It's 12 midnite and I'm listening to the sounds of firecrackers going off from a distant neighbourhood marking the entry of the New Year for the Chinese. My kids had planned to stay up for the fireworks but had fallen asleep just a couple of minutes ago. Now it's left to mama and ayah to enjoy the show from the bedroom window.
I love festivals. And I also enjoy observing my friends celebrate their festivals. I love seeing the excitement on their faces as they talk about going back to their hometowns in Setiawan or Alor Setar. Or seeing the frowns on their faces as they describe the usual nightmarish journey they have to endure travelling during the festive season. Or how about the serious discussion among friends on how to get the melt-in-your-mouth-to-die-for shortbreads@samprit? Now doesn't that sound familiar?
When I was a child, I recall visiting my late father's good friend "Uncle Chap-Gee" every Chinese New Year. We would go to his house, year after year until we moved to KL. And being sensitive to our culture and religion, Uncle Chap-Gee would make sure he only served us food which we could eat. And for a little girl of 9, getting the customary angpau was a definite bonus. The act of visiting is reciprocated during our Hari Raya too. Uncle Chap-Gee would always come to our house on the second day of Raya and I love hearing this jolly old man talk about golf, shopping in Singapore etc as he tucks into my mom's delicious laksa Johor.
Like many, I agree that festivals can help to foster good relationships among the races. What better way to learn about one's culture if not through festivals? Today, from my colleague Miss Tan I learned that the yee sang ceremony is more for people in the business field. And from the 2 students who gave me a mandarin each, I learned that 2 mandarins are better for me as "there is balance" in my life ( I hope I got that one right).
As I walked into my F5 class today, I was greeted by a very festive decoration put up by a member of the class. The bright red paper streamer was individually cut and assembled by a girl, who had taken 3 days to get it done. It hung across the ceiling and gave the class a festive air indeed. Perhaps more colouful paper streamers will adorn the class come Hari Raya and Deepavali. Who knows.
Forever in favour of harmony in diversity