I'm a simple girl with a li'l dream, of seeing her humble works in exquisite print, to share with all who feels for words, written with
an unsupressable urge. So indugle in my fantasies, and plow your way through my memories, greatly appreciated you will be,
if you can leave your comments here for me.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

have an oinky new year

it's chinese new year again. the time where many chinese families gather to usher in a new year, and the animal zodiac that trails along with it.

2007 is the year of the golden pig. for those who are not familiar with chinese cultures, there are 12 animals in the chinese zodiac. for the last 12 years, it has been the "golden" years. the year of the golden rat, the golden cow, the golden tiger etc. the piggy is the last animal in the chinese zodiac, and we have hence reached the last of this golden safari cycle, which only happens once every 50 years.

today is chinese new year eve - where traditionally families, relatives, close friends will come together and have a great big feast which is termed endearingly - The Reunion Dinner.

to me, it's a weird concept to reunite only once a year, especially if you don't bother to stay in touch for the rest of the 364 days, or for leap years - 365 days.

but the chinese has this problem about culture. they no longer want to understand the reasons and logic behind the things they do. they simply do it because it has been so for years.

like the one time my mum insisted that my dad should be reincarnated by now. i am a Christian, so reincarnation is not something I believe in. But since she is so adamant, I nodded absent-mindedly, not in agreement but rather, to indicate that I've heard her interesting assumption.

come his death anniversary in Oct, she demanded that I buy the food and drinks that he used to like, and offer the feast to 'him' at the crematorium where his ashes was held. It puzzled me so much that I had to ask.

"Didn't you just said a couple of months ago that Dad has reincarnated? So why would he still be there to eat the stuff that I bring?" I questioned.

She shot back,"His soul is still there. You got to get him the food so that he would not go hungry."

"He only eats ONCE A YEAR?" I can feel my eyebrows arching all the way to my hairline. "If he was reincarnated, how could his soul still be there?"

Mom was unrelentless. "He was reincarnated, but his soul remains there."

i give up. there's no way anyone can win this argument.

back to chinese new year, i am taking her out for reunion dinner tonight. I hope she likes the food.

call me cynical, but chinese new year has lost all its meaning for me since relatives stop acknowledging our existence the day dad passed away. everyone's scared of being associated with us, for fear we would burden them with our impending poverty.

i guess that's what made me so headstrong. so determined to push on with life. so extremely feministic - like what someone would say of me.

cos I had no one except myself. and i have to be the best i can be. because when the whole world turns you away, you have no choice but to stick it out alone. so that i can keep my head up, and breathe a bit better.

and here i am, surviving yet another year, cos i managed not to crash. it's not a miracle, it's a blessing.

have an oinky new year.


Anonymous said...

your mum's assumption about your dad' reincarnation is just as puzzling as why Jews, Christians, Muslims failed to see that they have been worshipping the same God? And it's almost a thousand year? I'm not here to question about anything, but it just looks odd from the eyes of an onlooker. :P

Cavalock said...

Hey there, how's it going?

Happy new year to you too!

Little fish said...

there's this thing about reincarnation. from the movie before sunrise...which is pretty funny.

there's a fixed number of souls in this world. so as the number of humans increases, the souls become fractions of their former selves.

hence our current state.

chaosm said...

You've survived another year, not because of miracle or blessing. Blessed are only the ones who don't succumb.
Even if it's not now, sometime soon you will be living and not just surviving. I can taste the diamond hardness shining in this post.
Enjoy the golden pig.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing wierd about reuniting in a grand way once a year. Every culture practices it: the europeans have christmas, the americans have thanksgiving, and so on. Since the europeans and americans have not sold out their own culture and adopt foreign cultures as their own, they do not ridicule their own culture. That all.

Anonymous said...

westerners have been placing flowers at the graves of their beloved ones. Can their dead relatives smell the flowers? westerners do not consider this practice idol worshiping, yet they come to the east to accuse asians who place food at the graves, as superstitious. asians who have sold out their own culture and adopt foreign cultures as their own, often join in to label their own kind as people who "no longer want to undersatnd reasons and logic". maybe such asians should ask their western blog readers to explain how the dead smell flowers! But i suppose there is no need to ask anyway - western culture is always superior. thanskgiving reunion is good. flower offering is logical. keke.

Anonymous said...

> "He only eats ONCE A YEAR?"

ang moh smell flower ONCE A YEAR???

