The 2012 Chinese New Year firecrackers and fireworks roundup!

fireworks roundup

Yes, it’s that time of the year again! :) This is the annual Chinese New Year fireworks and firecrackers roundup for 2012. There’s a lot of quirky fireworks this year – gift hampers, old firecrackers which I haven’t seen for decades and fountains which goes up over one and half storeys high! :)

cake fireworks

Sibu has a fine selection of retro firecrackers and fireworks this year. However, the ever popular multishot fireworks cake barrages are the most prevalent and there are multiple places selling it openly…in the morning, despite the massive RELA and police presence due to the recent murders. Well, that’s Sibu for you. :)

All Chinese to English translations kindly furnished by my dad.

Chinese firecrackers (RM 100)

chinese firecrackers

We have here one of the old skool Chinese firecrackers – the extremely noisy ones than produces massive amounts of smoke and tons of red paper.

12kg firecrackers

This weighs 12 kgs and is unique in the sense that it has a large firecracker braided *on top* of two rows of smaller firecrackers, making a formidable stack of 3 in the string.

chinese fireworks roll

However, I can’t bring myself to use the word “smaller” with this since even the smaller firecrackers are about 6 times the size of Shun Lee Hung firecrackers.

chinese firecrackers roll

See the grandma walking past? She was followed by a woman who told her in Hokkien “Ah Ma walk faster, he’s letting off the big firecrackers.

…and being the neighborly sort I told them not to worry, I’ll let them pass before I light it and CNY greetings were passed. That’s the spirit! :)

I was standing quite far away (about 2-3 meters) coz my dad was holding the digicam and I had to walk back to him, but some of the firecrackers went past me, showering me with Chinese New Year cheer (and the possibility of grave eye injury). I like!

smoldering firecracker paper

It was still smoldering on the ground after it finished its barrage. I let this off on the morning of the 1st day – woke up early just to do this. :D

Fireworks cake barrages / repeaters

fireworks cake repeaters

These are the aerial firework barrages which comes in a “cake” configuration. It has several tubes which launch the projectiles into the air. It’s very popular in creating a sustained barrage (which is why some people call it that) of aerial fireworks and depending on the artisan’s imagination, can range from being mundane to impressive.

However these things has two major flaws:

1. Susceptibility to wind conditions

It is advisable not to let these off during high wind conditions. The initial propellant that shoots up the shells sends it from 75 – 150 feet (depending on the primer). However, the aerial shot itself is quite light and wind can send it in a totally unpredictable direction (usually diagonally) and limit its apogee, which can be quite disastrous. I’ve seen one send shots that explode 12 feet above and let me tell you, that is quite an experience since it’s supposed to go off 10 times that distance.

It had us all watching nervously and asking if anyone has a fire extinguisher and telling cars not to pass.

fireworks exploding

2. It can explode on the ground if poorly constructed

I actually wrote an article about it. One of my firework cakes exploded on me.

Despite those flaws (everything has a downside), firework cakes are probably the greatest invention since sliced bread in pyrotechnics. :D

Beautiful Mountain and Rivers (RM 220)

20kg fireworks cake

This 2 feet long, 68 shot beauty comprises of multiple artillery barrages that has mortar sizes ranging from 3” to 1”. It produces a rather nice finale and it’s this year’s crème de la crème of fireworks cakes in my stash – it even beats the more expensive ones above with the fanning effect (angled mortar tubes).

fireworks cake launchers

It was at the stroke of midnight that I let this one off so there is a lot of competition from other sources. However, you can see the effects of this aerial barrage quite well. :)

The finish was amazing, I love the “sparkling rain” kind of effects for an ending.

Well worth the RM 220 I spent though as you can see this class of fireworks barrages is not exactly meant for you to see (the optimal viewing angle is too high) so maybe if you live down the street, you’ll appreciate it more.

Celebration (RM 35)

fuse

This is a fast 36 shot fireworks cake barrage. It’s simple, effective and quite awesome. It sends up to 6-7 aerial shots in a row up which explodes in a burst of color up in the air.

It’s over in a few seconds but classic. :)

Glowing Beautiful Woman (RM 25)

barrage fireworks

This 200 shot baby is quite impressive despite the small mortar tube size and height. It’s 1/9 the size of my largest fireworks cake and it’s easy to dismiss this wonderful piece of carefully arranged barrage. Fireworks cakes are like flower arrangements…the mediocre ones are blah but the good ones is a work of art. This is the latter.

200 shot fireworks cake

It doesn’t go very high but has a nice mixture of spinning whistlers, star bursts, and sparkling rain – it’s quite fantastic. I bought several of these and I’m glad I did.

It’s well worth the price, I’m grabbing more next year if I see it. Highly recommended!

