Chinese New Year and filial piety

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!

Here goes:


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?

24 thoughts on “Chinese New Year and filial piety

  1. I remembered that kueh kapit – we deliberately slow down so we can eat the hardened cookies, and we get to dot the eyes of the jueh bangkit plus help fold the peanut thingies ( like small curry puff). On New Years, all the non- Christian aunties will bring their bakul of cookies, meat, curry, yellow rice , kueh and oranges etc and grammy will take some , and put back other things plus a big angpow. On New years eve, she will make the sesame balls and every grandchild and pregnant person will run off in case we get blamed if those thingies fall flat ( which they never do). Then she has that huge table for praying ( dunno who). After that we all sit down to dinner — the Christian ones don’t get the food already prayed on. I love my childhood with both my grammies. ( one in Penang and one in KL)

  2. wahlau…1st time i see the kueh kapit thing (looks like antique…=P)…still can buy ar that kinda thing? and also the milling thing…lol…brings back memories =)

    you mill rice to make rice wine?

  3. hey lilian just a quick question…did you grow up in penang itself?

    I don’t know about CNY….but I have loads of childhood christmas memories 🙂

    Mom’s fruit cakes to opening presents under the tree 😉

  4. i remember my own “deprived childhood”…ahh..the joys of blowing up meriam buluh wid plenty of carbide juice. The cycling around to get angpows from everyone else…the bliss of the lion dance, the dares of holding the single stalk of “man ti hong” in hand long enough before it exploded (kids don’t try it!! Plain stupid… :P) Not to forget the family-get-together dinner where adults sit in “adult table” and kids? Sit near the television lar…..

    Happy Ushering Dog Year everyone!!! 🙂

  5. Hari Raya in Nibong Tebal:

    1. Sit on metal swing: Singing Suar Suir Kamuning.
    2. Play with firecrackers & sparklers.
    3. Cousins aunties uncles
    4. OMG!= KALKITOS!!! who remembers the rub on stickers have to rub on the back with a pen onto a printed scenery…?

    Hari Rayas at Grandfathers were always grand affairs. Only when he died it was discovered that the bills were footed by Ah Kau Pawn Shop paid little by little until the next round.

  6. fire80 – I Kalkitos! But that time I was too old to play but my nephew who was 10 yrs younger got them. Gee, I did help to jolt that old brain ya?

    raoul – Scary la that meriam buluh. But I didn’t hear of any injuries back then.

    centerpide – Yeap, born and bred.

    alex – You are in OZ so where is your hometown? Malaysia?

    boringest – That photo is taken from the musuem in the Penang Spice Garden. They do still sell the moulds in crockery shops.

    Wuching – Awww…never mind, at least you have nice memories to keep. And in future, you can start a tradition for your children.

    romantic – Wow, so many traditions! The

  7. Ahh, the black cat firworks. I remember them. You buy a packet and there’s like 10-20 inside them. Me and my cousins used to spell things out and burn the cement floor with ‘artistic’ stuff last time. LoL! 🙂

  8. wah, all the while i tot that eating leftovers of soya chickens and kiam chai for days and days are only unique to my family!

    but i must say lilian, the one-two-zom thing with spouse is quite a touchy subject…it’s a relieve to know that i’m not the only with this dilemma…it just sadden me so much and bring tears to my eyes when i think that i won’t be home with my parents for the reunion dinner…moreover so as they have only 2 daughters.

  9. Compared to your colourful childhood experiences, I felt so deprived…:-( Yeah, I still love Sarsi very much…. so, CNY is a good excuse for me to gulp Sarsi. lol

    My father yau yeng meh?? Try living with him and I bet he’ll make you double your rant

    I guess I’m the pampered child. I’m protected from the dangers of explosives (firecrackers) and making kuih kapits.

  10. Wingz – Oi, cannot simply touch-touch wan la, we both married liao wan lor.

    Helen – You know la, old liao, bad times oso can spin tales until become golden times. LOL.

    Oreo – The whole Chinese communities who steam/boil chicken for offerings have that at home. I think I will roast a turkey for my CNY open house.

    hazel – Riiiiinduuuu.

    Danny – Yalor, the metal part very ‘keng’, remains red hot after the sparkles fizzled out so can burn leaves also.

  11. Gone were the days when we made our own cookies, kuih, etc.

    Those were the days we look forward to those 20¢ ang pow ! Lucky if we can get RM1.10, chuckle

  12. The worst thing to do, and yet many people still do, is to go to Genting during the CNY period. The traffic jam on the road stretches back several kilometres to Gohtong Raya, and the queue for the cable car up weaves left and right, and down the escalators. There are other ways to meet the Prosperity God, tuay pu tuay?

  13. i remember the kueh kapit – they are my fav n i remember burning my fingers many times helping ah ma mak them. 🙂 we’d sit on the floor n this thing is so hot plus we have to b fast in folding them, if not – they harden up. wah, talk abt speed. 🙂

    was wondering how come got froggies n cicaks until u mention kalkitos – wah, damn ancient wor!! lol

    haiz….indeed these are just memories.

  14. 5xmom, how to tell the diff btween fu dog and lion ah? Do they place a pair i.e male and female as well?

  15. simon – You got help to fold ah?

    Lin Peh – Yeah, especially if the SYT dressed in the concubines underwear ah? You know…the one piece red cloth tied with strings.

    Cockadoodle – Ask Wiki! ‘Cos I can’t tell lion from dog too. 🙂

    WuChing – Sibu seems to have many bloggers hor? Wuah, what they taught you all in schools? Score in English composition? 🙂

    Yvy – The cicak hor…last time I beh shiok advertise F&N so I photoshop on them. Yalor, good to remember old times.

    fishtail – Yeah, go to Rojakz blog and get number then, buy online from Magnum and 1+3D. 🙂

  16. I really like those flowers. Do you know the real name? We make kueh kapit at home too, using those old traditional moulds. Not this year, unfortunately – everyone’s lazy, heheh! Just cookies for the tray.

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