Of giant flags, nasi kunyit and all things Penang

Ok, enough of earthquakes for me. I hate gawking at people’s tragedies when there is nothing much I can do about it. I don’t have the brains to analyse the situation so I shall blog about all things Penang since the focus is on my island.

On Christmas day, I was trapped in the middle of the Pesta Pulau Pinang chingay procession but damn, I did not have my camera with me. My SE630 can capture photos but more damn, I don’t have the blue tooth/infrared/cable to transfer the photos from my phone to my computer. Heck, why did I buy a phone with camera when I am too stingy/kiam siap to get the accessories? Penang people like dat wan….

When you lived in Penang as long as I, you will get jaded to all it’s quirkiness and won’t appreciate it’s uniqueness. You will be cursing at the traffic jams and forgot to enjoy the beauty of our multi-racial procession. You will be blaming your bad luck to stumble into the middle of the procession when all you want is a bowl of wan-tan mee from Johor Road (Padang). But hey, I am now a blogger, and a blogger get all excited whenever he/she finds something to blog about.

So, I was a born-again tourist. I marvelled at the dedication of all the participants, I oooh and ahhh at the colourful lights. I jumped with excitement because there must be at least 20 lions dance and 1 dragon, performing just for my kids. I was in glee because the rounded face mascot (wearing a huge helmet-like mask) gave sweets to my kids ala Santa Claus. Hey, since when did Chinese traditions blend with Christmas? Never mind, I get all fuzzy watching the Persatuan Basikal Tua members wearing traditional Malay costumes riding on olden type bicycles. Reminds me of my father’s Raleigh. I feel so proud to see the band from Sek. Men. St Xavier all decked out in their pom-pom and skirts. (OK, not skirts ‘cos they are all boys). Hey, that’s my sons’ school so I feel extra proud.

In case you guys do not know what chingay is, it is a giant flag. Really huge. And these hulk of apeks (most of them are very China-men) will balance these flags on their arms, shoulders, back of the neck, teeth and all parts of their bodies (though I am not sure if their poles can hold the weight of the bamboo poles, kikhkikhkikh). Eversince I was small, I have this fear of the giant flag falling on my head, crushing my brain, whatever little I have left. I hate to be caught in chingay processions for this reason. It is no fun when you have these poles, left, right and centre. It is scary because these men will be showing off their skills and passing the flag from person to person. These show-offs may missed passing and the flag landed on me instead. Scary….

If I can find some photos on the net, I will post it here. I know I am enjoying good traffic to this blog because of the earthquake. So, the ever enterprising me is banking in on the glory and forgetting others’ tragedies. (OK, I am really not that rotten. It is just that maybe we can use a little refreshing change.)

Right after yesterday morning quake that shook me out of my apartment, my cousin Lean (male), came to my house to deliver nasi kunyit. Wonder why my grandpa in China love the name Lian/Lean so much? And I am stucked with being an Ah Lian though I failed to live up to the Ah Lian’s image. Or I do?

And as all true bloggers would do, I took a photo and show off to other bloggers. In Penang, the Chinese will distribute nasi kunyit when the newborn baby reached one month old. It is the full moon celebration. What I like about nasi kunyi is the ang koo. It is the red kueh/cake filled with green bean paste. When it is baby girl, it will be peach shape. If it is baby boy, it is ball shape. I don’t like to eat them but usually, I will eat the peach shape and chant, let me get a baby girl next time, let me get a baby girl next time. Hoping the baby girl effect would rubbed off on me. But all I get to distribute all five times are balls. *sigh* My chants didn’t work. The package cost less than RM10 and is accompanied with curry chicken, nasi kunyit or tumeric rice (yellow in colour), two red eggs and 4 ang-koos.

In case you wonder why we distribute these, it is to make a profit. Penang people, especially Chinese very profit oriented wan…. Get married, also must make profit, get new baby, also can profit. Die also can. How? You distribute a box for RM10. People usually give angpows with at least RM20. You make 100% profit, no? If you work in an office with 50 colleagues, can you imagine how much you gained? Remember to give to each of your big bosses, doesn’t matter that they do not know you. Because big bosses’ angpows are huge, like RM50/RM100/RM200. *kaching, kaching, kaching* the money is flowing in. That’s why I have so many babies la, to make profits mah.

Ok, seriously, it is like thanksgiving for having safely delivered a baby and also to share the happiness with everyone. So, I had that nasi kunyit as my comfort food yesterday after being jolted from the earthquake.