Thursday, February 17, 2011

Friends, Food and Fun

Long past long ago—we were told yesterday—a Chinese emperor invented the calendar. He decreed that the first day of the lunar Year would be the day the new moon appeared following the winter festival. The lunar New Year was thus born. The winter festival (winter solstice—when the sun is farthest from the northern hemisphere) is now celebrated on 22 December. From this day until the New Year, the Chinese avoid uttering negative words or getting angry.

Evelyn, my friend.
That, besides a few other things,  was what I learnt because I wasn’t really paying much attention. Evelyn, my partner in crime, was busy making comments such as: “Why is the speaker writing all that Chinese script? It’s not as if we can read Chinese!”

The speaker was writing the Chinese characters for Tang and Ming and other dynasties; Huang Ti and the grandson of Genghis Khan-- I've forgotten the name-- besides numerous other meaningless squiggles.

We were told about the Chinese  love of red and noise. Apparently, both figured prominently in scaring off wild beasts, evil spirits, and stubborn ghosts which resided in the corners of people’s houses in the olden days.

Performance at the entrance of SCC
After the talk there was an extended question and answer session where we learned about the Chinese animal zodiac; that young unmarried girls of yore were not allowed to leave their houses; and open houses are not Chinese in origin!

Then we all trooped down to the ground floor and watched a string of lion/unicorn dances performed by… a group of non-Chinese boys! They were good. One performance involved jumping on and off a large box as well as doing acrobatic stunts such as leaping, twisting in mid air and other gravity-defying moves. The noises were deafening—just right to chase away the ghosts clinging to the corners of the buildings.

Then it was time for refreshment. I was breathless by the time my feet had taken me to the fourth floor. My bag felt as though it contained a car-jack although I had nothing in it except two books, three bars of soap, a small camera, a handphone, my wallet, two notebooks, a pen, a coin purse, a compact, two library cards, a small bottle of hand sanitizer and a packet of tissue paper that was weightless. I was hoping that nothing took refuge in my bag after all that drumming and banging and crashing of cymbals.

Later, the dance troupe came upstairs to make noise and chase away more resident ghosts. Then there were speeches. And finally, food.

Pic from Google Images

I enjoyed my rice with curry, mixed vegetables, a piece of roasted chicken and a sliver of the Chinese New Year rice cake. (When I had cleaned my plate, I kicked myself for forgetting to take a photo of the food.)

Later the staff of Sabah Credit serenaded the visitors with beautiful songs. They were amazing!

The Staff of SCC

The staff of Sabah Credit had competed to get top prizes for the best decorated floor. We thought we should take photos of our favourite spots.

I don't really need red to scare anyone!

Amy wanted a picture with the rabbits!


  1. Aunty,

    the lady in black's baju is nice....maybe will get one pair tailored for me.... =)

  2. I love all the taboos associated with CNY, esp the 'little kids are not allowed to cry' one :) I wonder if this one is a recent invention...

  3. Hi Angel and Verone...
    @Angel, ya nice outfit the black and gold. There was another one black and blue. Same design.
    @Verone, apparently the Chinese want the kids to be happy. Crying kids might just continue crying in the new year! Bad luck! So all are on their best behaviour on the days just before and after the new year!