Saturday, January 31, 2009

CNY with a high school feel

I didn't drive but I still managed to end up in PJ. My destination was a spacious house tucked away in a corner somewhere in Kampung Tunku. The person who was sweet enough to drive me all the way there was Pin Kean. You see, who says knowing your younger brother's friends is bad? It's so good!

It was great catching up with Mr. Bong again after a few years. For those of you who follow my blog and who had the pleasure of being taught by this witty Chemistry teacher, he is now retired. So, don't go returning to school thinking of visiting him. His lab is now used by a young Malay chap.

We were lucky that the whole family was there when we were. Diane, Malcolm and Mrs. Bong were all on a CNY break from Singapore. We were told that Mr. Bong now spends half the month here and the other there. Enjoying Singaporean PRship helps, which according to Diane, isn't all that hard to acquire. Hm, I think my Australian PRship is enough for now, eh?

We were given a tour of the house and I confess - the house is SUPER SPACIOUS! However, other than the size, everything else wasn't over the top. We reminisced over 3-in-1 coffee and Kuala Selangor prawn crackers. We talked about ex-classmates and ex-schoolmates, ex-teachers and present ones. Without realising it, we spent over an hour there!

Thank you, Mr. Bong!

Next stop, Taman Desa. The person we were visiting was a pretty lady with long hair and fair skin. She used to come in the morning driving flashy cars and we used to wonder why she bothered teaching us rascals when she could be a tai tai. Gosh, what's with being a high school teacher? You get to live in big houses and drive flashy cars! I think I should reconsider my career.

Yup, you guessed right, we were visiting Pn. Phang.

Although she was going out for dinner, she still spent some time talking to us, asking me questions regarding students she used to teach. She offered some tidbits but we were too full to consume much of it. As Pin Kean was also going to Sungai Besi for a mahjong session, we took our leave after I confirmed with her that she has my number saved in her mobile.

Pin Kean dropped me at MidValley where I met up with Yeow. He was in Carrefour shopping with two friends. One of them, Jet, was buying supplies to donate to the temple in conjunction with his birthday. Yeow and I spent the entire night together at the shopping complex. We had dinner, walked around, window-shopped. I bought a pint of rum raisin ice-cream from Häagen-Dazs for dad as it was his birthday.

When Yeow brought me home, he came in to wish Dad a happy birthday. Mum gave him an angpau in return. Haha, fancy that! I think Yeow is the only guy friend I have who would do that - I mean the going into the house to wish my dad thingy.

Thanks, Pin Kean. Thanks, Yeow.

Friday, January 30, 2009

CNY day of sorts

Friday started with a breakfast in PJ with Rick. Don't ask me why we went all the way there but we did. He wanted to go to Digital Mall to exchange the DVDs he bought earlier, so I tagged along. While walking through a pavement, I saw something mind-boggling:

Rick couldn't understand what I was saying for a few seconds. He actually had to look quite hard to configure what it was I was referring to. Don't you think it's weird that the stairs are leading to a wall?

Rick was also sweet enough to accompany me to Shaun's house. I wanted to pay a visit to Aunty Vivien despite it not being necessary anymore.

Yin Lee then joined us for lunch, which was at Sushi Zanmai. Which outlet? The one at 1U. Yes, that's even FURTHER than breakfast at PJ! But we enjoyed ourselves! Yes, yes, there was next to nothing on the conveyor belt but still, we walked away happy people, didn't we?

We also did some window-shopping and played around with the camera when Rick wasn't watching... hahahaha...

As both of them had prior engagements, I was left to my own devices. I decided to risk it and gave Peter a call. Yes, and it paid off! He was home! Jolly good to be able to see him again after a few months and so I was off to Salak South Garden to his humongous dwelling.

His parents could recall me quite well. They remember me as the girl who used to cycle to their house. Gosh, so paiseh...

While Peter replied his numerous calls from his colleague in Penang, I took a few shots of his koi...

I thought he'd be finished by the time I took my millionth shot but no, he was still on the phone!

