Sunday, February 21, 2010

CNY activities

The countdown continues. 7 more days to go before the CNY celebration ends. My top 3 CNY activities are eating, eating and eating.

Instead of going to the restaurant for "lau sheng" (捞生), my family prefer to eat home cooked food so my mother and sister made vegetarian "yu sheng" (鱼生) from the existing food they have at home. They managed to come up with the following ingredients for the dish - shredded white radish, shredded carrot, pomelo sacs, shredded cucumber, shredded chinese pear, home preserved vinegared shredded ginger, chopped peanuts, and sesame seeds. They even went to the extent of making their own crispy and crunchy crackers (薄脆) from scratch which turned out to be extremely crunchy and delicious. Their hard work paid off because all six of us have fun tossing the "yu sheng" and eating the yummylicious and healthy home made vegetarian "yu sheng". I hope my "lau sheng" this time counts because I was tossing the salad with the chopsticks in my right hand and snapping photos of the "lau sheng" with my point-and-shoot camera in my left hand. Not fully participating to toss the highest.

My mother and sister even made some time to bake a few types of cookies. When I was staying at home, I used to help my sister with the baking. Now I just help her with the eating.

When I was about 4 years old and my sister 8, we used to play "pretend baking" where we made an oven from a cardboard box and for the cookies, we drew various colourful patterns on mini pancake cookies on art paper and cut them out to put into the oven. Just for old times' sake and in celebration of our younger play days together, my sister baked the following cookies. They looked exactly like some of the cookies I drew during those days but sad to say I did not get to taste them because my sister can't stop herself from gobbling all of them up since they reminded her so much of her younger eating days. So 7 more days to go before my eating spree can officially stop.

Friday, February 12, 2010

One more day to CNY!

It seems that this food is a must during CNY. As it is, I have to join the queue and wait patiently for my turn. I don't eat this at all but just need to get one packet for my parents-in-laws. Can't buy it early as it cannot be kept for a long time unless I get the vacuum packed ones which my parents-in-laws do not like. So I have to queue.

Here's wishing everyone (who celebrates CNY) a very happy Chinese New Year! For the rest, happy holidays! Enjoy yourselves but don't eat too much! ;-)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Colourful shooting stars

When I was about 8 or 9 years old, during Chinese New Year, my father would buy many types of fireworks. My favourite firework is the Roman Candle that shoots flaming colourful stars into the sky, one at a time.
As we were young, we were afraid of the sparks so while my father went to the garden to light up the Roman candle, we would hide safely behind the window, waiting in trepidation for the colourful display of sparkling and dancing stars.

Then we would watch in wonder and awe as each star shoots out of the tube and arcs through the dark sky leaving a colourful trail behind it. We would also count the shooting stars as there would be a pause between each shot.

There was one time, the Roman candle fell on its side and shot flaming balls into our house. The flaming balls hit the walls and ricochet off them making it seemed like the flames were everywhere. It was such a terrifying moment. We jumped onto the sofa and screamed our heads off. Luckily our house was not burned down.

Remembering this incident, I can understand why consumer fireworks are banned. Worldwide, there have been many injuries and fires caused by fireworks. So although fireworks leave me with many happy and memorable memories, I have not bought any fireworks. Come to think of it, I have also never lighted any fireworks till now and I do not intend to do so in the future.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sitting, counting, waiting

Today is Federal Territory Day, a state holiday for the Federal Territories (Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya) in Malaysia. As there will be many people in shopping malls today buying new clothes, new shoes, new bags and other goodies in preparation for Chinese New Year, I spent the day at home to avoid the crowd.

Even garden centers and plant nurseries will not be spared by the crowd. Many are shopping for CNY plants such as 四季橘 sìjìjú (citrus madurensis/calamondin) and 金钱树 jīnqiánshù (zamioculcas zamiifolia). There are many other popular CNY plants. As long as the name of the plants in chinese or the colour or the shape of the leaves/plants can be somehow linked to good luck, wealth, prosperity, good fortune, gold, being fruitful, or any auspicious meaning at all, one can be sure that the plant will be heavily marketed as CNY plants with expensive pricetags. I am all for plants and I don't care about the symbolism or why people buy them. As long as there are plants around, I am happy.

For this CNY, there will be no new clothes and shoes for me because I have decided not to buy any new clothes and shoes for the year 2010 until all the clothes that I have (not that I have many) are all worn out. This year I adopt the motto of reduce, reuse and recycle. So not buying new clothes fall under the category of reduce and reuse. One of the guidelines to reduce waste at home is to "buy only what you need". And I have decided that I do not need any new clothes because I can reuse my existing clothes for CNY.

But I still need to buy some CNY goodies for my parents-in-law and elder sister-in-law. I buy the same type of things for them every previous year and since I hear no complaints from them, I will be buying them the same things this year too. So right now I am sitting at home, counting down the days to Chinese New Year, and waiting for people to go back to work so that I can shop in more favourable conditions.