Monday, January 23, 2012

The Dragon Shield

It's that time of the year again, where the parades of red and gold surge through the streets and the rhythmic pounding of drums mixed with wafting smells of cookies and roasted delights drift through the air. Hooray! It's Chinese New Year again! Happy Chinese New Year everyone! Or Lunar New Year, if you prefer.

Does anyone remember the annoyingly childish chant us kids used to chorus? "恭喜发财红包拿来没有红包给你 black eye!" Which in English, is translated as, "Wishing you happiness and great wealth, now give me a red packet, if no red packets give you a black eye!" Really funny, though it turned lame with each passing year. Terrible message too! Society is encouraging children to turn to violence to achieve material wealth!

Anyway, being oceans away from our relatives, we didn't really get to celebrate Chinese New Year the same manner we used to No big dinner parties or fireworks or yelling or cheering or screaming toddlers or Granny's flatterers... Well. We did have our own little family dinner, but you know, not the same. Although, I must say that missing out on the conventional celebrations also mean the successful avoidance of having awkward personal questions fired at you Nosy relatives would corner and bombard you with irrelevant "formalities" and start their interrogation of why you weren't married yet, or attached yet, or what were your grades, why isn't your course Medicine or Law, why aren't you studying your doctorate yet... etc. Which is fine (actually, not really), except that they turn up their nose at certain answers you give, or if you let slip you hadn't done very well in school at all. And worst of all, if you are single, they peer down at you warning that you would be left on the shelf if you didn't find a match, like, right now. And then they helpfully analyse the reasons why you are single - you really aren't very pretty, or very smart, or very friendly, or you eat too much, or you have too much acne, or maybe your ears are too huge and guys run away from girls with huge ears. I'm telling you - these people not-so-secretly enjoy seeing you squirm. Every year. Besides, this is an invasion of privacy. Where are our rights?!

So the Year of the Dragon has started off well, with the dragon shielding me from the clutches of the nosy questions with masses of saltwater! That being said, I miss the fun festivities and traditional food. Been pestering Mummy to bake something, but she says she can't find the exact same ingredients here and the substitute ingredients just doesn't taste the same or turn out right. Oh well!

Some festive food I crave for!

Pineapple tarts! I think it's hard to get the perfect pineapple tart actually. There was this one year where my Aunt baked the perfect batch; wasn't sour, just the right amount of sweet and right amount of chewy and cookie was the right amount of melty!

Don't forget the ubiquitous barbequed meat! Barbequed pork beats barbequed chicken any day!

While the name of this treat is Love Letters, I don't really think these resemble love letters at all. Moreover, the Chinese name of this is translated as Egg Rolls. Why is the English name unrelated to its Chinese origins?

And some spicy shrimp rolls! Love the crisp! Actually. I like these without the spice. There's the non-spicy version. Better than the spicy ones!

I always fall sick after all these goodies though. So I guess I'll just take it that the dragon is also shielding me from mounds of fat and sick attacks with the masses of seawater! How optimistic am I?

Enjoy the Year of the Dragon everyone!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy 2012

Another year has passed, and its end marks a new beginning of a new year. 2011 was a year straddled with the remnants of the year before. Yet it was furtively full of amazing moments which right now, and maybe in future when recalled, will bring tears to my eyes. Despite my immense brokenness, hurt and unworthiness, I realise that my God has never stopped loving. With time, rolling meadows of gold sprung forth from the deepest and darkest of valleys, unforgotten and reached into by the sun. It would especially be in times of loss and confusion that my heart was warmed by God’s gentle voice saying, “Look around you. Look at everything and everyone you have.” And then overwhelmed with the weight of His blessings, I can’t help but cry at the juxtaposition of His magnificence and my own disgrace.

Events which unfolded in the course of the year reinforced my belief in the unreliability of Man (or, men). However it is also the reinforcement of such coupled with the discovery of untruths, that I am revealed truths which act as lessons or additional testaments to semi-formed truths. While I miss certain comforts, the duplicity divulged to me strengthens the conviction that I have made the right choice to leave and to push away. Some ruined artefacts I will never salvage again. Let them believe it is I who has changed.

I am thankful for the ones whom have stood by me in every painful step, a reminder that I am always loved and remembered even from miles away. I also appreciate those who patiently knock and knock at the door, refusing to leave until I open up. Such moments have also reminded me that God is the kind of friend who, when you’re feeling desperately alone and disillusioned, nudges you to remind you of His presence and smiles, “Tell me all about your day. I’m listening.”

Reviewing the peaks and dips of the year, it hasn’t been the absolute best. However, it has been progressively good. New chapters have started to unravel and old ones have at least, partially or in the midst of being closed. Or rather, time will tell.

At the moment, I’m excited about easing into 2012. It wouldn’t be the same. But, it will be good

Have a great New Year everyone!