Week 4: Gong xi fa cai 2017

Jan 27, 2017 — Chinese Temple at China Town, Singapore. Photo by NG.

I want to write something about Karl Marx for two reasons: First, I’ve been reading his works for quite sometime now for our theory class. Second, I feel that Marlon has been posting very serious stuff here and I want to compete with him. But… I got lazy. So I’m not going to talk about Marx. After all, this is our personal blog, right? Since blogs are defined as “a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style,” I believe that it is much better to write about my recent thoughts about some events or people.

Last night, our very cosmopolitan soci cohort (Suraj from India, Shy from Sri Lanka, Susan from Taiwan, Soontree from Thailand, and Me from Philippines) decided to go to China Town for Chinese New Year’s countdown. However, we ended up not going to the countdown because we realised that it will be difficult to go back to the university as hundreds of people will also go home the same time. So we went to have dinner, to visit two temples (Chinese and Buddhist), and to just observe around how people celebrate.

Usually, in Manila, we celebrate by going to our own China Town where most typical Chinese-Filipino families reside. Chinese restaurants are everywhere since locals are running it as family business. We also wear red shirt because owners of stalls and food shops give freebies and discounts to customers in red. The most popular way of celebrating Chinese New Year is by eating tikoy (sticky sweet treat) with family or friends because it is said that doing so will make your connections tighter and stronger.

Yet last night, I noticed that only few people in China Town are wearing red. These few people are not even Chinese! They are Western tourists who are also celebrating and waiting for the countdown event. Most of them are holding DSLRs and taking photographs of the scenario. Anyway, I even saw several Western kids wearing red traditional Chinese clothes. Kinda weird for me but they look cute! I also saw a lot of Indians visiting their temple and also celebrating with their families. Everyone seem to be happy and excited for the next year. This is a unique experience for me because people of different race are getting along with each other, smiling, and eating together without any fear of being discriminated or whatever by other people. What a very relaxing ambience.

The part of this NYE celebration that I loved most is, ofcourse, the food! I was overjoyed and satisfied after we ate food from different stalls. I would want to have a crab or lobster but it is too expensive. So we had squid satay, chicken wings, noodles, spicy mussles, and beef bbq. I fell inlove with the squid!!! I cannot contain my happiness last night!

Today, Pildoo and Jiyoun invited us for CNY dinner in their house. This Korean couple is so kind and sweet! They said that Yuan Hao and the others have been there for several times before but only for pizza and drinks. So technically, we are the first visitors that they cooked dinner for! I liked the beef bulgogi and sticky rice soup so much I even had second serving for the latter. They served sweet rice balls, cookies, chocolates, and fruits for dessert too. I was so full!

They shared with us how they met each other and how they ended up in Singapore. We also talked about their plan of having a baby soon and we are looking forward to taking care of their baby in the graduate room. Yehey for a PhD baby! We then planned to go out next time, maybe back to China Town to have a food trip or maybe somewhere else to have a picnic and play some sports. We missed our Chinese/Singaporean locals (Weining, Yanan, Peng Sing, Shao, Eddie, Kail Lin, Jiangeng, Xuejiao, Emmie, and Yuan Hao) who are all in their family reunions and were not able to join us for dinner. I am so looking foward to our CNY celebration with them this week.

And so it ends here… My first CNY away from home is a cosy and memorable one. Thanks to all these lovely people from different parts of the world.

♥ NG