Thursday, February 5, 2009

Kek Lok Si temple during CNY

Below are some photos of the magnificent temple and how beautiful the temple is when the whole temple is lighted up for 33 days since the 21st of January..I went there on the second day of the Chinese New Year and managed to capture lots of photos and you know what, I saw our beloved Chief Minister with his family.. The whole temple was so crowded with visitors and the scenery was indeed breathtaking and amazing. The glittering pagoda and the grand Kuan Yin pavilion could be seen some kilometers away just like a huge palace situated on the hill..230,000 light bulbs and 10,000 lanterns were lit in conjunction with the Chinese New Year celebration and thousands of visitors including devotees thronged the whole place, praying for peace and good luck as well as snapping photos for remembrance...

Lim Guan Eng and his family

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Thni Kong Seh

Thni Kong Seh @ 天公坛

The ninth day of the lunar calendar is the Hokkien's New year and it's the second new year for Penangites.. Again, fireworks could be seen all over Penang, celebrating the new year and obviously, the celebration is even grander than the Chinese New Year celebration.. As usual, annually, I'll go to pray at the biggest Jade Emperor’s temple at Bukit Bendera..I'm not a Hokkien but paying homage to the Jade Emperor has been a tradition to all the people here.. Thni Kong in Hokkien means Jade Emperor.. Sugarcane stalks and other Chinese traditional cakes and roasted pork are some of the prayer offerings to the Jade Emperor..

The origin of this tradition is as below:
For the Hokkien community, the most important time of the 15-day Chinese New Year celebration is the eighth night and ninth day, which is their liberation day.

According to the ancient tradition, hundreds of years ago, people of the Hokkien province in China were under bondage to some demonic forces and didn’t have the opportunity to celebrate the Chinese New Year for years until one year, on the eighth night of the lunar new year, when the Jade Emperor of Heaven came and liberated them.

During the cosmic battle between the Jade Emperor and the demonic forces, the Hokkien hid in the sugarcane plantations.

Following the victory over the demons and their liberation, the Hokkien people came out to celebrate the Chinese New Year for the first time in years.

They wanted to give thanks to the Jade Emperor and also honour him on his birthday on the ninth day of the lunar new year but didn’t have anything to worship with. So, they used sugarcanes as their offering to the Jade Emperor.

From that first worship ceremony, they continued with the tradition of using sugarcanes to thank the Jade Emperor on the eighth night of the lunar new year.

This tradition is closely observed by the Hokkiens of Klang, Petaling Jaya, Penang and elsewhere in Malaysia.

Taken from The Star

Below are some photos of the temple and people offering and paying homage to the Jade Emperor in conjunction with HIS birthday :

My Old Friends....

Introducing my old friends.. From the left : Eng Bin, Jin Song, Yee Sheng , Me

Wah.. It's been a long time d I didn't meet you guys, almost 3 years d, missing you guys..

Penang Heritage Enclave CNY celebration

Penang Heritage Enclave CNY celebration was held annually and this year it was held on the 8th of the the First Month of Lunar Calendar.. I didn't get the chance to visit the event but I did get the chance to see the amazing fireworks which was set off at 11.55pm sharp.. It was so fantastic and colourful.. I really enjoyed it and below is a clip of the fireworks I captured on that night..

As I didn't attend the celebration this year, I've taken an article from The Star describing the event and it sounds so grand and special..

Taken from The Star
Tuesday February 3, 2009
Explosion of Chinese culture

THE Penang Chinese New Year Cultural and Heritage Celebration 2009 at the heritage enclave around Armenian Street was a massive success, with tens of thousands of people from all walks of life turning up to witness a plethora of cultural and heritage showcases.

Visitors to the 12-hour long celebration were greeted by an ornate archway as well as a Wang Niu (Prosperous Bull) polystyrene sculpture shimmering in brown and yellow.

At the main stage on Cannon Street, visitors and VIP’s were treated to multicultural dances, cross-talk shows, lion dances, classical song and drum performances, and an acrobatic display.

“Such a celebration showcasing our cultural and living heritage is very meaningful, especially after George Town’s listing as a Unesco World Heritage Site.
The main stage at Cannon Street featured many colourful cultural dances and musical performances

“It’s part of our efforts to promote George Town and give an insight into the traditions of various Chinese clans, among them the Cantonese, Hokkien, Hakka, Teochew and Hainan,” said Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng in his opening speech.

Over at the Khoo Kongsi, a showcase themed Wushu City highlighted Chinese martial arts. Exponents performed lightning quick moves, much to the delight of the audience.

They also enjoyed a Pekingese lion dance, a dragon dance and Qi Lin and Qi Gong performances.

“It’s amazing, the performances are so colourful and diverse. There is so much we have never seen before,” said Australian Wesley Cooke who brought his whole family along.

Former Penang Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, who rushed from Kuala Lumpur to attend the celebrations, was given a warm welcome by the public when he arrived.
Youngsters demonstrating the art of Chinese Diabolo juggling.

“Since the Cultural Celebration was first held in 1999, I haven’t missed any, and I don’t intend to,” he said.

Armenian Street was the site of the Hokkien City which showcased a traditional Hokkien Wedding Ceremony demonstration, a Hokkien Glove Puppet show and a traditional Nan Yin Opera show.

Complementing these were several dance and musical performances that kept many visitors engrossed. Others were seen admiring the traditional operatic costumes and God of Heaven display.

