February 24, 2015

A Cantonese taboo

If you are Cantonese and your parents are superstitious, they might tell you not to buy shoes during the Chinese New Year period.

Shoe is 'hai' in Cantonese. Rough (not smooth) is also hai in Cantonese. So, do you want to have a rough life for the whole year? Furthermore, hai is also a sighing sound. For example, if you ask someone something and he sighed 'hai' before answering, it means something unfortunate or sad has happened.

On the other hand, you can buy a lot of trousers in the CNY period because trousers is 'fu' in Cantonese which also means wealth.

February 11, 2015


I like Chinese New Year and look forward to it. I love the CNY festive atmosphere, especially in Chinatown. It is very crowded in Chinatown. But crowds is part of the atmosphere. 

There is also a CNY festive fair in my neighbourhood.

Another reason is that I have excuses to buy things to eat and to replace old things with new ones.

This queue was for the Lim Chee Quan barbecue meat at Chinatown. It stretched to Lucky Chinatown. I guess there were about 100 people. People towards the end of the Q probably would spend a few hours queuing. I think it is a waste of time even if the meat is very good.

三陽開泰 ...


三陽, 依照字面來析,解釋為三個太陽比較直觀,既早陽、正陽、晚陽。朝陽啟明,其臺光熒;正陽中天,其臺宣朗;夕陽輝照,其臺騰射。均含勃勃生機之意。

三陽交泰 : 有好運即將降臨之意。常用以稱頌歲首或寓意吉祥,成為歲首人們用來互相祝福的吉利話。

January 29, 2015

Spring cleaning

In the 50s and 60s, a lot of Chinese families had many children even though some families were poor. Many of my neighbours had four or more children. If a family was too poor to raise the many children it might give away or sell one of them.

Nowadays people are much more well-off but they say they cannot afford to have more children. I think it is more a matter of choice rather than money.

In the old days the family picked a day or two to do spring cleaning for the Chinese New Year and every one, including the children, were assigned certain tasks. I remember I was given the job or cleaning the floors. There were no mops. I had to use a basin of water and a large cloth and knelt down to clean the floor.

Nowadays many families do their spring cleaning in parts or parcels. Maybe one day they clean the kitchen and another day, the bedrooms and so on. Or maybe one day they do sorting, tidying and discarding unwanted things, another day for cleaning and another one for decorations.

Every year I have a lot of unwanted things to throw away. I feel happy when I clear the cluster and the place becomes tidy. 

Have you started your spring cleaning?

January 23, 2015

The Day everything went right

Do you remember writing a composition with the title 'The Day everything went wrong' when you were in school. I do. However, the the things I wrote were my imagination.

A few days ago I had a day that everything went right. 

In the morning I went to the toilet. The waste matter was disposed of smoothly and complete. It gave me this contented feel. As you know, there are instances when we feel the process is not complete and we don't feel comfortable.

Later I went to the bus stop. As I was reaching there, the bus I intended to take had arrived and was about to move off. I quickly signalled to the driver to wait. He did. I boarded the bus and thanked him. He nodded and smiled.

In the afternoon I went to the INCOME branch at Bras Basah Road to do some transactions. I had expected a long queue but it was a short one. The person who attended to me was helpful and pleasant. All was done within minutes.

I had a satisfying dinner in the evening.

Simple happenings, mundane things but it was a very good day.