> "He was reincarnated, but his soul remains there."

ang moh has gone heaven/hell, but his soul remains there to see beautiful flower and smell it too?!?!?

bottomline: every culture has SIMILAR ways of remembering the dead -- specifically, to **SYMBOLICALLY** "share" whatever is beautiful/good with the dead. in certain parts of the west, flower is a choice. the many parts of asia, food is the choice.

westerners who are firmly rooted in their own culture, who have not replaced their own culture with foreign one, will not ridicule their own culture. the same goes for asians :)

Anonymous said...

> i give up. there's no way anyone can win this argument.

There is ceratinly no way anyone can win an argument with anybody who view culture with tinted glasses, who can label very similar practices in their own culture versus other people's culture diffrently. This occur throughout the world, but the sad thing in this part of the world is that instead of being cultural chauvnists, we have a group of people who are "reverse chauvinists" :)

Anonymous said...

little fish,
there is indeed "a fixed number of souls in this world", something like the physical law of energy: the amt of energy in the world is constant. But hey, the world is HUGH! thousands of galaxies, millions of solar systems, and scientists are now talking about 30+ (or is it 50+?) different dimensions (in addition to the 3-D world we know). When living conditions on earth are conducive for souls to be reincarnated, then more living thing that passed away in other planet/solar system/galaxies are born here, and population on earth increase. But hey, population on other part of the universe decrease such that the total number is fixed. Rem your o-level physics? energy cannot be created nor destroyed, but only be transferred from one form to another. People who believe in soul, veiw soul as a form of energy. While not everybody believe in such views, one who is objective can certainly see that such view, having parallels to the physical concept of energy, is worthy of further examination/debate, instead of being dismissed or ridiculed.

Anonymous said...

- can a blog opened for public viewing be considered private?

- should a blog opened for public comment expect to receive only compliments?

- should a blogger ridicule a reader's culture and religion on his blog, and expect his offended reader to grumble anywhere except in the comment page of that blog?

I end my "alternative voice" on your blog by wishing you:

Happy New Year, Elvina!

(Or, perhaps, I shouln't be wishing you that? After all, Chinese style of reunion is "wierd concept" to you. Perhaps, I should wish you Merry Christmas or Happy Thanksgiving. Western style of reunion is easier for you to stomach - even though such grand reunion are also once a year, just like the chinese's! :)

Anonymous said...

> it's a weird concept to reunite only once a year, especially if you don't bother to stay in touch for the rest of the 364 days, or for leap years - 365 days.

Tell that to the brits - according to culturally ignorant people like me, the brits "reunite only once a year" to celebrate Christmas. Tell that to the Yankees too - according to cultural chauvinist like me, they "reunite only once a year" to celebrate thanksgiving

Anonymous said...

> but the chinese has this problem about culture. they no longer want to understand the reasons and logic behind the things they do. they simply do it because it has been so for years.

With due respect, it's not "the chinese" who has this problem. It is only you :)

For example, I am a Chinese. When I ate my reunion dinner yesterday, I understood the reasons and logic behind it - it's just like christmas and thanksgivingg: firstly, a grand major reunion for relatives who are far away in other countries/towns/cities, to all come together on at least one occasion per year, since they cannot make it every weekend. Plus, it is THE new year - time to celebrate!

For example too, when I visit the crematorium, and put some food on it, I also understand the reasons and logic behind it: "Today, I bought some very nice roast duck for myself to eat. Ah, how I wish so and so is still around to part-take in the roast duck with me -- it's his/her favourite food. But alas, nothing can bring him/her back. He/she can never eat it. But well, nevermind. As a way to lesson my grieve, and as a way to remember him/her, let me place his/her favourite food on the urn, the same way as I would have served him/her his/her favourite food had he/she been alive. After half an hour, I will take the food away and eat it myself, knowing full well that he has never eaten it, and could never".

Of course, not every Chinese/ang moh are able to articulate their own cultural beliefs as well as I do *ahem*. Many arent able to explain it and simply knows it intuitively. But so long as they dont laugh at their own culture, I think it's ok.

Anonymous said...

"for those who are not familiar with chinese cultures" - you mean yourself?

Anonymous said...

"it's a weird concept to reunite only once a year" -- do you celebrate christmas 365 days a year? Do you celebrate Ang Moh new year 364 days a year? To the best of my knowledge, my new year comes only once a year. What about yours? :)

And when you do celebrate some occasion, nevermind 365 days or 1 day, how do you celebrate? I mean, do you celebrate christmas by having a "reunion dinner" with your church friends, secondary school friends, colleagues? (oops, wrong terminology. you guys call it "christmas PARTY" - hmm, does the party involve food? dinner? do you meet those party-goers 365 days a year? if not, then by definition, it is a reunion). What about Ang moh new year? How u celebrate it? Got food or not? lunch or dinner? Reunion with friends you have not met for a year, or is it only with friends you see 364 days?

