All by ourselves…

It’s Chinese New Year’s Eve today – the Year of the Tiger, not that we are looking forward to it. We are keeping it low key and are celebrating it all by ourselves, just to keep the tradition and preserve our heritage more than anything else.

For one thing, I was quite pissed off by the authorities concerned in the state and the rules and regulations laid down as to how we should celebrate the festival – they will say one thing one day and something else the very next day. The people at national level sure made a mess that day with regard to the celebration of Thaipusam.

First, they said no lion dances would be allowed, plus all the restrictions for the reunion dinner and house visiting. Incidentally, they said open houses are not allowed but house visiting is permitted for family members only, the number depending on the size of the house, for just one day and then they changed it to two!. Pray, tell me, what is the difference between an open house and house visiting?

Eventually, they said lion dances are allowed, dunno if they said anything about dragon dances or not. You must put up the QR code at your door and people coming to your house must scan to check in…bla…bla…bla!!! Never mind! Say what you want, do what you want! We shall just do away with everything, no need for all that hassle, such a nuisance!!!

My missus did not make any cakes this year nor are we going to buy any since we are not having an open house plus I am on a low sugar diet. Having said that, this came as a surprise yesterday when my girl’s coursemate and friend dropped these kek lapis (layer cakes)…

…off at our gate for us for Chinese New Year. That was so sweet and thoughtful of him and his missus, the kind and generous gesture is certainly most appreciated indeed, thank you so so much! May God bless them and all their loved ones abundantly in the coming year.

Another surprise followed soon after when we received this kek lapis and a huge pack of muruku

…from my cousin, AhLek and his wife, Saliah who would send us things without fail every year. I heard just the other day that the two of them are in KL right now with their daughter there so I assumed they would not be giving us anything this year. I guess they must have asked their son here in Sibu to buy and send to us, thank you so so so much to them and their loved ones too and may God bless them abundantly as well in the year ahead.

My missus did make these kuih dahlia or kuih semprit

…though but they seem a shade darker this year compared to last year’s, probably because of the low GI brown sugar (we do not have regular sugar in the house anymore) that she used, and these Nestum cookies…

…that I do like a lot. Of course, I have to confine myself to just one or two pieces per day.

This is not fish skin…

– it is actually seaweed wrapped with popiah skin and deep fried. The ladies in the house love it so much – they gave a tub to my sister and she said that she finished it in one sitting, watching some drama on TV.

Every year, my missus would buy cashew nuts and toast them in the oven with butter added for extra fragrance. My brother-in-law likes them a lot so of course, she toasted some again this year… give to him and also to enjoy ourselves.

In the meantime, I went to one of the neighbourhood shops in the next lane and picked up this pack of pistachios…

…or as they are called in Chinese, happy beans/nuts (开心豆/kāi xīn dòu). I do enjoy munching on those and this brand is pretty good, the same brand as the canned corned beef that I always buy – I would buy it every year but goodness gracious me! It is now RM50.00 a pack. *faints*

Of course I did buy myself some bak kua (barbecued meat slices) to enjoy. I bought the nice one from Kuching that day but after that, I went for the ones from Loong Kee which, needless to say, did not come cheap but never mind! After all, it’s just once a year.

In the meantime, my girl’s ex-colleague from her former school in the jungle gave her two packs of these mala-flavoured ones…

…thank you so much to her. They are probably locally-made and yes, I do think they are pretty good, slightly spicy and more inclined towards salty, not so sweet.

We still have a bottle of the nyonya acar (pickles) that my missus made

…that day but we have finished off all the keropok (prawn/fish crackers) that I fried…

…so my missus went and bought two more packs and fried all of them and kept them in an airtight tin. So far, we’ve been very good – we have not touched them yet. I guess it will be gone soon enough, eventually.

No, I did not bother to do any spring cleaning nor did I hang up any lanterns nor take the trouble to decorate the house, no new clothes, no new bank notes, nothing! As you can see, it is going to be a very quiet Chinese New Year this year.