Friday, September 16, 2005

Nostalgia (or my primary school descriptive essay)

after the 7th lunar month passed (the last day i knew when, because the other temple "zhi du an" where the ashes in urns are kept near here, was all lit up), i have been eagerly awaiting the mid-autumn festival. i've been "checking out" the moon, to make sure i don't miss this specialest of all chinese festivals to me.

last night the moon looked like it was nearly going to be round. so i asked R, when is the mid-autumn fest? she didn't know, but she told me, "phone got lunar calendar, can check!"

i thought about all the 中秋节's that i've spent.

the year 2002, i went round chinatown, taking photos with W, K, Ron, "old man" and a couple others. We met this gentle, meek-looking old lady there. She was sitting on the steps at the market, and her manner reminded me so much of my maternal grandmother. Ron challenged me to take a photo of her.

So i thought, the only way to get a good shot of her is not to try snapping without her noticing, but to let her know that i wanted to take a photo of her. i started talking to the people who brought her there, and they told me that she lives in an old folks' home, and that once a year, they would take her out for a walk. i tried to have a chat with her, but unfortunately, my knowledge of the Cantonese language is nearly next to zero.

She was really nice about the whole thing, and even posed for me. (will put up the shot once i get my file back from T.) The nice ladies requested that i sent a copy of the photo to them, and also said that this might be the last time they were taking her out because of complications at the old folks' home, her age, health, etc. it made me quite sad. i sent the photo to them, but i didn't hear from them after that.

W, K and us ended up going to the playground at Jalan Kayu near K's parent's after, taking photos of kids whose mission was to make sure every candle was lit and replaced . Funny they thought we were from the newspapers, and wanted a copy of the pics. when we got home, NAB put out candles all around our front porch. 'twas really quite beautiful and surreal at the same time. (by this time, it was nearly 5 in the morning.)

and then there was the year we spent it at Yv's place drinking warm sake. Me, NAB, Yv and Boko stepped out into her garden to shang(3) yue(4).

the year of the dragon, 2000, NAB's mum visited and we (my family included) took her to the Chinese Garden. there, i took this pic with my Lomo camera.

that was a great evening that ended with us at Cecilia's pub at Marina South, where we lit all our paper lanterns and hung them up around where we sat, until they caught fire. it was funny because the staff had already prepared a bucket of water for this "accident" we were all waiting to happen. good company, probably more drinks than we should have had, and a good laugh!

when i was a kid, this was THE DAY of the year. even more so than christmas or my birthday, and definitely more so than Chinese New Year. every year, i wait for my grandparents to bring me home my lantern, and add them to the ones from previous years. (in those days, they were made out of the clear translucent coloured paper, not the batteries-operated shit you get now.) we'd sit around drinking chinese tea the proper way and eat mooncakes and pomeloes. then when the adults were ready, we'd go downstairs and hang all the lanterns onto the trees. (yes, fire hazard. hence the BOS now. but we never once managed to set a tree on fire.)

i guess you can't ever replicate or hope to experience again a child's sense of excitement and adventure. but the sadness felt, as a child, when your lantern catches fire, that remains.

so now, here alone in this apt, i am wondering: how will i spend it this year?


At 17/9/05 03:46, Blogger Tym said...

And here I thought it was just this year that the Mooncake Festival seemed to be a big deal... That shows how woefully uneducated (culturally speaking) I am.

At 17/9/05 05:35, Blogger  said...

i think its only because my dad's family is super chinese.

my cousins from my mum's side didn't celebrate it.


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