Stepping Up (RM 35)

This one is representative of the general small fireworks cakes. It would be nice if it didn’t blow up on the ground though.

Stepping Up was the multi-shot fireworks cake barrage that blew up on me. I had to pick up pieces from 25 meters away.

Prosperous Family

repeater fireworks

I don’t know the price to some coz it was a gift or a throw in after a large purchase. This is one of them. The retail price should be around RM 35-40. It has a variety of different effects and launches it quite high up – you can tell from the size of the fireworks cake and mortar tubes.

I like the part in the middle where it “fans” out the aerial shots and the ending. Nice.

…and yes, we let off the cakes in the middle of the road in Sibu, which is why you shouldn’t drive on CNY eve at midnight. All the locals know that but just in case you’re visiting, be home by 11 pm or wait till 2 am. :D

Fireworks gift hampers

fireworks gift package

This is another unusual development this year. It’s priced at RM 85 and comes with a smorgasbord of fireworks – mostly directed towards children.

fireworks gift box

There are:

The total price of the items inside exceeds RM 85 commercially. It’s quite a good gift for kids, and it has a lot of nostalgic fireworks inside. I like the variety and there’s even one multi-shot cake/fountain inside.

Fountains

fountains

This is a typical example of a fountain. It’s a small tube about the size of a salute (e.g. Thunder King) that you set on the ground and light with various effects.

The color on top of the fuse shows what it’s going to look like.

Desert at Night

desert at night

I don’t know which category to put this in as it is quite atypical. It’s a fountain with very nice effects and it has 7 aerial repeaters built in.

Thus, you get a combination fountain and aerial shot cake. :)

Cone fountains

cone fountains

Violets and Crimsons

Pretty mediocre. This came out of the fireworks hamper and is the smallest of the fountains. It’s barely taller than my lighter.

Volcano (RM 20)

volcano

Very impressive. This retails for RM 20 for singles and it slowly shoots up to a very respectable 1 ½ storeys high.

It’s worth the display. :)

Soaring Spirit

I wouldn’t buy it myself but it came in the gift hamper. Interesting display.

Conic Fountain (RM 20)

conic fountain

I bought a pack of this for RM 20 – it contains 5 fountains and it’s supposed to have a different effect for each.

I found out the hard way when I let one off which is a plain fountain and another when my two year old niece was watching where it had loud reports. There is no sign of what you’ll get – you have to light it to find out.

Tube Fountains

tube fountains

Krakatoa Fountain

This cylindrical fireworks fountain has height going for it but ultimately only has one effect.

Butterfly Flower

It’s quite typical of a fountain, nothing to write home. I couldn’t find the fuse at first and just lit the entire paper on top before floundering around with it. I also used the tube for something else. More on that later. :D

Box Fountains

box fountains

Large Golden Flower

It’s quite mediocre.

Peach Flower in Spring

This is quite good actually! It starts with a screaming effect and just when you thought it was over, it keeps on going to another effect. I like. :)

Windmill / Spinners

spinners

Da Feng Che

da feng che

This is supposed to be attached to a stick but I broke the stick so I lit it on the ground. Haha!

wheels fireworks

Honestly, I’m not sure it’s even safe to put on a stick coz I vaguely remember accidents from my childhood from the wheel actually spinning off the stick and flying off due to the rotational speed.

One of the fireworks I played with as a little kid. It has a dual (single?) fuse e.g. the fuse burns simultaneously into *TWO* tubes. That’s the interesting bit.

Ground Bloom Flower

This US made spinner is a fast one with various effects and colors. It’s a typical example of a spinner. I liked it.

Salutes

Thunder King

crazy bang

There’s a new batch of Thunder Kings this year which is quite a bit smaller than the original ones. I made a loudest firecracker comparison.

Chinese firecracker

I wouldn’t call this a salute per se – it’s just one of the firecrackers that dropped off the roll. I’m just showing how large and loud it is compared to the typical Shun Lee Hung firecrackers. Old skool is gold skool. :)

Triangle Firecrackers

triangle firecrackers

This is very, very old school. It’s a simple firecracker that contains flash powder wrapped into a triangle shape – the construction is easy and you can get bags containing 100s for little more than spare change. There are some strange imports this year though – Triangulinor which is definitely not from China.

It’s loud and effective. Fun to play. I had some fun playing fireworks with the neighborhood kids with this and one of the first videos I filmed back home was with my dad above. That’s what Chinese New Year is about. Family, friends and fireworks!

Hope you’ve all had a great Chinese New Year! Gong Xi Fatt Chai everyone! :D

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44 thoughts on “The 2012 Chinese New Year firecrackers and fireworks roundup!

    • Yeah, this doesn’t even touch the tip of the iceberg. :)

      There’s heaps of fireworks and firecrackers every CNY! I try to stick to my budget or else I’ll be easily spending tens of thousands on them.

