Month: January 2013
This is the place for holding the prayer for the deceased and the tablets. My parents are somewhere at the left near the front.
But strangely, I couldn’t see them!
I walked to the back yard, saw a young papaya tree waved and said hello to me.
And walked further, asked Phalaenopsis,” where are my parents?”
She just smiled at me in return.
I asked the pearl drop, do you know where are my dearest parents?
I approached the aging bench.
I feel a balmy and gentle hand pat on my shoulder, and I looked up.
I saw daylight resting on the leaves. I saw them!
Dad and Mom said:” son, not to worry about us! We have friends, many friends here! You should take good care of yourself and live meaningfully each day!”
I kept nodding in sob.
Raindrops witnessed and shared with me this moment.
My dearest Dad and Mom, I missed you!
Once again, I am talking about the old days and my sweet and sour story. I beg your pardon for the continuation of this part two of my old house kitchen.
Back to the olden days again, to own a refrigerator is like owning an expensive continental car. We have a special cabinet designed to store the unconsumed balance foods for the next day as foods are precious and we can’t afford to throw it away.
The design allows air ventilation so that food will not turn foul easily in this humid climate. The netting also keeps away flies and other insects for sharing the food. The legs were supported with bowls filled up with water sprinkled with kerosene or salts to deter ants from entering the food cabinet.
Well, some ants still managed to swim over to the flourish land in exchange with some number of drowning incidents!
Some of the cabinet compartments came without doors for storage of bowls and plates etc. It’s is easy to pick up whatever you want just at a glance!
Offering prayers to stove god, Vesta is also quite a tradition among the Cantonese here. The altar is always placed on the ground in the kitchen area. It is believed that the stove god will protect the owner and ocuupants of the house to have a full stomach throughout the year and guard the kitchen in a safe condition.
Remembering when I was a little child, I fell sick and lie on the floor with my mum by my side. Those days, a family of seven, were all cramped in a one-room flat. I have to sleep on the living room floor left with not much choice. That night, my mum used this straw fan to cool me down and put me in comfort.
I remember clearly I told my mum something from the bottom of my heart. “Mum, I’m okay! I am alright!” Since then, I never forget the story about this kid and his mum and the fan in her palm. This is one fancy memory I have.
In those days where air-cons and electric fans were considered luxury items, to cool ourselves down we either relied on the nature’s wind direction or the hand-held straw fans. This very authentic fan made of straw is one essential item in every household to refresh each individual soul. With the humid weather we are having on the equator, we just have to keep fanning till we reach our dreamland.
This simple light-weigh fan has many usages and it emits fragrance of natural straws each time you use it! The Satay man needs it for his wavering stove. Some use it to chase away mosquitoes while some use it to tout business.
Olden days, to express herself more dramatically, grandaunt matchmakers carry it with them all the time. Or most probably is she trying to cover her hard-sell body language on the potentially singles that she is trying to unite?
But for now, it is no longer a drama prop in my house. It has its special role to play in my home. It beautifies a corner of my home and it brings back some warm memories I can’t erase.
While the light beam seeps through the fan, a glow seeps through my heart with reminiscence. I wish I could be the fan in my mum’s hand.
What this simple fan has provided me is not just the precious cool wind, it is the uncountable fanciful days I had with it and going to have with it. Would you agree..?
I managed to extract two informative articles pasted on the inner side of toilets cubicle partition in Singapore Botanic Gardens. The open-concept toilets surrounded with beautiful plants and chirping birds is indeed a good place for inspirations!
2) Do you know the sea coconuts in our local dessert are from the fruit of palm, borassus flabellifer. The male and female inflorescences are born on different plants.
While doing your business, you’ll enjoy the beautiful plants and birds chirping around you. What more, you can enrich yourself with this information. Isn’t it an idea as brilliant as the beaming sun!
When I was young, we used to have an urn placed in our lavatory filled up with water. As bathroom and laundry is a combined usage area, it is common to have an urn in most households to hold water for daily usage.
As water is as precious as dews and water supplies are not that efficient in those days, keeping an urn with water is good for emergency. As dragon symbolizes benevolence, prosperity, longevity and renewal of life, I guess having a dragon urn is more than what we can ask for.
While some believe putting some coins in the dragon water urn will bring prosperity and wishes come true. Showering with the water can enhance your lucky spirits! Well, to me it reminds me of the song “three coins in the fountain”.
I don’t have such a big urn in my apartment now as my lavatory is too small to make room for the urn but I have got a similar mini urn, size of a flower pot. It does not serve me with water but just sweet and culturistic memories.
To me, keeping a piece of the sweet past ‘urn’ me a graceful day, what else do I ask for….?
Traditionally, for a one-month “young” new born, the baby’s family will host a celebration to welcome the sweet event. It’s a time to celebrate the baby’s birth and marks the end of the mother’s confinement.
Some have a buffet spread for guests while others had the celebration in restaurants to accommodate more guests. Other than this, food boxes with cakes, red dyed eggs or glutinous rice will also be given to friends and relatives. These days, food boxes come in more varieties like cupcakes, mini tarts or puffs.