Oh, i forgot: christmas and 1st of Jan are different category from CNY - the former are all ang moh festival. Oops, me bad. sorrie

Anonymous said...

anon above, you hit the nail on the head when you wrote: "do you celebrate christmas by having a "reunion dinner" with your church friends, secondary school friends, colleagues?". The truth is simple: Some chinese dont like to celebrate any occasion with their families members and relativies. They prefer to celebrate with friends, colleagues etc. But instead of realising that the problem lies in their poor relationships with their relatives, they blame the occasion itself. If such people are born in the west, they will soon be grumbling abt western occasions, because in the west, such occasions are always celebrated with families and relatives. I don't think westernerse celebrate the christmas and thanksgiving that you mentioned, with friends and colleagues, right?

Elvina aka LaoNiang said...

i think u totally miss the point. My mom specifically said my dad's going to eat the food. i don't buy food for dead people BECAUSE i want to eat it.

Second, i don reunite with friends ONLY for Christmas. We see each other quite often so Christmas is just another day for us to have bigger gatherings, bigger feasts, bigger party. and they are all alive so we can enjoy together. my friends and i meet often enough that maybe someone like you may not understand, cos i don think u understand the meaning of friends. your probably wouldn't know what it feels like to have friends because if you do, you would have uttered some argument that is more intelligent and no spout nonsense under an anonymous name.

and for relatives, maybe u had it good. my so call relatives disappeared for over 20 years. i don even know they exist. what's there to reunion?

sa for flowers...i think u might be the only dude in the world that think that we buy it for the dead to smell. again u are using that chinese perception of dead can eat, smell, drink, touch and feel.

the flowers are to add color to the dreary grave, and as a form of respect. i have no qualms abt putting flowers on the grave as a gift of respect, but i will still think it's illogical to expect them to SMELL it.

as for your disgruntled comments, granted it is a public blog. But it's still my blog, so i will always have a choice to read, ignore or delete. you can say what you want, or jump to your own assumptions, but I don have to agree because as much as you don't agree with mine, your opinion is really not worth listening to either. especially not from a cowardly wannabe who prefers to give his two cents worth behind a anonymous nick.

i don like the idea of reunion dinner because i think most people just do it for the sake of doing it. and that's not ridicule. it's stating my opinion and my thoughts on my blog. if you need to know what that word ridicule means, get an Oxford dictionary and don embarrass yourself here.

you may not like what you read, but honestly, unless you are a friend, i simply don care.

Keep your wishes for yourself by the way. coming from a faker, superficial and delusional nimcompoop like yourself, it's just a big turn off.

don't bother to defend yourself here either, because you are just spamming my blog with your nubile comments and they just make me wanna roll my eyes.

Don't agree with what you read, then don't read it. simple. if i wanted your extremist opinions, i will seek your narrowminded advice.

meanwhile, just leave me alone. there's a reason why u are anonymous, and this is probably it.

Richard said...

I think that learning that other people cannot be relied upon is a difficult and unfortunate lesson to learn (although, it is one I learned myself - for other reasons). Trying to do everything yourself is not the best way to do things (again, it is something I am trying to overcome).

It is not just the Chinese who do things because it is simpler to repeat something than to think about it. My depressing though tis that most people prefer to act on automatic pilot rather than actively take responsibility for their actions.

On a more depressing level, I think people like blindly follow things because it means they don't have to think - only react with an appropriate preprogrammed response.

Imagine the following conversation:



"Lovely weather we're having."

"Yes. Yes, it is."

and contrast it with:



"You have lovely ears."

Maybe I am just bitter that I never mastered small talk.

Happy new year of the boar!

Elvina aka LaoNiang said...

Haha Richard. You always have this uncanny ability to sum up my feelings in very simple terms when I usually take like 100 paragraphs to say the same thing.

You have voiced exactly what I feel about myself, people, and my take on blind followers. I guess when you have gone through times like these just when I have, you would be able to emphatise better.

In any case, Oink oink to you too! :D

Tammster said...

I would never be able to understand why some ppl have nothing better to do than to read a blog & pick from every sentence just to prove that their opinions are far grander than the writer's?

*clap clap* to Elvina for the slapback. I hope he will keep his mouth shut now.

Liveless Cheer said...