Sigh, well, I know you're not looking forward to going back to work but you have no choice, do you? Life is such. Bitter will always come before sweet so suck it up and hang in there, alright? One day, you'll realise that every cloud has a silver lining. Peace!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

CNY inTemerloh

CNY is not complete without a trip back to Temerloh. Yea, grandpa, grandma and greatgrandma may not be around any longer but that doesn't mean that I can't pay a visit to my dear uncle there, right? Besides, there are added incentives - Siew Chi and Chee Sing are back in Malaysia!

Yup yup, so in addition to seeing my beloved cousins and smelling fresh air again, my second cousin Siew Chi (who is always away on assignment) and my Sydney friend Chee Sing are back in Temerloh and Mentakab respectively.

After having steamboat lunch at home with the family and bringing Samantha to her friend's place, we went over to granduncle's house to pay our respects. I was delighted to be able to catch up with Siew Chi again after 2 years. Actually, I don't even remember when was the last time we saw each other.

Chee Sing came slightly after 4pm to the house to bring me out for a cuppa. It was great to see him again, as well. It felt slightly weird though, as I am used to seeing him in Sydney, not in Malaysia and in MENTAKAB for that matter! He took me around Mentakab for a drive including Bukit Bendera where the rich and affluent people live. As Temerloh and Mentakab is famous for its timber and rubber industries, there are many 'unknown' millionaires living there. The garden of one of the houses was so vast, we literally had to drive from the back door to the front entrance!

Initially, we wanted to have a drink at Old Town but it was packed with people! So, we ended up at a Chinese tea house diagonally across the road. It wasn't too bad really. We also spoke the Angeline who was alone at home (God knows doing what).

Chee Sing then brought me to his house and there, I met his mum whom apparently knows who Dad is! To be exact, she knows the entire family! I found out that her family used to rent a room from grandpa when they were living in the new village. Also, Chee Sing's dad use to be First Aunt's classmate back in high school. What a small world this is!

Chee Sing, no wonder you're so good-looking ler, your mum is so leng lui!

We stayed on in Temerloh for dinner after which we detoured to Mentakab to stroll at the pasar malam. Not many stalls were open mainly due to the Chinese still being on holiday. We left after Bro bought some apam.

It was totally dark on the highway as we set off on our journey back to KL. Pitch black, really. Luckily, I chickened out from the driving before we hit the highway. Otherwise, I think I'd be petrified. Halfway through our journey, it started to drizzle. Mum was telling us that it was raining dogs and cats in KL. Pretty unusual phenomenon for CNY. The effects of global-warming, perhaps?

Right before the last toll, bro just had to make a stopover at the rest stop for his favourite tidbit...

... lemang! There was also some sambal and petai for sale at the stall manned by a young Malay man, a pakcik and a makcik. It was late in the night but business is as usual for them.

I like this pic I took. To me, it is a picture of perseverance and hard work, something we, the young do not seem to fathom. And if we, the young Chinese forget our roots, we will not be able to hold on much longer to the luxury and wealth we enjoy now.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Day 2 of CNY

Everybody knows that the first day is reserved for the paternal side of the family. I mean, yea, it's a patriarchal society we're in no matter how hard we fight for it to be fair. So, the second day is reserved for the maternal side of the family to balance things out. Why not do both sides on the same day some of you may ask. Hm, well, if you ask me, I'd say why not have two days of fun?

I think having reunion lunch is becoming the thing to do as both reunion meals were lunches. It was so merry at grandma's place as everyone was there except for Youngest Aunt's family. As there were so many of us, we had to take turns to eat at the table! I'd have to say that the spare ribs pepper soup my aunt made was mouth-watering!

Not only that, the dessert that followed were delicacies you'd get only during CNY. Some of them included this 'beehive biscuit':

While munching on bickies and crackers, we talked. Oh yes, we talked a lot. We also had Pu Er tea. Ah, what a way to relax and reconnect with family and kin. Speaking of family and kin, here's a pic I took with my maternal grandparents:

And here's Momo, the family dog!

