Archive for the ‘Chinese festivals’ Category

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My lovely niece Abby graduated with a double major (Accounts and Finance) from Curtin Perth last year. Currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Logistics, Abby took time off and flew back to join her family in Sibu for the CNY. Far or near, this is a distinguished Chinese culture whereby family members will try their best effort to gather for the utmost important CNY’s eve dinner.

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IMG_6638 At The Spring
On the 2nd day of CNY, my family visited tHE Spring which is the biggest shopping mall in Sarawak. My wife the discerning shopper, was quick to pick up a few good buys at Parkson’s.

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After the traditional mee suah breakfast on the 1st day of Chinese New Year, we took time to take some pics. Hope you like the candid shots as much as I do!

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Bak Chang is meat rice dumpling in the Hokkien dialect.

Have you ever seen a RM3.50 bak chang in Miri? Well I saw it (see photo) at the coffeeshop near my office yesterday morning. Curious, I asked why the price was such and the waitress justified by saying it was bigger than the normal ones and stuffed with salty duck egg.  Ah, I was not convinced.

Gone are the days when bak changs were available just once a year. We could only enjoy zongzi on the days before the Duanwu Jie. I can still remember Mom buying lotus leaves and straws a couple of weeks beforehand. Mom would always wrapped two versions; the meat and the red beans. As kids we loved to eat the red beans type by dipping it into a bowl of white sugar. Such thrilling feeling now remains a distant memory (and yes, my two sons won’t be able to understand it) as rice dumplings are available everyday in the market, haha!

During my early working years in Brunei, it dawned upon me that the Cantonese and the Hokkiens are master chefs when it comes to making bak chang. Even as I write now my taste buds begin to crave for Mrs. Tan’s (my Brunei buddy’s wife) homemade rice dumplings filled with skinless mung beans, mushroom slice, salted duck egg, chestnut, dried shrimps and belly pork. As to date, I have yet to savour a more mouthwatering bak chang better than hers!

Oh yes, just in case you want to know, Duanwu Jie is tomorrow (Thu, May 28). It’s always on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Chinese Lunar calendar. Have a nice dinner tomorrow night if you are celebrating, :).

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Roseline’s fellow Boys’ Brigade officer Yong Hui invited us to a BBQ gathering at her place earlier this evening. We also met our church Pastor Rev. Law Hui Seng and family, as well as our Boys’ Brigade Captain, Brother Andy Chew and family. The food was delicious as well as “unhealthy”? Rev. Law candidly commented on the BBQ, saying we had to consume “by faith”! Haha!

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Roseline and her student exchanging “Ox-picious” greetings.

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After dinner we left hurriedly as Roseline needed to fetch her sister at the airport and we were expecting some of our church members to visit us. Pastor Connie Yong and some of the members from SMCGC also came. To share the memories of the recent trip to Sibu, I showed the photos with LCD projector.

Everyone enjoyed the goodies especially Roseline’s famous almond biscuits and her steamed cakes! However, the 5 litres of red wine was unfinished.

What an evening of great fellowship, xD!

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Last night Roseline and I took the opportunity to visit Peter and Jennifer. Except for the eldest son who was out for Chinese New Year visiting, every member of the Yong’s family was present.

Here’s a photo for the album!

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The Yong sisters with the traditional Xin Nian Kuai Le greeting.

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Peter specially prepared this auspicious “longevity” noodles (with mushrooms and Chinese leeks) for us – we were so touched! Leeks (from the onion family) have a strong flavour and fragance – so it’s either you love or hate it! It is customary for families to cook leeks during this festive period because this veggie is pronounced as “suan” which sounds like “calculate”. So the more leeks one consumes, it is believed the more one can “calculate”, haha!

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This cake caught my attention because it was baked without the key ingredients of butter and eggs! It was done by Jennifer’s sister whose kids are allergic to butter and eggs. Nevertheless it was a good experience to taste something different!

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Welcome to the first posting of my newly-migrated blog!

I will share with you the fabulous time we had in the past week – my family and I were in Sibu to celebrate the Chinese New Year with my parents-in-law, friends and relatives.

As days preceding to the New Year were rainy, we were concerned about the condition of the roads with reports of landslides along the Bintulu – Tatau road. Fortunately rectifications were done quickly in anticipation of the increased road traffic as people would be travelling during the pre-Chinese New Year weekend. Thanks to the quick action by authorities, we were able to travel by road.

Prior to my arrival my new blogger friend Victor in Sibu had arranged for a bloggers’ pre-Chinese New Year dinner on Sat, Jan 24. There I met William, Wong, Bongkersz, Bengbeng, and Alex for the first time. Philip, whom I’ve met during last Christmas was also there. Sibu’s popular blogger Yan also joined us after having dinner with her relatives. Of course, my latest favourite cousin the indomitable Suituapui was also there too; a natural and prolific writer, my cousin has a good write-up on that night here.

The gathering was at Lot 9 Cafe, the new shophouses opposite Delta Mall.

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Bengbeng helped to take the group photo. If you understand the dialet Hokkien, you need not be a rocket scientist to figure out where Suituapui was seated! xD.

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On the morning of eve of Chinese New Year in town – I was surprised the traffic was tolerable, contrary to the “madness” experienced in previous years.

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Cheers on the reunion table!

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My father-in-law cooked extra dishes to add-on to the takeaway from Beijing Restaurant. All the Chinese restaurants in Sibu were closed on the eve of the Xin Nian hence takeaway is a popular and convenient option.

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After dinner my niece experimented with her newly-bought pair of “phoenix” eye lashes. I secretly took this photo without her knowing, haha!

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The fireworks started before midnight. This year it ended early – only 15 minutes of showtime. I also noticed less fireworks were “shot” this year.

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The noise was deafening!

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On the first morning of the New Year, there was the traditional ang pow giving. The
Lees posed for a shot. Only one daughter and family in Sydney did not come back. My in-laws have six children but none of them are in Sibu! I already forewarned my wife not to expect our two sons to be with us in Miri in the future, haha!

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My wife Roseline and her dad sharing a light moment.

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Roseline and her younger sister with hubby from Kota Kinabalu.

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My niece from Perth. I took the opportunity to polish up my photography skills with her as my model, haha!

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At the home of the parents-in-laws of Roseline’s younger sister.

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Aha, the ladies!

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Colourful layered cakes, labouriously home-made! There is no shortcut for these steamed cakes because insufficient hours of steaming will cause the end product to become mouldy faster!

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I like this black and white photo for its depth and clarity, xD.

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After the first day, the tide came up as forecast. Located in a low-laying area, we were sort of “locked-in” for a few days. I joking shared with my wife saying that we were on the Super Virgo (the Star Cruise), haha!

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Roseline and her sister from Kuching – they really enjoyed themselves!

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Hey be careful and watch your step, they warned. xD.

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My wife showed me how high the water level was. Flooding in Sibu brings good memories for us because it remains us of our courtship days in the Dec of 1983, haha!

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So h
ow was your New Year, xD?

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