Friday, 30 January 2009

drinking my way around Singers.......

10 Things You Should Never Do At Chinese New Year

The Top 10.

1.

Buying books is bad luck because the character for “book” (書/书) is a homonym to the character for “lose” (輸/输).

2.

Offering anything in fours, as the number four (四), pronounced sì, can sound like “death” (死) in Chinese.

3.

Buying a pair of shoes is considered bad luck. The character for “shoe” (鞋) is a homophone for the character 諧/谐, which means “rough” in Cantonese; in Mandarin it is also a homophone for the character for “evil” (邪).

4.

Getting a hair-cut in the first lunar month puts a curse on maternal uncles. Therefore, people get a hair-cut before the New Year’s Eve.

5.

Washing your hair is also considered to be washing away one’s own luck

6.

Sweeping the floor is usually forbidden on the first day, as it will sweep away the good fortune and luck for the new year.

7.

Saying words like “finished” and “gone” is inauspicious on the New Year, so sometimes people would avoid these words by saying “I have eaten my meal so that it disappeared” rather than say “I have finished my meal.”

8.

Talking about death is inappropriate for the first few days of Chinese New Year, as it is considered inauspicious.

9.

Avoid clothes in black and white, as black is a symbol of bad luck, and white is a traditional Chinese funeral colour.

10.

Foul language is inappropriate during the Chinese New Year.


the above information was lifted off the blog of AngryAngMo at:

http://www.angryangmo.com/

He has a lot of interesting information on living in Singapore and on Singapore in general.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

local culinary favourites at Hongbao Festival






The "Food Street" at this years HongBao celebration was a disappointment but is probably due to the downturn in the economy.

Though is advertized as:

"Food and beverage retailing local culinary favourites and foreign delicacies."

Night views of The Singapore Flyer

River Hongbao at Marina Bay

We went into Marina Bay on Monday evening for some more of the Chinese New Year celebrations ......... for the first time, the River Hongbao celebrations is being held at the floating platform at Marina Bay. Though I must add that we did prefer this event where it has been held before, rather than at Marina Bay. It was still colourful, with a lot to see but far too many people in such a small area. As for eating, it really was better down along the river front (as in years past) where one could wander along the promenade and take in all the stalls and events. This time the "food hall" was so crowded it was actually unsafe. If any of the food pots had caught fire, I would not want to be anywhere within the vicinity!

Other highlights of the HongBao celebrations include nightly performances by foreign and local artists, and a nightly firecracker display.

Music performances.....

The nine-day event started on Jan 24.

There are the regular food stalls, and the God of Fortune statue which faces the floating platform. The celebrations will end of Feb 1, with a grand dinner and a closing performance.

The event is open from 6pm to 11pm every day, except on the eve of the new year, when the area will close after the midnight countdown.





a disappointment compared to the past two years.



thought for today...

Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Jurong Bird Park - Singapore


Yesterday - Tuesday January 27 2009 - John, Cathy and myself visited the Jurong Bird Park here in Singapore. John and I have been to the park quite a few times already. But still we enjoy seeing it again when we have visitors....

http://www.birdpark.com.sg/













The Jurong BirdPark is a tourist attraction in Singapore managed by Widlife Reserves Singapore. It is a landscaped park, built on the western slope of Jurong Hill. It is located within the Boon Lay Planning Area of the Jurong district and has an area of 202,000 square metres.

The idea of a permanent bird exhibit was first conceived by Dr Goh Keng Swee, the then Minister for Defence, in 1968. During a World Bank Meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Dr Goh visited its zoological garden and was impressed with its free-flight aviary. He sought to see that Jurong would be more than an industrial zone that Singaporeans would have a place where they could escape from urban life, where people could relax with nature. On 3 January 1971, Jurong BirdPark, built at a cost of S$3.5 million, was opened to the public.

The Jurong BirdPark is now a world-famous bird zoo wherein there are specimens of magnificent bird life from around the world, including a flock of one thousand and one flamingos. It is currently the world's largest bird park in terms of number of birds and second largest in terms of land area after Germany's Vogelpark Walsrode. There are over 9,000 birds of 600 species in the Jurong BirdPark. Of those, 29 are of endangered species.

In 2006, the Jurong BirdPark completed its S$10-million makeover. With the upgrading, the park now boasts a new entrance plaza, an African wetlands exhibit, a park-owned and managed Bongo Burgers restaurant, a Ben & Jerry's ice cream parlour, a gift shop and a bird hospital.

We have had a busy four day holiday weekend taking Cathy around and showing her the tourist sites of Singapore.

Next posting will probably be of Marina Bay where we went last night!

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

The Lion Dance Performance at The Jade Condo.....

Today - Tuesday January 27 2009 - we had the Lion Dance performance at The Jade Condo where we live ..... for more detailed information on the The Lion Dance ritual, scroll down on the blog......

This first image is of a few of the residents of The Jade Condo waiting for the performers to arrive:



The Lion Dance Performers going around the outside area of the pool.....the drummers are near by the main lobby playing...


The actual "Dance" ....




Last Year on the 8th February, we saw the same performance and I wrote about it in my blog then too. So instead of re writing it again, will just "cut and paste" :


The Lion Dance was performed at The Jade Condo - where we live - this morning from 10.00am till 12 noon. I have attached photos in the previous two posting's seen below.


Business enterprises often call upon a lion dance troupe to perform at the commencement of something important. It's a Chinese tradition. (There used to be firecrackers too, but they're banned by the Singapore government as a hazard to the public.)

