yang boleh tarik-tarik. hehe! ramai orang buat hairband!

pokmang, raya laah sikit sebanyak sebab nak ambik gambar- lepas tu kaki pun sakit.

Unknown said...

Hi Kak Teh,

Whoa! I can feel the excitement there on the street. With all the cling clanging of dum dum chang! dum dum chang! Ha ha ha! Not forgetting the dextrous moves of the dragon!! Wonderful really.

Boy! What a special scoop having that exclusive message from the one of the most famous shoe-designers in the world, Dato Jimmy Choo, just for you and Taufik. Atta a gal Kak Teh!

It is just amazing how technology (I can never get over it) allows us to see what you saw that day. Wonderful and exciting. Thanks for sharing dear.

Looking forward to your trip back home.

Mr. Right said...

hello kak Teh...gong xi fa chai...

Maverick SM said...

I am amused by the Singha dance...LOL!

Anyway, it's Happy New Year to all and to you as well.

High Power Rocketry said...

: )

rawna said...

Aunt, better make sure we, at least georgieboy, sis & moi meet up when you're back. Otherwise you will pay dearly... we might just gatecrash your cosy EA home with our sleeping bags, demanding laksa & chocolate trifle, like good ole carefree times ! ;)

NorAiniJ said...

Salam Kak Teh,

I too always enjoy watching (and sometimes mentally participating hehe)the lion dance.

But I have not seen that many Singha dances before,gud one there Kak Teh / Taufik..hehe.

m.u.l.a.n said...

a singh performed the "singha dance"!! wowww..caya la. meriah betol celebration in london.

Fauziah Ismail said...

Kak Teh
Still in a holiday mood despite the already extended weekend. Wished I had taken leave. The office is so quiet, it's almost surreal!

Typhoon Sue said...

a singh singa? hehehe...
very muhibbah don't u think?

ray: love the song... I'm singing it just as I'm writing this. :)

Yea, lotsa ppl didn't realize what year it is coz no pics splashed all over the place (pun intended). It's bonne de cochon, year of the khindzir. Supposedly a very prosperous year - tho not a very good year for a rat like me.... hmmmm?

I also heard that a lot of Muslims in China were offended by pics of pigs everywhere that they staged a protest and demanded the zodiak be changed to Panda instead!! harhar!

Kak Teh said...

ruby, yes, I still can't imagine that we can communicate in real time with friends all over the world!

mr right - same to you!

maverick sm - happy new year to you too! yes, the singha dance is real cute.

r2k :)

Kak Teh said...

rawna, sure , lets arrange something! promise, this time we will make it happen.

nj, yes, it is so funny when we can actually see him and turban from the lion;'s mouth!

mulan, memang meriah,. and it is still going on now.

x-matters - here - only china town masih meriah.

typhoon sue, oh dear- so it is boar there and pig here. sama laa tu. a rose by any other name, kan?