Wash your car now!

Let’s get all our cars sparkly clean for Chinese New Year!

The Goonfather just went and got Makkuro washed at my friend’s car wash setup, hehe. (Yes, we painted Makkuro pearl white, he’s no longer black.)

My friend, Isaiah, with his crazy bunch of friends, are washing cars tonight from 11pm to 3am. ALL PROFITS WILL GO TO CHARITY.

Car Wash

Car Wash

That’s Isaiah doing the tyres, haha.

It’s open to everyone. Just drive to 963 Upper Serangoon Road. (It’s behind Punggol Nasi Lemak coffee shop.)

Car Wash

Tell Isaiah Sheylara sent you! Go go go and happy Chinese New Year to all! Be prosperous and healthy and all that! =)

(Remember, only open from 11pm tonight till 3am.)

Update: Forgot to add. The car wash costs $6!

Cows at the temple

Animal activists might cry foul at this and I suppose I do feel a little sorry for the cows, but I can’t deny that I was quite delighted to see cows at the temple.

Cows at the temple

This photo was taken last Sunday night at Loyong Tua Pek Kong, where me and my friends went to start our Chinese New Year celebrations.

A pair of cows were brought in to usher in the Year of the Ox. (They do this every year, bringing in different animals each year.)

The temple was so crowded this year I almost hyperventilated.

The above photo is the only clear one I managed to snap of the cows before the crowd pushed in and blocked my view.

Cows at the temple

I think they were a bit traumatised. I mean the cows.

Loyang TPK

The crowd totally owned me.

The smoke from the joss sticks, too. I couldn’t stop crying.

Here’s the God of Wealth by proxy:

Loyang TPK

We kinda missed the deitifying ritual because it started early this year. It was total, total madness. Here’s the queue of people waiting to shake hands with the God of Wealth:

Loyang TPK

I didn’t hang around inside for too long. For some reason, there was no concert and no countdown this year, like they have every other year. So, after paying our respects in the temple, we escaped outside to eat ice cream.

That’s my favourite part of the celebrations every year. There’s always at least one ice cream man outside the temple selling traditional “home made” ice cream, the no-brand kind we used to eat when we were kids.

After the temple visit, we went to watch Ip Man at VivoCity.

Ip Man is really, really good. I never used to like Donnie Yen but now I do, although I think his hairstyle in the show is super dorky.

Ip Man

I feel the urge to learn Chinese martial arts all over again. Except I still don’t have the time to. =(

The movie ended at 4:30 am. I went to bed at 6:30 am. Fell asleep maybe 7:30 am.

Slept all the way till 3 pm!!

Haha. Did my first CNY visiting at 5:30 pm.

Except for the temple visit, CNY this year is pretty quiet for me.

Nine more days of Chinese New Year to go!! Still got chance to collect ang pow!

Happy CNY!

By the way, tomorrow is 人日, which is supposed to be everyone’s birthday. I can never understand this concept, but who cares. It’s the day when we are supposed to celebrate by eating yu sheng. Anything that involves yu sheng works for me!

So, happy birthday to you and me!

Shaking hands with the God of Wealth

This year, like last year, we welcomed the new Chinese year by counting down at Loyang Tua Pek Kong.

It was so very, very crowded.

It was so crowded we had trouble finding a spot to place our offerings.

(There were like two or three other tables like this, all full.)

It was so crowded we had trouble finding a spot to stick our candles in without burning our hands.

At first, I felt a little weird taking photographs. It’s a religious place, a place of worship, after all. But then I saw these men standing on stepladders taking photographs and I felt better about it.

The temple had its own still camera and video camera crew documenting the entire celebration.

The celebration was really huge. There were performances all through the night.

As it neared midnight, more and more devotees started flocking to the outdoor area to crowd around the stage, awaiting coundown.

A smaller motley group crowded around the God of Wealth (also called God of Prosperity and God of Fortune) but their eyes were turned towards the stage.

And then it was countdown time and then midnight and then fireworks!

Once countdown was done, everyone flocked to the God of Wealth.

Joss sticks were distributed to every person and we all stood there and waited.

I think we waited about 45 minutes or an hour, just standing there while monks chanted.

And then there was a commotion and the God of Wealth’s statue was showered with golden confetti. The lions started dancing.

And the dragon.

Apparently, the God of Wealth had arrived, but I didn’t see him.

