Wednesday, January 28, 2009
The lovely night scene taken from the balcony of brother's apartment
Jasmin, at the playground of Wista Ria Condominium
Sister-in-law's green fingers
Reunion dinner in Penang
I am glad that I had already done so much travelling in the past. I have to admit that now, with my constant imbalance and dizziness caused by my chronic ear problems, I am less inclined to travel. However, I try to make it a point to visit my hometown once a year. This time I brought along my tenant, Jasmin, who is from India and and has never visited Malaysia before.
I have many relatives in different parts of Malaysia too. I like to visit during Chinese New Year because it is this annual event that brings family members together.
In Penang, most of the local ladies are excellent cooks; hence Penangnites often celebrate the Reunion Dinner in the comfort of their homes. My sister-in-law, Saw Kim is an excellent cook and there is the usual sumptuous Nonya cuisine spread on the table.
I enjoyed going back to visit my beloved relatives, especially my brother and family and another relative, Aunty Giam. She is now in her mid eighties, and because of her stroke, this sprightly lady can now walk short distances, though she used to run around during her healthier days.
There is also my beloved cousin Nancy whom I love. She is a natural story teller and often holds her audience spellbound with her narration. There is always laughter when Nancy is around for she makes everyone laugh.
Although I was back for only five days, the time was very well spent. In my next article, I will share with readers on some of the great places we had visited.
I realise that taking a short break at least once a year is vital for us to revitalise and refresh ourselves.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
An antique photo of Grandmother.
I always envy my friends who still have grandparents around with them. When I was born, all my grandparents had passed away. I only realised the discrepancy when my classmates would address their grandparents when I went around visiting. I remember I had asked papa why I did not have any grandpa or grandma.
Hence I decided to also address my classmates' grandparents as "Grandma and Grandpa."
During Chinese New Year, I would also holler, "Grandma and grandpa, keong hee huat chye!" (Hokkien, meaning Wishing you prosperity!) Elderly folks often take delight in warm greetings by youngsters. You can imagine the number of red packets I collected every year.
Recently, during my visit to Penang during the Chinese New Year, I shared with my guest from India, Jasmin, whatever little I knew about Grandma. How Grandma was a nonya, and was often well groomed as she was someone very conscious of her looks. Just then, my Sister-in-law, Saw Kim, showed us a very old photo of Grandma which she had salvaged when she moved to her new condominium.
"Note Grandma's hairstyle and special pins for her Nonya outfit. In those days, the ladies did not use buttons. Some of these pins could be made of solid gold, adorned with precious stones like rubies, diamonds, sapphire or jade."
I looked at Grandma's photo and noted I had a slight resemblance to her. It was not surprising that some people had mistaken me to be a Malay, Thai or Filipino.
I often asked questions about the Grandparents that I had never seen. I was told that papa's mother was gentle and kind, and that papa took after her. In contrast, my maternal grandmother was shrewd and stern.
Sometimes when I heard people complaining about their grandparents, I wished they could be more appreciative ....that their parents could still be around. It is ironical that we tend to miss something when we do not have it or when we lose it.
Otherwise, most of us tend to take things too much for granted.