At Ah Quee street, a traditional handicraft showcase drew scores of curious onlookers, all fascinated by the skill and finesse of local craftsmen. Mini-figurines of Chinese warriors and cartoon characters, made of a special powder mixed with water and then hardened, were a hit with the children.
Visitors to the Cultural and Heritage Celebration 2009 watching the process of making "Nian Gao".

Other crafts included a traditional facial treatment method using a string, wood carving and joss stick making.

Further down, at a section themed Canton City, visitors were entertained with a Kwang Tung cuisine demonstration, a Cantonese pop song performance as well as a traditional opera performance.

The Hainan City at Soo Hong Lane showcased its traditional cuisine, song and dance. Visitors took part in a calligraphy contest and there was an aromatic Hainanese coffee auction. Scores of local vendors sold tempting Hainanese treats.

The Penang Youth Centre at Acheh Street was turned into a Hakka City with its own mini archway. Songs and dances were performed below it, highlighting Hakka culture.

Further down, the Malaysia Cultural City showcased a giant mural depicting the heritage buildings of George Town.

The Teochew City at Chulia Street showed a traditional wedding ceremony and held a puppet show and a pottery and bamboo exhibition while at the Poh Hock Seah temple, people were engrossed watching glutinous rice flour ball and mooncake making demonstrations, with a lucky few getting to sample the sweet treats.

There was also an exhibition highlighting traditional Chinese festivals such as Jade Emperor’s Day, All Soul’s Day, Hungry Ghost Festival and the Mid Autumn Festival.

The festivities were capped off with a spectacular five-minute fireworks show that lit up the night sky.

Also present were Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas, his consort Toh Puan Majimor Shariff, Indonesian Consul-General Moenir Ari Soenanda and Japanese Consul-General Hideaki Hoshi.

CNY Family Reunion Treat @ CRC

Shark Fin soup

Lao Yu Sheng

Me and Christine

It was Christine's family reunion and I was invited to be together. The reunion dinner was held ar CRC (Penang Chinese Recreation Club) on the 6th of the first month of Lunar Calendar.. Though the next day is the 7th day, tht day, I did have the chance to taste Lao Yu Sheng, so nice as it was the first time in my life to "Lao" together happily, shouting out all the wishes and "Lao"=toss as high as possible.. The 7th day is called Ren Ri or "Everyman's Birthday" and the action of tossing the mixed chinese salad dish would bring prosperity and longevity... The detail of Lao Yu Sheng and the origin of it could be obtained from

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Penang State CNY Open House

Thousands of people from all walks of life thronged Campbell Street for the CNY celebration open house hosted by the state government on the fourth day of the first month of Lunar Calendar.. Rows of red lanterns and light bulbs could be seen hanging across the whole street, welcoming the year of ox, a year full of challenges and surprises…

Traditional cakes, cookies, dim sum, mandarin oranges were given out to the people at roadside.. The whole environment was so amazing and the entire street turned into a sea of people…Besides, a spectacular lion dance performance was held at the junction of Campbell street and Penang Road and all the amazing stunts and dancing skills were portrayed to the public. The lions were prancing and jumping from pole to pole accompanied by exciting drumbeats…

“Cultural extravaganza” - The best to describe the State CNY open house at Campbell Street Penang. Taken from the Star

Free drinks like Milo and Nescafe were provided for the visitors and heaps of live singing and traditional singing packed the whole street… Another highlight of the event was the dragon dance by a team of children.. So cute and the skill of dancing they showed was so amazing.. Furthermore, about 9pm, the VIPS arrived.. Our Penang Governor, Penang Chief Minister and other VIPS came passing by sitting on beautifully decorated trishaws, wishing the people “gong xi gong xi”… The whole event was fantastic but to me I think it was over crowded d and we couldn’t even move, especially the area in front of the stage, as this open house was firstly held on the street instead of large field at the Esplanade..

Campbell Street Festivities

Stage Performance

CNY Friends Gathering @ Town Steamboat 火锅之家

At my house

Playing Cards together

Concentrate, dont look at us, be natural..

Wah.. Chung Ling guys

Kay Chuan & Chong Wei

Han Yue & Wei Liang

My Dear Friends

Did I eat that day?

My Old Friend Chong Wei

Min Yu, Christine, Theng

Yea, smile... ^_^

CNY Family Reunion Special Dish

Hakka Yong Tao Fu

For the past few years, my family reunion would be held outside, having dinner at restaurant.. This year again is a special year as we had our reunion at home, every family member prepared a dish for the reunion dinner and it was so special as I could try out a more variety of dishes..My mum prepared a dish called Hakka Yong Tau Fu and it was one of my favourite dishes. The ingredients of this special dish are “Xia mi”, tou fu, chilies, brinjals, bitter guards and so on… It was really a fantastic dish.. It might look familiar to the Yong Tau Fu sold at Hawker stalls but homemade one is always the best…

2009 CNY Eve

Happy Chinese “Niu” Year to everybody! On the right is a photo taken during the CNY eve at the 16th floor of my apartment.. Though the economy crisis is plaguing our country, this year CNY, fireworks (illegal) still could be seen all over the night skyline in Penang particularly.. But, I think, the Hokkien New Year on the 9th of first month of Lunar Calender would see more fireworks as Hokkien clan is the majority in Penang.. Boom boom boom… 5 minutes before the new year of ox, The explosion noise of “Hong Pao” started to dominate the night serene..Almost every house particularly in Air Itam district started to set off the fireworks and new year songs at max volume could be heard all over the place.