Monday, January 31, 2011

CNY countdown

Another 3 days to go before CNY. Here's wishing everyone:

May all of you enjoy the best of health, lots of happiness and prosperity in the year of the Rabbit!

Gong Xi Fa Cai! 恭喜发财! (May you be prosperous)
Shen Ti Jian Kang! 身体健康! (May you be healthy)
Cai Yuan Gun Gun! 财源滚滚!
- (May your financial resources overflow)
Wan Shi Ru Yi! 万事如意! (May things turn out as per your wishes)

Long Ma Jing Shen!
(May you have the spirit and energy of a horse and dragon)

Bu Bu Gao Sheng! 歩歩高升! (May your every step leads to success)
Xin Xiang Shi Cheng! 心想事成! (May all your wishes come true)
Xin Nian Kuai Le! 新年快乐! (Happy New Year)

To all those who are travelling for the holidays, have a safe journey!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Year of the hair

1993 was the year when my all one-length hair was at its longest. I kept it at almost-waist length for a year only as taking care of it was time consuming.

I don't even remember how long it took my hair to grow to that length. Now that I have decided to keep my hair short forever, these photos are all that remains of my longest hair days.

Update: My spouse just read this entry and said that my long hair looks like those ghosts in traditional chinese ghost movies, hahaha!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ang pows - how much?

During Chinese New Year, it is customary for Chinese married couples to give 红包 (red envelopes containing money) / ang pow (Hokkien) / hóng bāo (Mandarin) to children or unmarried people as a way of wishing them good fortune for the new year.

This year, I have my red envelopes ready but I am still undecided on how much money to put into them. Is there a market rate for ang pows? Min RMx per ang pow? Do you give your relatives a different amount than your friends' children?

For those mothers with children receiving ang pows, do you let your children keep the ang pows themselves with the freedom of using the money anyway they like or do you save their ang pows for them for their education?

When I was young and on the receiving end, my parents allowed me the freedom to use my ang pow money anyway I like and I usually buy books with the money. Now that I am on the giving end, I just need to think of how much to give.

Some people said to me, you are on the losing end because you have no children to receive ang pows, you can only give out money but not receive so you should have children. Have children just to receive ang pows!?

Can you spot the rabbits in each of the ang pow below?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ran into Redbabe

Since Redbabe has written about it here, I want to return her the honour. :)

Yesterday there wasn't many people at Ikea when I was there. At the cabinets section, I suddenly noticed a slim and tall lady looking at a cabinet near me. She looks familiar to me. Then it hit me - Redbabe. As I have only seen her photos on her blog, I am not very sure whether it is her or not.

I nudged my spouse, asking him whether I should approach her or not. Then I decided not to, what if I am wrong. In the end, I decided to try to catch her eyes. To see if she can recognise me or not when she sees me. So I moved across the hallway. Then from a far she saw me and she mouthed "Mun"? I nodded. She walked to me, we exchanged some pleasantries, shook hands and then went our own way.

What a nice surprise to meet her in real life. This is the first time that I have met a blogbuddy so it was a memorable moment for me - to be kept in my "Hari in dalam sejarah" (today in history) file. :D 有缘

Hi, Redbabe, nice meeting you (face to face) too! Do drop by her blog and read her version of this chance encounter.

So to all my blogbuddies, one day we may run into each other too. When that happens, please do say hi to me, ok?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

In the mood for CNY

While surfing the net, I suddenly found myself humming the evergreen Chinese New Year song "恭喜恭喜". Guess I must be all ready to celebrate CNY. Let us all sing along!

If you don't know the song, you can listen to:

1. a classic rendition by the late Theresa Teng
2. another classic rendition by Huang Xiao Jin & The Stylers
3. or a modern version by artists of TV8

I notice that in verse 3, the 3rd phrase between the modern and classic rendition is different as I have indicated in the lyrics below. I have also tried my hand at explaining the meaning of the lyrics in English (words in italics are not the meaning of the song but further details from me).

In a nutshell, I think this song expresses the joy the people felt upon the passing of winter and the coming of spring and to congratulate each other for surviving the ordeal of a harsh winter.

I have yet to find out who wrote the lyrics and music and when was the first time this song was sung.


Verse 1
In every street and lane
the first sentence everyone will say to another person when they meet another person is to wish them
congratulations (in this context could also mean wish them happiness)

congratulations, congratulations, congratulations to you
congratulations, congratulations, congratulations to you

Verse 2
It is really good news when it is nearing the end of winter
when the warm wind of spring will awaken the great earth


Verse 3
vast amount of ice and snow melted away
see the plum flowers blossoming showing their pistils

Sing this phrase
慢慢花也活络 (modern rendition)
slowly the flowers become alive and active
or this phrase
慢慢长夜过去 (classic rendition)
slowly the long night passes by

hearing a cock crows once


Verse 4
After going through hardships
After experiencing many hours of honing of skills
in their hearts, many children long
Long for the news of spring


Repeat Verse 1 and chorus

Monday, January 3, 2011

New year wishes

Once again, here's wishing everyone a Happy New Year! May all of us face the challenges ahead in 2011 with renewed courage and optimism.

Just one more month before Chinese New Year. Time for me to start buying CNY goodies for my parents-in-law, sister-in-law and brother-in-law. This time I aim to buy all the goodies in one go at one shop so that I do not need to make many trips to the shops.

For 2011, I requested my youngest brother to give me a hair cut - to cut it as short as he dares to cut and this is what I get. Do you think he should have cut it shorter? :D