Today is the last day of February and it is also Chap Goh Meh, the finale to the Chinese New Year celebration. Being a Sunday, this year’s Chap Goh Meh will be celebrated on a grander scale by the Chinese.

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Chap Goh Meh, meaning “fifteenth night” in Hokkien, is a day to spend with loved ones. It is like Valentine’s Day for the Chinese. On this day, single adults throw oranges into rivers in the hope of finding a life partner. The Hokkien even have a saying which goes “tim kam chua ho ang” which literally means “throw a mandarin orange, marry a good husband.” But nowadays a lot of young people throw oranges into rivers merely for fun.

People used to write their names and telephone numbers on oranges that they threw into rivers or lakes. Nowadays with the widespread use of the internet, I guess people will probably write their emails or their websites addresses on the oranges that they throw……some may even write the names that they use on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

To all my friends and associates, I wish you all a very happy Chap Goh Meh! Go now to the supermarkets to buy a box of mandarin oranges and see you at the lakeside at Bulatan Park tonight! Who knows, you may find your life partner tonight! Hahaha…happy orange throwing!

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Almost a fortnight has gone by since my last blog article. After all the Chinese New Year visiting and activities, I got bitten by the lazy bug and have just been relaxing. I guess it is time to get back into the normal day-to-day routine again.

During the first few days of the Chinese New Year, my family visited the houses of quite a lot of relatives. With my son Clarence and his girl friend back from Penang to spend the Chinese New Year with us, our house was noisier and livelier than usual.

During the course of our Chinese New Year visiting, we came across this house with its water meter secured with barbed wire to prevent theft of the meter. It is truly surprising that there are people who would resort to stealing water meters but I have read newspaper reports about such thefts.

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In another relative’s house, we came across quite a number of unwelcomed visitors. These visitors were crawling on the floor and the walls….upon closer examination, these visitors turned out to be dog lice! A relative of mine tried to kill the lice that he saw.

Killing dog lices crawling on the floor!Killing dog lice crawling on the floor!

The lion dance troupe from Democratic Action Party (DAP) passed through our housing estate and performed a short dance in the garage of my house. Here in Miri, it is a very common practice for lion dance troupes from Chinese schools, associations and political parties to perform from house to house to raise funds. It adds to the Chinese New Year mood.

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An unfortunate event happened on the third day of the Chinese New Year . One of my relatives hosted an open house on that day and we dropped by his house. My relative had ordered several dishes from a Malay so we savored the food. That night, both of my sons and I came down with bad diarhoea. My son Clarence was the most seriously affected as he had fever in addition to a severe case of diarhoea. I immediately suspected that the cause must be the curry that we had taken at the open house. My wife was not affected as she did not take the curry. The next day we found out that a lot of our other relatives who had been to the open house had diarhoea. And my relative who hosted the open house later told us he only found out that there was something wrong with the curry later that night. The curry had turned frothy!

My son Clarence and Amanda left Miri for Penang on the fourth day of the Chinese New Year. I felt so sad to see them go. And I felt so sorry for Clarence as he was still unwell from the food poisoning with bouts of fever as well as sore throat. On arrival in Penang, he had to see a doctor immediately and had to take the following day off as a medical leave.

Today is the twelfth day of the Chinese New Year. And in three more days, it is Chap Go Meh ….another round of big makan (eating) again!

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At the stroke of midnight about half an hour ago, the sky of Miri erupted in a glorious display of fireworks as the Chinese celebrated the arrival of the Year of the Tiger. And this was accompanied by deafening firecrackers that turned the whole city into a war-like zone. I managed to capture some of the firework display on my compact digital camera.

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Today is the first day of the Chinese New Yearand this year is the Year of the Tiger! The cycle of twelve animal signs originates from Chinese tradition as a way of naming the years. The animals follow one another in an established order and are replicated every twelve years: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Every animal has particular characteristics and people born in a specific year are believed to take on these characteristics.

According to the Chinese Zodiac, the Year of 2010 is the Year of the Tiger, which commences on February 14, 2010 and ends on February 2, 2011. The Tiger is the third sign in the Chinese Zodiac cycle,and it is a sign of bravery.This courageous and fiery fighter is admired by the ancient Chinese as the sign that keeps away the three main tragedies of a household. These are fire, thieves and ghosts.

The year of the Tiger is traditionally associated with massive changes and social upheaval. Therefore, 2010 is very likely to be a volatile one both on the world scene, as well as on a personal level.

A very happy Chinese New Year to all my Chinese friends and Kong Hee Fatt Choy!

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We went to QQ Duck Specialist in Pelita Commercial Centre for breakfast today. This coffeeshop was doing brisk business because of its barbecue duck. As we parked our car, I noticed dozens of slaughtered ducks and chickens hanging on some railings behind the coffeeshop.

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After breakfast, we went to Bintang Megamall to do some shopping. There were huge crowds there and it took us quite a while to find a parking slot. On arrival at the main entrance of the megamall, we saw a lion dance competition in progress and I managed to snap a few photos before entering the mall.

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As soon as you enter the mall, you will immediately feel the Chinese New Year mood. You can see red almost everywhere. And Chinese New Year music fills the air…….oh ya, kong si kong si kong si ni!

Year of the Tiger

Year of the Tiger

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I saw a Caucasian lady browsing around the store selling Chinese New Year lanterns and decorative items. I thought she was just killing time browsing but I later saw her leaving the mall with a few big red lanterns and Chinese New Year decorative items. I guess she must have been gripped by the Chinese New Year mood too, haha!

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Chinese New Year is just two weeks away. This morning we did some spring cleaning in our house before heading downtown for brunch. After brunch, we went shopping at Boulevard Hypermart at Imperial Mall.

There are large crowds at the shopping malls and Chinese New Year music fills the air. You cannot help but be gripped by the Chinese New Year mood.

As my wife was choosing some potatoes for cooking curry during the Chinese New Year, I saw this potato that looked like it had a face…..but this potato definitely wasn’t in a Chinese New Year mood……its mouth was curved downwards as if it was angry or unhappy. I could not resist taking a photo of it…..my son said it looked like a tortoise head or o-kui-tow in Hokkien, haha!

Mr Tortoisehead

Mr Tortoisehead

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