We were then allowed into the ceremony area to stick our joss sticks into the urn, bathe ourselves in holy smoke, and throw coins at the God of Wealth’s coins.

The giant coins stood at the foot of the statue and people flocked there to toss their own coins at the coins to make awful clanging sounds.

And then it was suddenly over and everyone flocked elsewhere.

But then, just as sudden, a queue formed where my friends and I were still standing, trying to recover from the overwhelming festivities.

This is no ordinary queue. This is the longest queue you’ve ever seen.

The picture above shows the tail end of it. It covers the entire outdoor area at the back of the temple.

It snakes into the roofed compound.

Without knowing what it was for, the Goonfather joined the queue. I decided to go investigate to see where the queue ended and what it was for.

I followed it into the roofed compound.

It went right through the central compound where people do their praying and worshipping.

I had trouble taking photos in there because it was too crowded. The queue was fighting for space with other worshippers who were going about their usual business with joss sticks and offerings.

So I stuffed my camera into my pocket and tried to push my way through the congestion. I finally emerged outside, triumphant, thinking that I would finally get to see what the queue was all about.

I was mometarily blinded by floodlights outside the temple, but when my vision recovered, I saw that the queue was still extending out further than I could see.

It went out into the main road and curled around the temple’s perimeter, then snaked into the compound again through a side entrance.

Will it never end??

The queue led back indoors, back into the worshipping fray, where it nearly joined the first leg of that queue that was fighting for space with worshippers.

With my trusty camera, I followed the queue up a cute little bridge.

And then, finally, I found myself at the end of the rainbow.

So, where’s the pot of gold?

There’s no gold.

But there’s something better.







Ok, well, he’s actually human, but he’s dressed in the God of Wealth’s costume and, supposedly, he has the spirit of the god in him through ritual, or something like that.

So, once you’ve reached the end of the queue, you were able to buy a lucky golden coin ($2 only) from the “god” himself and personally shake his hand to receive his rich blessings.

How cool is that?

It took me almost ten minutes to investigate the queue and run back to the Goonfather to report my findings.

“You’re going to be stuck in the queue for 20 years,” I said. “It goes all the way outside the temple, around it, then back in again.”

He said, “Okay.”

“I’m going outside to eat ice cream.”


I went outside with Elyxia and Wang Wang to get some ice cream while we waited for the guys.

Ten minutes later, the guys came out.

“You gave up?” I asked.

“We cut queue,” said the Goonfather.

“How??????????!!! Can YOu???!!!!”

“Wahahahaha,” he said.

What he did was buy this lucky package from the stalls set up inside the temple.

The package consists of two mandarin oranges, a prosperity cake, a lucky pendant and a lucky golden coin (the same coin that everyone was queueing up to buy). His package cost him $10, but he figured paying more was better than queueing up.

AND he got to shake the God of Wealth’s hand by just going up to the man-god from the side and asking, “Can I shake your hand?”

So the Goonfather got his handshake and his lucky coin without queueing up.

He was mighty pleased about it.

I was pleased with my ice cream.

Need more ice cream!

The annual Chinese New Year rant

The most stressful time of the year is upon us again.

It really is very stressful.

All the preparations that have to be made way in advance:

  • Buy new clothes and shoes and handbag
  • Buy new towels and bedsheets
  • Buy snacks and bak kwa and drinks
  • Spring clean the house
  • Wash the car

We’re talking about the Chinese New Year, of course. Buying new things and cleaning the house is supposed to bring good luck in the coming year. The snacks are for feeding the hungry hordes of relatives that will troop endlesly to your house in the 15 days of the Chinese New Year.

Fortunately, not being head of the household, I’m exempted from some things. Like preparing food for reunion dinner and buying mandarin oranges and decorating the house with too many red-coloured items. I just need to take care of myself and my own bedroom. And whatever snacks I buy I eat myself. BWahaha.

But I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to buy new clothes (or anything else for the matter). As a last resort, I’m wearing something I received as a Christmas present which I haven’t even tried on yet.

But we did get bedsheets. The Goonfather dragged me to Aussino a few weeks ago to pick out our CNY bedsheet and quilt cover.

I suggested getting this diabetically sweet, girly pink quilt cover, thinking that the Goonfather will bop me on the head for even considering that he will deign to lie on something that’s gonna make him look like a pouf.

