Friday, January 31, 2014

Chinese New Year @ Koay's

It’s that time of the year again. Although the Chinese Lunar New Year is not as big as Christmas, being Chinese Malaysians we try to observe its customs as best we can. As always, Cat will receive a call from her close friend Helen inviting us over for their Chinese New Year open house held at her Auntie’s house in Jalan Ipoh.

Cat and Helen met all those years ago when Brendan and Wei Xin (Helen’s nephew and Brendan’s classmate) were in Standard One. Helen, a Peranakan (are descendants of early Chinese migrants who settled in Penang, Malacca, Indonesia and Singapore) is one mean cooking machine and we always look forward to the feast that she usually prepares with loving hands.

We made it a point to be unfashionably punctual and were promptly at Helen’s at 1:00 PM. To mark the auspicious event, a long stringed firecracker was lit in keeping with the legend of nián.

As legend goes, in ancient times there was a monster called nián . Every spring, during New Years Eve, nián would come out to eat villagers, destroy their homes and farms. One year, the villagers were burning bamboo to keep themselves warm. Nián approached a village and was frightened by the cracking noise of the burning bamboo. The villagers then discovered a way to drive away nián and keep themselves safe. As time passed and technology advanced, firecrackers were invented and replaced the burning of bamboo.

Today, lighting firecrackers is a major custom performed to scare off evil spirits and celebrate the coming of the New Year. Interestingly, nián, the name of the monster is also the word for year in Chinese.

Okay, enough with the words. We’ll let our photographs paint our words from this point onwards. We’re quite sure you’ll be salivating at the end of it all!


the customary lanterns
one long firecracker
quickly scampering away after lighting the firecracker
bang!
bang!
bang!
bang!
it was deafening indeed
the host, Wei Wen with Cat and Brendan
we watched him grow into a young man
the feast before us
more to come!
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a large family gathers
one last shot
okay, okay... it's the last one
serving black glutinous rice in coconut milk and palm sugar
marvellous
the matriarch of the family
more goodies
Wei Wen/Wei Xin's dad
happy aunty
finally, a shot with the chef
we'll be back next year, for sure!

Forced Hiatus!

It would have been exactly seven months to the day since our last post.  A lot has happened since then, and without going into details ou...