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!

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.

Coconuts, pineapples and otak

[Warning: Very very very long post with mucho mucho pictures.]

Barely a week after our crazy dinner involving 7.5 hours of travelling and only 30 minutes of eating, the Goonfather made me go on another road trip.

But this trip was more interesting because the drive there was as much of an event as the planned activities. This time, we went in a procession! Seven Mazda RX-8s driving to Muar (little town near Malacca) together.

Yeah, I know the picture only has six cars in a row. But see the lonely red car at the opposite side of the carpark? Part of the group, too. I don’t know why the driver (very pretty lady) decided to be the odd one out at this particular rest stop.

Incidentally, she was also very late for the meetup. So the guys, faced with the prospect of a long wait (meeting time was 7 am, she only arrived at 8.30 am), did the only thing guys do in such a situation: admire each other’s car engines.

I will never understand how guys can stand around all day staring at car engines and talking animatedly about them. But then, they will never understand why I need so many pairs of shoes, so I guess we’re even.

Kind of.

I still don’t understand.

Women are more sensible.

They don’t need to stand around a bunch of tubes and cables to have a good conversation and are well-equipped to entertainment themselves anytime, anywhere, under the sun, which was incidentally very glaring, even at 7 am.

Very, very hot day.

When we finally set off, the journey was unexpectedly fun. I had planned to sleep during the drive (which I estimated would take over an hour) because I only had a few hours of sleep the night before.

But entertainment come in the form of a little blue gadget and threw all my sleeping plans out the window.

Each car was equipped with a comms unit, which was how we communicated. Driving single file, the leading cars relayed important information to the cars behind.

“Pothole on the right. Keep left, I repeat, keep left.”

“Clear for overtaking after motorcycle.”

“Big roadkill middle of road. Gross!”

“Major bump coming up. Please slow down.”

“Dead cat on road shoulder left.”

“Someone sing a song or something. I’m bored.”

Unfortunately, most of the conversation came out garbled. I don’t know if it’s because the Goonfather’s unit is lousy. Or the reception is bad at larger ranges. Most of the time, all we heard was “Zzzblppzz raaaar raaar raaar zaza graaaaaaar!” especially when people spoke too fast and too loud.

So I entertained myself by taking pictures through the widescreen.

Here’s our procession. We had five cars in front of us at this time and I managed to get a good view. I had to prop my camera on the dashboard and wait till the road curved so I could see all the cars.

We got to Muar in no time.

First stop (not counting a quick breakfast at a rest stop along the way) was this famous temple supposedly popular with many Singaporeans.

The weather was very, very, very hot. Hotter than before. We took refuge at a coconut stall after we were done with temple activities.

But it was still too hot. I was drenched in sweat by the time we got back to the car. Rare event, because I hardly sweat. Not even when I work out at the gym. The only times I sweat buckets are after one-hour jogs in the open.

I took a photo of my sweat-beaded cleavage because it’s so rare to see so much sweat form there, but the Goonfather says I can’t post that photo up.

Oh, well.

So, we went on to have lunch.

Muar is very quaint. It’s like a giant kampong. The two words I would use to describe Muar are “Green” and “Dusty”. The roads are dusty but everywhere else is green.

The guys found a whole stretch of green near the lunch place to park their cars. Managed to get a picture of all seven cars in a row, yay.

Lunch was at this place called Restoran Merlin.

It’s also supposedly a very famous place popular with Singaporeans, although I’ve never heard of it. There are pictures of Singapore celebrity Zhong Qin eating at the restaurant, as well as newpaper articles, plastered over one wall.

It was very, very crowded. We had to wait for a seat (Well, we did have almost 20 people) and then wait for the food.

I think everyone enjoyed their food, but it was only okay for me considering the hype. Maybe because I was totally not hungry, having had a nasi lemak breakfast only like three hours before.

Back to the cars after a very filling lunch.

And back on the road.

We were driving behind this white RX-8 when the Goonfather pointed out that something was written above the “Mazda”.

Hahaha. Apparently, one of the guys had finger written it when the owner wasn’t looking. Is Muar really so dusty? Or is it the owner never wash car for too long? Haha.

I’ve zoomed in and upped the contrast so you can see the writing.


The expedition leader took us to this very ulu place next. After winding through lots of dusty little roads and alleys, we finally came to here.

The general consensus was a resounding “Errrrrr….?”

“Bring us to construction site for what?”

We followed the leader into the madness, past the construction and delapidation and we came to…


What a delighful place!

Another famous place. What an educational trip this turned out to be!

There was this old uncle and auntie couple selling frozen otak from their house. I think maybe they’re suppliers, because they didn’t flinch when one of the guys ordered 70 boxes.

Each box is only about the size of my hand, but 70 is still a considerable number. We had to wait for ages for uncle and auntie to pack them up.

And here it is. Phat lewt! OMG.

In contrast, the Goonfather bought this gimpy little bag’s worth. Hahaha.

And then, it was time to head home with our fishy spoils, but first, a petrol stop.

We totally owned the petrol station.

The journey home was nice because I finally managed to get some sleep. But halfway through, we ran into a torrential downpour, which woke me up. And visibility was so bad we had to drive at below 80kmh for a good long time.

But it was a great trip on the whole. Very fun, even though I didn’t know anyone apart from the Goonfather. It was my first time to an outing with his car forum friends. I didn’t talk much to anyone, but they were all nice and friendly people, so it was cool.

We brought a giant pineapple home! The Goonfather was worried about it along the way because it kept rolling about in the boot during the drive home. We kept hearing “klonk!” from the boot.

But it got home nice and safe. Phew.

Afterword: The otak from that funny ulu house is AWESOME, so spicy and fragrant and very chunky meaty. Now I know why that guy bought 70 boxes. I think the Goonfather’s gonna buy 200 boxes the next time we go there. Haha.

I hear there’s gonna be another road trip to other Malaysian locations soon, involving many many more cars. OMG can’t wait. But I’ll need to buy a straw hat or something to keep from being barbequed alive. Maybe a parasol.