Saturday, December 19, 2015

My First Poem - "Karipap"

Recently, I attended a poetry workshop, of which I honestly had no idea what to expect and Prof. Jayakaran Mukundan foreshadowed the feelings of apprehension (?) I felt, which were reminiscent of my feelings of courses like postcolonial literature in English.

I enjoy nursery rhymes, singing and all matters of rhyme but somehow, I just CANNOT write a poem.

Even during the other activities, I lacked inspiration especially as others around me were sharing deep and profound feelings about anger, broken relationships, false friendships, hate...

I was thinking and thinking, "What can I write about?"

The only thing I can wax lyrical about is FOOD, for which I crafted my first acrostic poem:

Oohs and
Oodles of

In another activity called "Sense Poems", he gave us stems and I was inspired to pen this off in a few minutes:

When I think of a curry puff,
I can see the crimps and the curves,
I can smell the curry leaves,
I can taste the savoury bits,
Oh, the love of a karipap!

Thank you, Prof. Jayakaran, for this opportunity to express myself, for the first time, in poetry.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

"Peony in Love: A Novel" by Lisa See

It's the month of the Hungry Ghost Festival again and in Hokkien, this is known as "the middle of the seventh month" (chit guok pua).

Last year, I'd written about the commonly held superstitions but this year, I noticed that a lot of families were still outdoors having dinner way past 8 pm. I guess some of the old superstitions are slowly fading away.

If you visit the Chinese communities in Malaysia now, you'll notice little bonfires and plates of food by the kerb.

What are they for?
They are burnt offerings of money (the yellow and gold paper known as "joss paper") and food to the dearly departed.

Since food is the #1 priority for a Chinese, food and drink are equally important for the dead Chinese, especially for those whose funeral rites had not been conducted to its completion.

Growing up in a Chinese/Taoist household, I had many questions about the Hungry Ghost Festival and my late grandmother would patiently answer them as best as she could, which was challenging since I asked a lot of taboo questions!

Peony in Love
Anyway, I have found that Lisa See, famous for  explains the Hungry Ghost Festival extremely well in her novel, "Peony in Love".

This beautiful novel, which takes place in the 17th century (?), follows the journey of young Peony, who falls in love with a young scholar she meets at a Chinese opera but like many women of her age and time, she's betrothed in an arranged marriage.