I kinda feel CNY has no meaning for younger people like us? I would rather put CNY as a 'gathering' of the old people who would probably meet once a year and do a whole day of gossiping. While people like me from a big household have to figure out who is who in this big household with the never-ending popping out of 'new' cousins and relatives which I either did not notice over the years or I simply lost count of them.

And speaking of this - kinship and bloodties at my generational level really doesnt seem to mean anything. Cousins and relatives are aliens in a way and theres hardly any common things to talk about too...

Elvina aka LaoNiang said...

Tammster: hahah thanks. u are so cute. I guess some people take pride in tearing others down just to show that they are smart arses. For this kind of losers, God invented the DELETE button. Nice touch.

Liveless Cheer: I feel the same way too. So does many of my friends. Somehow, people are so busy running their own lives, that meeting them once a year becomes a strange detached feeling rather than having the warmth of reunion and meeting up a relative.

Glad i am not alone in feeling this way. My relatives are not even aliens. They are more like figments of imagination. haha

Sherwin said...

Hi Elvina....

Happy new year... Wishing you PUU BUU Gao Sheng....Nian Nian Got Fish...Zao Sheng Gui Zi.....

This year would be better than the Last....

Don't bother about spilting hairs with people, It's not worth it. There is always 3 views to any situation, Your View, The other person's View, and God's View.

and many times, I find that Silence is usually a good answer to alot of those hair splitting, head splitting, heart splitting topics.

Happy Oink oink...

Elvina aka LaoNiang said...

Tammster: Oi! How come I am not invited to read your blog??!??! :(

Philip said...

Elvina, seems like Mr/Ms Anonymous is too determined...hahaha.
Happy New Year. Njoy.

Elvina aka LaoNiang said...

Thanks Philip. It doesn't matter because a person who is so adamant about giving his unsolicited two cents worth and twisting everyone's words to suit his illogical arguement, just ain't worth listening to (or reading in this case).

So with the absolute power vested in me by blogspot, I will save all of you the pain from reading his mindless and ridiculous rantings - which I must say tethers at the extreme end of being absolutely irritating.

I will probably send a note to the authorities to start tracking this loser pest, and block or ban his IP address or something. Anything to get this obsessive, mentally unstable and psychologically twisted individual out of this blog.

I mean - he really does not get it that he's nitpicking, fault finding and dung digging so that he can get his stupid opinions across. Hence, I assume he has nothing else better to do than dedicate his entire life and time to put up his comments on my blog - which probably have a lifespan of less than a day. If that's not imbecile, then he's probably a retard.

Otherwise, I will just delete and delete and delete and delete, because it's still my blog, and I write what I want, and I am who I am. :)

Mockingbird said...

Everyone wants to be as prosperous as a fat pig but none of its obesity.

Tammster said...

Oops... haha.. well, it has been privatised lah... I shall invite u.. log in if u have a google acct when you receive the invite or log in as guest...

Midorinosora said...

Oh wow, looks like i'm damn late. Didn't know there was such a drama going on.

The concept of having reunion dinner was there for a reason I guess - to remind people that they have a home to go back to - even if it's only once a year. Well, it really is better than nothing at all.

But it also heightens that sense of loneliness for people who don't have one.

It's just like Valentine's Day don't you think - a time when you're acutely aware that you're alone.

So I guess there are people out there who shares the same sentiments as you. :)

"He was reincarnated, but his soul remains there." how is this technically even possible? your mum's damn cute lah! :)

Elvina aka LaoNiang said...

midorinsora: haha i think she doesn't know what she is saying, and just following tradition blindly.

eisen said...

Frankly speaking... after hearing all your comments, or had read rather, i would like to ask... "Wat r u all doing abt ur CNY?"

It seems tt all of u seems to understand the meaning or at least point to a logical idea/concept to it. So wat r u all gg to do abt it?

Knowing is zero if u dun put wat u know to work.

Shooting the arrows back at me, my grandma is like coming 84 tis yr. My uncle n i had dispute over certain issues yr back. For the past 9 yrs, i hv gone back yearly to hv RD wif my granny n nvr failed to visit her FIRST on the 1st day of CNY. I nvr failed to pay respect to my uncle for the past 9yrs by giving him oranges when descended down t his turn.

I tried to talk, update n know my cousins whom i had not had the opportunity to often. If u say tt it's all patronising, u might b rite, but i'm doing it, do u???

So if u know the meaning to it all, pls n kindly share it wif the ppl ard u n start wif urself. It's not farcade, but i do it wif sincerity.

BTW... Christmas is a time for ppl to gather in rememberance of Christ. Party??? I think u might miss the flight