The top ten man wrote something about this and after reading them, I got this fuzzy feelings of the Chinese New Years of the childhood years. So, let me record them down just in case I got senile next time and can’t recall what to tell my great-great grandkids. Example, sitting on a rocking chair by the fireplace, all white hairs with a bunch of great-great grandchildren sitting around me, listening to grandma’s tales. I just need to tell them, you kids go and surf the internet and read about grandma!
1) Help my mom and sisters to mill rice and make all the Chinese New Year goodies. I could handle many kueh kapit moulds single-handedly when I was less than 12 years old. Coconuts have to be plucked and grated with a gadget dunno call what.
2) Burn red crackers and flung them to the dogs. Watch from far when my neighbours burn homemade bamboo firecrackers (meriam buluh). Once, one of the neighbour’s attap roofs caught fire.
3) Black Cat fireworks only cost 25 cents then. We used it to burnt ants.
4) Months before that, buy cloths and go to tailor to make dress.
5) Spring cleaning using bamboo leaves.
6) Prepare big feast for my ancestors. It involved a table for ten persons, with real meal. Not like nowadays, all on the small-small altars with stunted pumpkins. Last time, got real table with real chairs.
7) Collect 40 cents angpows. RM2 angpow will be very shiok already. BTW, shiok was a bad word last time and if anyone dare use it, kena piak by our father. (no wonder I am letting go now)
8) Eat leftover soya-sauce chicken for days and days and days. Plus salted vegetable soup with all the leftovers, including chicken head, legs and ducks’ webs.
9) The sundry shop would deliver F&N (Fraser and Neave) with a bicycle. My father was a teacher and hence, we were considered a little richer than most. So, we used to have two wooden crates with glass bottles of F&N orange, ice-cream soda, cherry, sarsi and ginger ale.
And that’s the only time we got to drink bottled drinks.
10) I couldn’t remember much about my father. Not even his face. But I only remembered one Chinese New Year, on a cold breezy morning that we often associated with the North winds…..
He was with me and my 2nd brother in the garden outside. He pointed out to me how to squeeze a red flower and told me those are fire-crackers flowers. I was only five years old then. So, parents, remember to give all the treasured memories you can afford (time, money, attention wise) to your children because some will stay in their memories forever.
Celebrate the Chinese New Year with as much grandeur as you can afford (again – time, money and attention wise) with your family members. Treasure their presence. Especially your aging parents. Go travel, balik kampung wateva and never give any excuses not to be home for the reunion dinner. If you have spouses, just one-two-zom and see who gets to eat reunion dinner and who gets to spend Chinese New Year 2nd days with which set of parents. Read MG’s very heartwarming post on not taking our aged parents for granted. Or Helen (makes me cry) post about her very handsome, yau-yeng father.
So send in the dogs! (the above is a fu dog. Fu dogs are not lions, ok?) You can surf my old blog for all the Chinese New Year goodies here.
So what are your memories of Chinese New Year?