But he said, “Okay!”

Wow. That was pretty shocking.

So we got it, and a lavender bedsheet to match.

Ironically, the quilt cover is shopping themed, which only serves to heighten my stress over not having anything new to wear on the first day of the Chinese New Year.

The feeling is like when you didn’t study for an important exam and you’re hoping the day never comes. Every hour that ticks away adds one more butterfly to the pit of your stomach.

I spent the entire day cleaning my room today when I could have played PotBS instead. What a waste of time, but it had to be done.

To tempt me into buying CNY clothes, the Goonfather had promised to subsidise me $200. But I still never made it to the stores. Now you ought to believe me when I say I’ve been insanely busy.

No rest for the wicked.

After reunion dinner tonight, we’re going to Loyang Tua Pek Kong (Chinese temple) to usher in the new year and mob the God of Wealth together with thousands of other people hoping for some of the god’s wealth to rub off on us.

After that, we’re going to hang out at someone’s house and stay up as late as possible because some Chinese believe that, the later you stay up on the eve of the new year, the longer your parents will live. It’s not logical at all, but since when has tradition ever been logical?

After a night of not sleeping because you want your parents to live forever, the morning starts early with visitations, during which you’ll meet long-lost relatives, relatives you don’t know the names of, relatives you don’t even know are relatives, relatives who force you to eat up all the cookies and bak kwa in their houses, and relatives who ask you the same questions every year, when all you’d rather do is go to sleep on their couch because you haven’t slept all night.

There are people who actually love all this and look forward to it every single year. I really want to know why.

Or maybe not.

Kiasu Singaporean wannabe

Still in the spirit of Chinese New Year, I decided to do another CNYish thing: Buy a Hongbao Toto ticket.

This will be the very first time I’m buying the Hongbao Toto so it’s an event for me. Besides, I need to get a ticket for the Goonfather if I want him to win $10 million for me (since he’s not free to go queue up).

I decided to go to this Toto outlet in Yishun, listed in the Singapore Pools website as the top winning outlet in Singapore, having produced something like 18 winning tickets in all.

Yes, there are some theories on how winning outlets get that status only because stupid people like me flock there in the hopes of getting “luckier” tickets. This increases the outlet’s sales, which in turn increases its winning chances.

Balls to that, I said.

I want to be where all the kiasu people are!
I want to soak in all the kiasu CNY atmosphere before CNY ends!
And I am very prepared to queue up for it in true Singaporean fashion!!



Where the heck did all these people come from?

This was 3 pm.

You all don’t need to work one ah??

Here is what the queue looks like from a bird’s eye point of view (not to scale):

I gathered, on a very modest estimate, that there had to be at least 200 people in the queue. Maybe 300.

I really underestimated Singaporeans. I had expected maybe 50 people in the queue. The Hongbao toto is on sale for nine days altogether, so I thought the queue would be reasonably spread out over nine days, and over the thousands of outlets in Singapore.

But it seems like the whole world decided to buy tickets from this particular outlet. No wonder it keeps producing winning tickets!

Of course, the Hello Kitty queues in the year 2000 were much, much worse. But I make allowances for that because those were once-in-a-lifetime kitties. $10 million? Pfft. You get a chance to win that every single year. Big deal.

Anyway, I didn’t join in the queue. It was simply too intimidating.

I wouldn’t have minded if I could have read a book while queuing. I’m perfectly willing to stand around for hours waiting for nothing as long as I have a good book.

But because Singaporeans (especially Toto-buying ones) are a superstitious lot, I was afraid the people around me would give me the evil eye for doing an “inauspicious” activity while standing in the fortune line with them.

(For the benefit of my non-Chinese readers: “Book” in Chinese is “shu”. And “shu” also means “to lose”. So any word sounding like “shu” is automatically inauspicious.)

I had consulted the Goonfather early this morning.

I said, “Later when I go queue up for Toto, do you think if I read a book while queueing, the other people in the queue will keropok me?”

His reply was, “Why you wanna do such a thing?!?!?”


So I didn’t bring my book and I didn’t get in the queue and I didn’t buy my ticket to win $10 million.

I think I shall forget about soaking in the kiasu CNY atmosphere. Looking at today’s queue was plenty enough atmosphere for me.

Tomorrow, I will just go buy tickets from the most ulu outlet I can think of.