He's such a poser, isn't he?

When we've had our fair share of gossip and food, we scooted off to Brickfields. We were a little worried as the sky threatened to pour. It was all gloomy as we drove out of Serdang town.

Luckily, not many cars were on the road and there were plenty of parking spaces at the temple. We come every year to pay our respects and say our thanks for the wonderful year we've had.

Thankfully, not a single drop of water fell from the heavens above while we were saying our prayers and putting in our donations at the temple. Sadhu!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Day 1 of CNY

This year, in preparation for the new year, I did the following in addition to the usual stuff of buying new clothes and shoes:

1) Dyed my hair in a tinge of black/purple.

2) Had my toenails done.

3) Had my fingernails done.

I can see a few heads shaking already. Haha, let me explain. They are so red because it's CNY!

Must haves for the new year would include a reunion meal of some sort. Traditionally, it would be a reunion dinner on the eve of the new year at the patriarch's house. This year, we tried something different - we had reunion lunch on the first day of the new year at a vegetarian restaurant. No, it's not weird.

They even served lou sang!

Apparently, the higher you toss the ingredients in the dish, the better your year would be. You can imagine the competition to 'pull' the things upwards... just hilarious!

And if you think vegetarian food is disgusting, think again.

Don't you think it looks delicious? The restaurant we went to uses beans in their cooking, not the usual flour stuff you'd get at the local mixed rice vegetarian places. This place, on the other hand, uses mainly organic produce and keeps oil to the minimum. It was interesting how they managed to make the food taste like the real thing - my aunts were wondering what type of fish they were eating!

Oh, and I thought this looked cute:

After all the yapping and laughing, it was picture-capturing time! Let me use this opportunity to introduce my dad's side to you:

The two female Voons of this generation - She Ying and Shi Jing.

Anti-clockwise, from bottom left: Li'l bro, Mum, Dad, dad's first younger sis, myself and dad's second younger sis.

The whole family (almost):
Front row, left to right: Samantha Voon (my only Voon cousin sis, Adrienne Voon (dad's first younger sis), Alicia Voon (dad's second younger sis), Mum, Aunty Siew Choo (uncle's wife).

Back row, left to right: Myself, Li'l bro, Dad, Nicholas Lee (Alicia's son), Aaron Lee (Alicia's husband), Uncle Lett (dad's younger bro), Samuel Voon (my only Voon cousin bro).

More to come tomorrow!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Imagine this post in red

It is scorching hot. The air is humid and all you feel like doing is sit in front of the black box with your feet up. All doors are closed, curtains drawn. The fan is turning at a faster speed than usual. While channel surfing Astro, you browse the bottles and containers of goodies on the coffee table. Hm, should you eat the prawn cracker? Or maybe the chicken floss? Nah, you'll have the mandarin orange. No, no, the groundnuts would be better. But those are addictive! Hm, the sunflower seeds or kuacis? Same addictiveness...

Gah! Okay, maybe no food. Drinks, maybe? Shandy? Or maybe some juice? Yea, juice would be good. We'll leave the Shandy for later in the evening over a card game of Dai Di or mahjong.

Oh dear, I hear the sound of a car engine. Are they here already? Haha.. yes, more pocket money! But before they give any to me, I would have to go through a series of traditional questions..

1) So, back for good or still going back there ar?
2) Finish studying already ah? Still going to study somemore or not ar?
3) How old are you this year ha? Oh, big girl already lor!
4) So when is your turn to tie the knot ar?

And I'm sure there will be other questions as well, just let me get through the first two days and I'll put more questions up here.. haha..

In the meantime, I'd like to take this opportunity to wish all my family and friends in KL, Langkawi, Penang, Temerloh, Mentakab, Kota Bharu, KK, Kuching, Tanjung Malim, Singapore, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Sunshine Coast, Auckland, Christchurch, Bristol, Ireland, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing and New York a HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR! Gong Xi Fa Cai!