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, June 7, 2015

Chinese wedding accessories

A few years ago, I followed a friend who was shopping in Bukit Mertajam for her weddings - yes, a Chinese wedding in Penang and a church wedding in Germany :)

Firstly, let me introduce you to the friendly husband-and-wife team at this wedding shop:

We went to this shop along Jalan Pasar that specialized in Chinese wedding paraphernalia (among other things like Chinese New Year decorations) and I was fascinated by what the owners shared with us about Chinese wedding customs.

The first thing I learned is the phrase "shuāngxǐ" 双喜, which means "double happiness". "Yi shuang" also means "a pair" thus, for a pair of shoes, you'd say "yi shuang xie".

Now, I understand why I always see 喜喜 at Chinese weddings - double the happiness, get it?

That's also why you always give gifts to Chinese in even numbers i.e. 2, 4, 6, 8, 10.

I truly enjoyed this shopping trip because I learned so much about Chinese weddings.

Feast your eyes on all the Chinese culture below:

A pair of Chinese table lamps

These are oil lamps that come with a real wick! They're not useless ornaments - you can use them if ever you experience a power blackout. You can enjoy a romantic, candlelight dinner with your betrothed too.

A teapot set

I liked this teapot set because it's pretty and practical: a teapot, four tea cups and a tray. Plus, you get a beautiful dragon motif.

Wedding favours

In the past, a wedding favour is usually a slice of wedding cake. Now? Wedding favours can come in all kinds of shapes, sizes and flavours. Recently, I got some lovely fruit jams :)

Below are Chinese wedding favours packed like "money bags" in red paper with "double happiness" . I think they contained some traditional Chinese sweets.

Madame Butterfly?

A classic Chinese hand fan - my grandmother used to have one in her handbag.

A scented, pink, fabric one, if you like.

Toiletry set

This collection below constitutes the basic necessities the newly married needs in their journey through life together: (left to right) a cup for toothbrushes, a pair of wooden clogs for the bathroom, a spittoon cum potty and a face basin. All in vermillion!

These are tiny aluminium coins stamped with "double happiness", wrapped in red paper. These little packs are tucked into the corners of the bride's wardrobe. Personally, I wouldn't do it because fine red "dust" fell from the red paper and stained my fingers.

Married for more than 30 years, aren't they symbols of "double happiness"?