You find a lion dance performed when a new branch or shop is opened. You see lots of them in the days following Chinese New Year, when shops and factories re-open for business after the holidays. The businessmen want to make sure they give an auspicious start to the new trading period.
Lion dance can be broadly classified into two main categories: traditional and free-style. The traditional lion dance follows an established set of routines while free-style lion dancers have the liberty to create their own routines – such as performing stunts on metal stilts that can go as high as three metres.

During Chinese New Year, most performances are variations of the traditional style.
The most sought after performance during the festive period is known as “plucking the green.” Typically, a green leafy vegetable is either hung in the air or placed on the ground for the prop lion to “pluck” and “devour.” Mandarin oranges are placed on the ground for the lion to “devour” as well. After the lion has “devoured” the vegetable and the oranges, it usually lays on the ground.

The performer playing the rear of the lion would have to peel the mandarin oranges and arrange the orange slices to form auspicious Chinese characters. The performer at the rear would then pass the peeled orange skins to his partner playing the head.
Following that, the performer playing the head would then tear the orange peel and vegetable into small pieces and throw them out of the lion’s mouth for a total of three times.

As this is considered to be an auspicious ritual, some people refrain from immediately clearing away the pieces of orange skin and vegetable to prevent sweeping away of good luck.



Next Post will be about our visit to the JURONG BIRD PARK today.


..

Monday, 26 January 2009

Sentosa Flower Show - 2009

Sentosa Island, Singapore


On Saturday we decided to head towards Sentosa Island, we have a yearly pass so it is not only convenient for us, but also encourages us to visit often. As our friend Cathy is staying with us for 10 days it was an ideal opportunity to show her the beauty of Sentosa. We saw the 2009 Sentosa Flower Show, took a ride on the 'tram' to the beaches and walked along the Merlion Walk, with it's 120-metre-long colourful mosaic walkway with jumping water jets and a beautiful set of Carillon bells at the end of the walkway and took many photos:




http://www.sentosa.com.sg/index.html

A few of the images I took while walking around at Sentosa Island are as follows, the first one being of John and myself on the swing!






................ as the sun sets on Sentosa Island, so the light changes and the whole of Sentosa Island takes on a new dimension:

Next "post" will be of the Sentosa Flower Show - 2009.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Gong Xi Fa Cai

It is now Friday evening, January 23 2009 ...... the start of Chinese New Year and the four day holiday period!

a fabulous time to be living in Singapore, to experience all the festivities that go with celebrating the New Year.

CHINESE NEW YEAR

This is, without a doubt, the most important festival of the Chinese lunar calendar. Also known as the Lunar New Year, this festive period lasts for 15 days and usually falls during the months of January and February. The whole island seems to stop to celebrate this special period, but the liveliest events, of course, are to be found at Chinatown.

The night before the first day of Chinese New Year, Chinese people all over Singapore make it a point to rush home for the annual family reunion dinner, which marks the start of a period of feasting. Chinese New Year cookies such as love letters and pineapple tarts (a Singapore-Malaysia invention), barbecued pork and sumptuous Chinese dinners are usually featured.

Another New Year specialty which originated in Singapore and Malaysia is yu sheng, or raw fish in a colourful bed of salad. The fish symbolises a prosperous life, and each colour in the salad brings a special significance as well. Yu sheng is not meant to be nibbled at demurely, you have to eat it with a whole bunch of people who will all dig in their chopsticks and toss the salad as high as possible. This noisy ritual is called lo hei, and is meant to bring you good health and luck for the rest of the year.

If you visit the home of your Chinese friends during this period, bring along a pair of mandarins as a token of good fortune. You will probably get hong baos in return; these are red packets containing money, and are, not surprisingly, kids' favourite part of Chinese New Year. Wish your hosts Gong Xi Fa Cai, it's the traditional greeting during the celebration and means you wish them lots of prosperity and good fortune.

In the weeks running up to Chinese New Year, Chinatown's the place to be. Colourful stalls line the streets, selling everything from red and gold greeting cards to love-letters cookies to pussy willow (a symbol of longevity). You'll smell incense and see little altars everywhere, as the Chinese make offerings to their gods.

Two other major events are held in Singapore in connection to Chinese New Year - the River Hong Bao Festival and the Chingay Parade.

RIVER HONG BAO

The River Hong Bao Festival is an annual fair that takes place at the breezy waterfront area near Marina Promenade. The fair is usually built along the theme of the relevant Chinese zodiac symbol for that coming year. Expect huge floats depicting the animals of the Chinese zodiac, as well as huge statues of the Gods of Fortune and Wisdom, colourful temples and bridges, and "cherry blossom" trees everywhere. The stalls will feature the best in arts and crafts, Chinese calligraphy, and even palm reading, from Taiwan and China. Cultural performances will be held nightly.

Gong Xi Fa Cai !!!

Monday, 19 January 2009

POKEY: the sneaky little puppy!!

well not really a puppy any longer - he is 12 years old - but he still is "sneaky" !!

he will hide where ever he can on, in or under something soft and cuddly.

one day after stripping the bed of the sheets and Doona (Duvet to some) the Doona was on the floor, I came back in to the bedroom to remake the bed only to see this large bundle of bedding start to move.....

yes, he was snuggled up underneath this large King Sized Doona!

another day I found him in the laundry basket:

.... and then today I was stripping the beds in the guest room after our visitors left. Came back in to the room and wondered what the "lump" was under the mattress protector.

Yes, it was Pokey: the sneaky little puppy!


I just have to keep an eye on him at all times.