Yee Sang. from matrianklw on Vimeo.
So, after discovering (or rather, re-igniting) my passion for cam-whoring and the plain joy of taking photographs, you could bet I just couldn't wait for the 2nd day to take off. As long as traditions go, the 2nd day of our new year is allocated for the maternal side of the family and I was sure it wasn't only our family who kept the tradition alive, seeing that all the aunties and uncles were there alongside with the whole troupe of cousins. The long portrait above pretty much sums mom's siblings up. Being as Malaysians as we are too, what other better things to do when gathered at such an auspicious day but eat and drink? Frankly though, the new year's eve and new year's day itself have been reserved for reunion dinners and lunch with amah (paternal side), so the gathering on the 2nd day is like another version of a reunion
Lion Dance '08 from matrianklw on Vimeo.
This year, splendidly enough, apoh managed to arranged a lion dance troupe to grace her home with and to help her usher in the new year and on the 2nd day too! Usually, these troupes couldn't be bothered much to your preferred time and they'd just drop by whenever they can since ours wasn't the only home to be "graced" but apoh somehow managed. I've forgotten though, why we didn't have one last year. Or did we? But anyways, the lion dance was a blast, despite the fact that it wad dancing in the small confines of the apartment. I mean, c'mon, we even drew neighbors and passersby to watch - though it still remains a mystery if their attention was caught by the beating of the drums or the euphoric screams and yells by us cousins. Nonetheless, I had loads of fun recording it on video, instead of sweating my ass off, trying to figure out various ways to avoid the lion dancers' path and still get good still shots.
As traditions are concerned as well, after all the devouring of Hakka (mom is Hakka) Chinese New Year dishes and unnecessary yelling at the lion performance, we'd dutifully visit far-off and almost-forsaken/deserted relatives. The reason being, we only do that once every year and as I said, almost like a tradition already. Even the relatives themselves look forward to our presence. It's pretty apparent from their relief uttering of phrases like, "Wah, this year you all so late only arrive!" or "Wah, I thought you not coming this year lah!" Of course, they only converse in Hakka with apoh. Of course by far/distant/almost-forsaken/deserted, I was talking about houses on top of hills and deep in jungles where electricity comes from a generator, activated only for a few hours in the night and where water source comes staright from the mountains and where daily trips to the market require patience and physical fitness that most city folks don't possess. Still, we've been doing this as far as any of us can recall and thus, every year, we look forward to it - although, I still doubt the sincerity of some who curse under their breath when we have to hike up the rest of the way where vehicles can't access. =P
Fast Drive Down The Hill from matrianklw on Vimeo.
Boom from matrianklw on Vimeo.
And of course, after collecting the red packets and after reaching the point where we've empty out multiple boxes of cold drinks (understandable after the tiring hike under the scorching sun), almost finishing a wide variety of Chinese New Year cookies and delicacies laid out for visitors and leave the jungle with resounding explosions from firecrackers, we part farewell and turn back to mindless, insensible, vain and narcissistic cam-whoring.
And here, I would like to introduce Ai Ai, our so called "aunty" according to the family hierarchy, whom after all these years of growing up together, we barely address as aunty. We kind of reached a mutual agreement that to add the address of aunty in front of her name would be tremendously speed her aging process and increase our awkwardness between her, given that she's my age in real life. Thanks to us, now she still looks her age! Of course, from time to time, we do remind ourselves of her status in the family tree through minor jokes we make, especially, when she gives advice - "Oooh! Hail, the aunty speaks!" - stuff like that. Now, the one reason we're all so fond of her is because she's cool with us and our antics. I mean, she's the one who can accompany us till the wee hours of dawn during a sleepover, she's the one who loves shopping trips with us and visits to the movies (she's a good companion for horror movies, by the way!) and she's the one who gets our jokes and the one who cracks jokes! It's truly a wonderful thing to have such a close relationship with someone of a higher level in the family tree. Oh, and did I mention, her real name's Eva (glamorous, ain't it?) - Ai Ai's just stuck with us since we were children.
Below is my favourite shot of the day. It was so random, so pure, so joyful. Photographer: ME.
P/S : I'm aware that the are quite a number of videos and it might take some time to load. If you're patient, then wait. But if you aren't, just make sure you don't miss out the 2nd (cause it's fun to watch!) and the 4th (cause it's just really short) videos. Oh, the 3rd video is just to illustrate my point of having relative who live in remote areas of the island.