death by paper cut

{January 27, 2009}   Chinese Niu Year 2009

the nation would usually get half a day off on the eve of chinese new year because of reunion dinner preparations. this year however, reunion dinner falls on a sunday, so i didn’t get to have an addition half day off. in any case, the four day long weekend was good.

i spent saturday at the peranakan museum and the philatelic museum. i really enjoyed the discourse at the former museum. besides the display cases of “peranakan-ware”, current issues were also interrogated by peranakans of today.

the intermingling of cultures is very well captured in this artefact.

Peranakan Museum

reunion dinner took on a special twist this year because the geek was invited to dinner! it was the 3rd time in 2 weeks that he had seen my folks too. reunion dinner however takes on an added significance because it is an occasion to observe filial piety and an inclusiveness that is tighter than an average dinner. my grandma also seemed to take to the geek.

dinner was catered for 6 persons but the portions were really humongous. i don’t remember actually when the extended family made a break with tradition and stopped coming over to have reunion dinner with my grandma. so for a long time, the new tradition was that reunion dinner was no different from any sunday dinner, maybe except for the yu shang aka lo hei. (so much for observing the significance of the occasion)

Reunion Dinner 09

my dad read out the 8 blessings in cantonese and got the geek to read the english translation. (this is the once a year occasion that i hear cantonese spoken at home) oh and yes, each of us were given a copy of the “liturgy”. i just chuckled and made faces.

new year day itself saw the usual gathering of the extended family to see my grandma and the exchange of mindless banter. i pretty much spent the morning on the net being anti-social and came out to get my fill of cny goodies, and hurried on to the geek’s place to hang out and witness the partial eclipse.

iz reloaded posted a comprehensive explanation of the occurrence. 2 days before, the geek and i bought eclipse shades and a lens filter for photographing the sun from the science centre shop. although the day was mostly cloudy, we enjoyed a break in the clouds to see the first half of the eclipse.

Singapore Partial Eclipse

according to ancient chinese belief, eclipses are bad omens and a sign that the emperor has angered the heavens. the emperor is blamed and the ensuing outcome is political dissent and even outburst of violence.

a cursory search on google surfaced that on a whole, people are adopting a less superstitious approach to such phenomenon. an eclipse that happened a week before the beijing olympics last year was awed by many instead of regarded as a bad omen, in fact it was rationalised that, “We’d already known about this eclipse many years before we got the right to host the Olympics, so how can we explain this is retribution?”

some chinese however will still choose to err on the safe side and adhere to staying indoors for 2 hours during the partial eclipse yesterday to avoid a year of bad luck.

work resumes tomorrow, in the meantime i can say that i had a happy chinese new year break.

Chinese New Year

my first chinese new year in 1982


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