      I really love fireworks. :D

    • Yeah, it’s a pretty good example of a small multishot fireworks cake aerial barrage! :)

      I’ve had it in previous years, I just like how it goes fast, sending several up at once. RM 35 is the list price, I got it for RM 28.

      How much is KL prices?

      I was quoted once and it seems like it’s 10x more expensive than Sibu. We get Shun Lee Hung 3,000 firecrackers for RM 15 or less per box.

      Cheers and happy CNY Wilson! :D

    • It’s my favorite holiday of the year! :)

      CNY is best spent in Sibu, the fireworks and firecrackers we let off is quite impressive each year. There’s a photo floating around on Facebook showing the entire Sibu skyline from the bridge at midnight on CNY eve. Amazing. :D

    • Yeah, I lit most of the fireworks cakes on CNY eve. There were still a couple of small ones in the storeroom but it was mostly fountains, firecrackers and those loud salutes.

      Oh ya, you only saw the kids the first day, they came back the second day to play with more of my fireworks.

      Oh well, there’s always next CNY! :D

    • Thanks mate!

      Heh! I’ll always be fascinated with fireworks and firecrackers. My first memory was my dad teaching me how to hold a sparkler when I was a very little kid (before primary school) and the smell of black powder reminds me of those long lost days. It reminds me of a simpler time, of family, bonding and childhood. :)

      I’ll pass on this tradition to my kids too – I’ll try to get them interested in fireworks and firecrackers so that every CNY we’ll have something to do together. :D

    • Thanks Ellis!

      Haha! Unfortunately that won’t ever happen since fireworks and firecrackers are illegal in Malaysia. It would be interesting though eh? :)

      I noticed that there are a lot of different people importing a.k.a. smuggling fireworks into Sibu this year. There has always been two and they monopolize the market, but now I’ve been seeing smaller scale smuggling from smaller groups.

      It’s a good thing, there’s more variety – there’s even firecrackers from Venezuela! The triangle boxed ones, it looks the same as the one in the plastic bag (from China) but the paper quality is a bit different. :D

      Glad you enjoyed your CNY too!

  1. mad guy, that’s seriously a lot of fireworks you’ve been playing with this year. I love how the fire cracker got the floor red red ^_^ Gosh, reading your post makes me miss Chinese New Year T_T

    • I try to do that every year. :)

      It’s not the most – I remember one year when I was working in Kuching where I totally went crazy with the fireworks budget – I ordered in advance and had boxes of 3″ shells waiting for me in Sibu. I got a couple of 8″ ones to boot. I bought fireworks by the CRATE that year – even gave away an entire box of firework cakes to another shareholder in the company coz he has a little boy that likes it.

      That was the year I spent a lot on fireworks. Huge boxes filled with cake fireworks of all shapes and sizes, some of which cost thousands for just *one* fireworks cake.

      It was a fun year, I still have the photos somewhere in my blog. :D

      Yeah, I love the red carpet too but my dad hates it (coz when it rains it sticks to the ground and makes it all red) so it’s all swept into bags and thrown away the next day. You won’t believe how much paper that *single* Chinese firecracker made – 4 large garbage bags. :)

      I miss CNY too Nath!

    • Thanks Charmaine! :)

      It’s really nothing compared to some of my neighbors – now I know some of them have entire *rooms* filled with fireworks. The Chinese businessmen in particular do that every year – let off heaps of firecrackers and fireworks costing tens of thousands of dollars easy.

      I can’t afford to do that, but I love firecrackers and fireworks and I’ll always keep it a tradition, with my kids in the future.

      Hey, I’m ordering way in advance next year (which is actually a few months later) so I’ll get the fireworks at bargain basement prices when it gets smuggled in during the June/July period so I’ll get much more bang for the buck! :D

  2. I was very pleased with this place. I loved their multiple shots, they were beautiful! They also had great selection for the kids; as far as the small fireworks. Highly recommended!!!!

    • Fireworks and firecrackers are illegal but it’s sold openly in Sibu – in several places. :)

      I bought all of my stuff from a variety of sources – pre-ordered some fireworks, friends gave me some, bought some sold discreetly at the back of stores, got some at public displays (more expensive coz they have to pay off cops and gangsters) and mostly ordered it almost direct so it’s cheaper.

      I did a lot of last minute impulse buys after a deal for a box of 8 x 108 shot firework cakes fell though (it was a bargain basement price, but the last crate was sold before I confirmed). I’ll be early this year. :D

  3. HB, I guess you spent all your CNY money on fireworks. I spent mine on carnival games instead and won some prizes at it. Most also on eating yummy.

