Sunday, February 24, 2013

CNY 2013

All my kids were home for CNY but this year, I didn't bake a single cookie or prawn crackers because my house renovation is still not completed and all my kitchen stuff are either packed or misplaced. My half bro, his daughter and her son came from Guangzhou, China to spend CNY with us. Our house was bursting with people and it was great to be together, sharing stories of my father. Without giving too much information, my half bro and half sister had a hard life with Ah Ni (a term for eldest mother), dad's first wife, in their village in China after my dad had to run away or be killed. Dad was hunted by the Communist Party of China after the Kuomingtang, the democratic Chinese Nationalist Party, where he was an officer, were defeated in 1949. I didn't know until my niece mentioned it that my dad had first fought the Japanese in China and then passed a stringent exam to get into a prestigious military school after which he joined the Kuomingtang. When Dad escaped from China, his son was only 5, his daughter 3. By the time China opened its doors to the world, that son was 48 years old, and that was the second and last time son and father met.

China got through those hard years of starvation and poverty due very largely to money sent home by overseas Chinese. Nearly every Chinese family here and around the world with relatives in China sent money, food, used goods like clothes, shoes and even TVs and it was this regular, non-stop aid that kept millions of Chinese from starving. Today's young mainland Chinese with their new wealth seem to have forgotten this part of history. I remember growing up resenting my dad's obsession with his other family but blood really is thicker than water because when we stood in front of dad's grave this CNY eve, it was a very moving and special moment of love and togetherness.

This year's CNY celebration was deliberately more subdued because my mom wasn't too well and I was stressed from the house renovation. We did have lots of food and laughter and I even made my half bro teach me how to make Chinese sausages and la rou (Chinese bacon)! The most important meal of the year for the Chinese is the reunion dinner on the eve of CNY and this year, my half bro, eldest bro, younger bro (youngest bro did not come home from Singapore this year) and I cooked 11 dishes (3 versions of koeyuk) including a soup. We also had a delicious yeesang from Party Play.


A little late, since CNY celebrations ends today but I wish you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year!

p.s. A friend reminded me that today, the 15th day of CNY, is the Chinese Valentine's Day (correction: my daughter said it's not; Chinese Valentine's Day falls in July) and it is traditional for single men and women to throw mandarin oranges into the rivers or sea (in China, that would be the rivers)  in the hope of finding a spouse. I must make my daughter throw some oranges today.


jinkar said...

Happy New Year to you too! Have missed reading your updates. Love the photo of those fat sausages hanging out to dry.

Kelly Siew said...

There are two Chinese valentine's days: Yuan Xiao Jie is one, Qi Xi is another one (July). So did Yi throw any oranges? I've never seen it done before in my life. Love your reunion spread as usually. Been missing your cooking posts!

Kelly Siew said...

Oh Happy Chinese New Year to you and your family!

Terri said...

OMG Terri! Those photos made me hungry... and I just finished brunch less than an hour ago!

Happy Chinese New Year!

Anonymous said...

Terri, your food blogs may very well be my incentive to move back to KK from Melbourne. You are brilliant!

ykristen said...

Happy CNY to you. Am sure your daughter doesn't need to throw oranges to find one.

mezzo solo said...

very unusual reunion and touching..
great year to start..

Baby Sumo said...

Happy CNY to you, a little late but better than never,

Div said...

Im desperate to find out what's in the tofu... it is meat and rice stuffed into the tofu? if its rice, is it cooked rice? Everything looks so yummy! I always end up getting homesick during CNY, Hari Raya and Diwali.

terri@adailyobsession said...

jinkar: why, thank you, i feel missed:)

kelly: we dont do tt in sabah but i think it's done in west; did you not see any oranges in the river? ah, it's good that you miss my posts, and happy new year to you n fiance!

terri: hi! love your profile pic--is tt you n your family?

anon: oh no, don't do that! you live in the world's most liveable city so you dont want to move back to kk where you wont even find a decent potato. yes, serious, i went to the supermarket last week n they were out of everything, including potatoes. i've noticed tt it is harder to get quality food stuff here:(

ykristen: oh yes she does! i think she needs to either throw a crate of oranges, or one big pomelo.

terri@adailyobsession said...

mezzo: yes. love reunion dinners!

babysumo: thank you! and happy new year to you!

div: i had to google 'tunnocks' haha.when i was a teenager, i loved japan and scotland and had pen pals there, seiko n moira respectively :)
yes, tt's uncooked sticky rice. my dad used to put rice flour in his stuffed tofu bok n my half bro confirmed tt tt's how it's done in Guangxi where my ancestors are from, and sometimes they also use sticky rice. but i didnt like the result bc there was too much rice. maybe i'm just too used to eating bouncy meat-stuffed tofu boks.

Div said...

I don't think i've ever had it with sticky rice, or any rice filling infact! Only ever had a fish or meat filling. I'll need to add this to the list of things for my mum to make when she comes over to visit me (coz i'm too lazy to make it myself)! The first time I came to scotland was on a school trip(when I was still living in Singapore), i loved it and came back for uni. After i finished studying i got a job and never left. The weather isn't great but the place is just so beautiful :)

Jaxson Corey said...

Great post on journaling, Carrie. I have only tried this after completing my book, usually for character blog posts. Most times my books evolve from an idea or story question, and the characters evolve from that...except with Renner. He was Trey's partner in Journey's End, and I knew as soon as he hit the page that he'd star in his own book.
Thanks for sharing your method, Carrie. I shall try this. :-)
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