Eggs are chosen as they represent fertility and new passage in life. The red dye represents luck and blessings and their round shapes symbolize harmony.
Glutinous rice with toppings like slice stewed pork, fried dry prawn, mushrooms and sprinkled with onions and garlic shallots will also be given out with the food boxes.
A pair of “Ang Ku Kuey” (“red tortoise cake”) signifies the new born will be blessed with luck and have a life as long as the tortoise.
Last but not least, a milk bottle that feed you with all the sweetness and happiness with that new bundle of joy!
Wooden clogs are versatile shoes appear in and out of your house in olden days. I remember during my childhood, I saw my mother wearing it into the toilet to do the laundry. Another pair is placed outside the corridor, she wear that to do her gardening.
It is also part of street hawkers’ attire in those days. So it’s hard to miss out the “clark, clark, clark” sound throughout the busy food street.
Wooden clogs are uncommon these days. But as the scent of Lunar New Year gets closer, I realize I need a pair of wooden clog for this festive season. Traditionally, it signifies “步步高升” literally means “higher steps” for the prosperous year ahead.
This pair is meant for the ladies. The shape resembles a woman’s perfect measurement! In the past, it is common footwear for housewives to walk down the street doing bargains with their marketing or sometimes chasing their kids with a cane with it!
The male version comes with broader shape. It is not only domestic footwear for hawkers or coffee shop baristas, it is also ideal footwear for wearers to alert their movement with the sounds it created.
I shall dedicate these two pairs of wooden clogs to all fellow Bloggers and Followers.
Wishing all taking their steps higher and higher, with good health and a very prosperous Lunar New Year!
“擂茶”, in Chinese literally means Lei Tea (pounded tea). The name Lei arises from the Lei stick (wooden stick) that was used to grind the ingredients. This iconic Hakka food is healthy and body cleansing. It was known that Lei Tea was originated from the Three Kingdom, China.
In Singapore, Lei Tea is also known as “Thunder Tea” as the word “Lei” has the same pronunciation as “Thunder” in Chinese language. The dish is served with brown or white rice, tops up with various chopped ingredients like long beans, tofu, peanuts, cabbage, pickled radish and green vegetables. The ingredients can be varies, as for vegetarian Ikan Bilis (anchovies) is optional.
The tea soup itself is a composite of different types of tea leaves. Herbs (like mint, basil), nuts, seeds and beans ground together with the Lei stick to form a light green paste or powder. Hot water is then added to the tea paste/powder to go along with the rice.
For some, trying the savory soup for the first time may find it raw. But it has a refreshing after taste! The healthy green fragrance may lure you back for more each time! Unlike the normal tea we have daily, Lei Tea is a healthy food mix with tint of ancient culture and healthy modern lifestyle people adore these days!
If you happen to see it, try it! You may like it! But beware, not to let the tea steal the thunder out of you!
This Laksa leaf (polygonum odoratum) is one of the strong flavored among herb-plant species. Traditionally, it is a must to enhance laksa with it. Topping with this leaf makes this Singapore/Malaysia curry soup more wonderfully complete! Local delight “cereal crab” comes with these amazing leaves upgrade your taste bud to another level.
This is another popular fragrant herb, popularly found in Vietnamese spring rolls, salads and their local cuisine. In Thailand, most of their cuisine can’t do away with this well-liked fragrant plant, it is eaten raw or with spicy dips.
This is Lemon grass (cymbopogon citratus). When we mention about Thai curry or soups, we have to tag him along as well. The slender leaves with hairy and sharp edges, gives off a refreshing lemony fragrance one can’t forget. Lower parts of the stems are more commonly used in cooking or making drinks. It is commonly used in Vietnamese salads and spring rolls too.
This is Mugwort (artemisia vulgaris), commonly used in Japan/Korea for their festive rice cake. It gives the rice a greenish green. Aromatic mugwort are used as a cheaper alternative for tobacco too. It was used as a magical agent, protecting traveler against evil spirits and harmful animals in the Middle Ages. It is also an insect repellent, repelling insects like moth.
For some, these herbs are better than their perfume!
I got a blush in ginger red
Breezing followers and green hand shake
Making their own bliss all the way
Coming here for my date
Hundreds of gratitude
Thousands of praises each day
I beg I’ll never forget a single day
Sending out wishes to each individual face
Never will I be late for their grace
I got a job at my own pond edge
Showery lotus with uncountable faith
Sending my smile all the way
Coming for my set free day
Hundreds of fans
Thousands of mates
I beg I’ll never forget each day
Showing up my way to each individual face
I’ll make sure I’ll always made your day
I got my blue inside a bamboo cage
Plenty of freedom beyond outside stage
Laughing for fun all the way
Coming for my singing day
Hundreds of dollars
Thousands of days
I beg I’ll never forget each day
Singing out my songs to each individual face
I’ll make sure I’ll never wake up late