Sunday, February 10, 2008

Chinese New Year activities

Image from Chinese New Year 2007 -- ang pow-laden tree
at the Hainanese (aka Hainan) Temple, Penang

Another Chinese New Year 2007 image -- this one of festive lanterns
at another Penang temple
(situated in Air Itam
but not, and far smaller than, the Kek Lok Si!)

Happy Chinese New Year once more to this blog's readers -- this not least because, as I've assured A Changing Life's a. over on the previous Chinese New Year-specific entry's comments thread, Chinese New Year officially lasts for fifteen days and nights (culminating with the (Spring) Lantern Festival on the 15th night)! ;b

Unfortunately, however, modern-day employers are most reluctant to allow employees 15 days off during Chinese New Year, even in places like Hong Kong. So tomorrow will see me returning to work for the first time since last Tuesday. Still, as I look back, I must say that I've managed to jam in quite a few fun activities and experiences over the past few days. Among the highlights have been the following:-

1) On Chinese New Year eve
2008 as well as the first day of its release in local theatres, I checked out Kung Fu Dunk. And maybe it's because I went into my viewing of this Chinese New Year movie with rather low expecatations but I found myself enjoying the basketball-themed dramedy quite a bit more than this year's other big Chinese New Year movie. Sure it's got its not particularly logical moments but, heck, it's the most coherent piece of work directed by the usually seriously insane Chu Yen Ping I've seen. And I really did find it pretty entertaining as well as -- courtesy of a combination of great special effects and action director Ching Siu Tung's superb-as-ever wirework -- visually impressive.

(For all this though, I still expect the Stephen Chow helmed
CJ7 to emerge as the season's box office champion -- if nothing else, because it's showing on far more cinema screens and had a six day headstart over the Jay Chou starrer! Also, maybe it's on account of my being a film reviewer myself but I feel that the folks behind Kung Fu Dunk didn't help the movie's cause by not scheduling a press preview of it or inviting the press to its premiere (held, more than by the way, on CJ7's opening night!); for this way, many people were getting suspicious that the movie was so bad that even its backers feared that it would have been lambasted for sure by the critics...)

2) On the First Day of Chinese New Year, I did what I've done on more than one Christmas Day in the USA: Spend at least part of the day out hiking! Believe it or not, tramping from Wan Chai Gap to Wong Nai Chung Gap on a crisp wintry day was quite the exhilarating rather than bone-chillingly miserable experience; and this not least because the exertions helped warm my hike companion and I up quite a bit -- so much so that at one point, while going uphill, we found ourselves having to mop up some sweat from our brows! ;b

3) Also on the First Day of Chinese New Year: Indian dinner at the Taj Mahal Club in Chungking Mansions. Yes, well, who said I was going to go for the traditional way to celebrate and commemorate Chinese New Year?! The thing is that I honestly had expected more Chinese-run restaurants and other establishments to shut down for the holidays than has been the case. So when I made a date with a friend to have dinner, I thought of a place that I figured would have a strong chance of being open on the First Day of Chinese New Year and... ;b

4) On the Second Day of Chinese New Year, I actually partook of a couple of more customary Chinese New Year activities. Firstly, I happily accepted an invitation from a (Hong Konger) friend to visit her home and spend some time with her family. Secondly, I invited another (Hong Konger) friend over to my abode for the first time. Then, in the evening, I accepted another friend's invitation to go out on a boat to watch the Chinese New Year Fireworks Display from the middle of Victoria Harbour! (Re that last experience: The cold and boat movements made it so that it's not one I'll want to repeat any time soon. However, it's nice to say "I've done it" at least one in my life!)

5) On the Third Day of Chinese New Year, I went on another hike! This time around, it was along a 10.5 km trail up in to the Plover Cove Country Park up in the northeast section of Hong Kong. The tramp from Wu Kau Tang to Sam A Chung and Sam A Tsuen, then close to completely back again before heading southwards a bit to the Bride's Pool -- was quite a bit longer -- and tiring -- but, truthfully, so much more wonderful (in terms of such as what's on view) than the one I went on two days previously. All in all, would really like to highly recommend this trail for pretty much anyone who ever decides to go hiking in Hong Kong! (And before anyone asks: Yes, I took photos and, like I said to one of my hiking companions (cum reader of this blog), I can see there being at least three photo-essays to be got out of them! ;b

6) And on the Fourth Day of Chinese New Year, she rested for the most part...! Nonetheless, still did something festive in nature this evening: that is, go out for a dinner -- complete with roast goose, char siew and 1000 year old eggs! -- at the venerable Yung Kee with family friends visiting from Malaysia. But what with the party largely composed of people who are on the, um, mature side, some of them were actually starting to think of bed before 9pm!

Consequently, I've been able to get back and finish this entry that I hope is interesting enough in terms of giving readers a good idea of how at least one ethnic Chinese -- but not completely culturally Chinese -- person has spent Chinese New Year thus far away from home (but closer to the ancestral motherland than she's ever been at this time of the year)! :)

P.S. Should anyone wonder, I most certainly did not go hiking during Chinese New Year 2007. Also, I didn't really bother to check out any fireworks displays in Penang. On the other hand, I did quite a bit more visiting -- and collecting ang pows/lai see! -- relatives and family friends, and being visited by other relatives and family friends. One other thing I miss this year that I've done the last three years that I've been in Malaysia is hang out with a couple of old school friends way past midnight.

All in all, about the only activity that I partook of in roughly equal amounts in both Malaysia and Hong Kong has been... to watch Chinese New Year movies! Chalk this down to my being the movie nut that I am; or the Chinese New Year movie tradition being that strong and pervasive in both lands... ;b


the teach said...

Ytsl, HAPPY NEW YEAR! All the best to you and yours! :)

the teach said...

Ytsl, I've tagged you for "Six Unimportant Things About Me" at my blog: Answers To the Questions You don't have to do it if you don't want to. :)

YTSL said...

Hi "the teach" --

Thanks for the New Year's greetings and I know I don't have to but still am going to give your meme a go. :)