    • Haha! No I didn’t. I also bought two bottles of single malt Scotch whisky for my friends and also angpows etc. I didn’t spend that much on fireworks and firecrackers. I think it’s slightly more than RM 1,000. :)

      I used to spent way more than that in the past. I had one fireworks cake that was over RM 1,000 one year. :D

  4. HB, where do you get the glowing beautiful woman? first time i saw that. mind to share? Sibu dude here as well. Thanks.

    p/s: mail me if the contacts are not convenient to be shared here. Thanks

    • Hello Andy!

      Good to hear from a fellow Sibu guy. I’ll email you, that one I got direct, lemme ask the guy if he’s okay with that first.

      Hey, I’m ordering in June/July when they come in this year, so if you wanna save a bit, order at that time. :)

      Cheers bro! :D

    • Yeah, it was pretty good eh? The main thing is that it’s sturdy, with 3″ mortars so it shoots a larger star burst and it goes much higher.

      However, it doesn’t burn very fast and if you want a variety of fast effects, the 108 shot firework cakes in the second photo is better since it doesn’t go so high up you have to crane your neck to see. :D

    • Thanks mate! :)

      I love writing about this every single year. It’s my second favorite post to write every year (the first is of course the blogniversary annual roundup on April 19th). :D

    • Cheers! :)

      I’ve arranged so I can get fireworks and firecrackers for much cheaper by buying it when it gets smuggled in June/July – my friend kindly let me use his house as storage until I get back during CNY.

      There will be a better post with more fireworks and more of everything next year!

      Thanks for reading mate! :D

    • Yeah, we have some good stuff this year. The most impressive one I saw was a 625 shot cake unloading in less than 5 seconds. Intense. One of my friends let it off during his birthday on CNY. Quite a rare import since not a lot of people here go for short but intense firework cakes so the demand isn’t really there. :)

      I went to a preview party and saw that but they only had one left so I let my friend have it. :D

    • I love fireworks and firecrackers! :D

      It’s not a lot compared to some previous years but I’m buying it early this year so I can get more bang for the buck. It’s *A LOT* cheaper when you buy it in June/July when they smuggle it in.

      However, in order to do that you have to buy in bulk since they only sell in bulk since those are meant for resale but if you get a group of friends together, you can easily order crates. :)

    • Yeah, I expected more out of it too, but it does have height going for it – the large mortar size allows for a bigger primer charge and a larger shell so the aerial shots go up higher.

      I got two 108 shot firework cakes (second photo) which is pretty good too, I like the fanning effect. Not sure if this is the same ones as the RM 500 crate deal but I like the angled fanning effect.

      Yup, definitely go bigger next year! :D

    • Thanks bro! :)

      I really liked writing it too.

      Cheers for reading! :D

      I didn’t get any shells this year coz I couldn’t find my launcher. I’ll be getting them next year, I’m getting a new launcher made. Steel again, but no other option in Sibu.

      BTW, one of my friends had one shell blow up on the ground coz the steel launcher was soooo superheated after repeated launches that when he dropped the shell in, it ignited. Luckily no one was hurt. :)

    • Haha! Well, you’ll have enjoyed staying next door to me Eiling.

      I can be quite entertaining with the salutes in the middle of the afternoon and in the dead of the night. ;)

  5. Still believe in evil ghost spirits and must be ward off using firecrackers?

    Better use audio mp3 recording of firecracker sound and play it using loudspeaker

    You’ll save money, safe and definately scare off the ghost too

    My late uncle a Chinese told me ghosts are stupid entity and even try to blow off candle-shaped red light bulbs at temple altar not knowing it’s a fake candle

    So next year CNY let us see if Huai Bin use mp3 audio firecracker sound for playback

    Remember each firecracker bought contribute RM millions of easy money for gangster smugglers so stop buying firecracker and use firecracker mp3 audio playback instead!

    p/s. As for big fireworks well the technology is there to use huge laser hologram display projected into the sky…except the cost beyond reach but still worth money spent than give it to same gangster smugglers than supply all sorts of firecracker and fireworks alike!

    • Haha! I don’t believe in ghosts or anything supernatural. :)

      I don’t think most people do nowadays, except for the older generation or the super religious.

      …and as to when I’ll quit playing fireworks and firecrackers, the answer is:

      NEVER! :D

      It’s a tradition for me – my dad taught me how when I was a little kid and I remember the smell of flash powder and how fun it was, looking forward to it each year.

      I will pass that on to my future children too, teaching them to appreciate firecrackers and fireworks.

      Yes, I do know where the money goes to, but on a more pragmatic note, do you realize that firecrackers and fireworks were more expensive when it was legal? Coz of government tax.

      It is arguable whether that tax is put to good use.

      Of course, funding gangs isn’t ideal either, but they have multiple sources of income, and hey, if the government won’t let us buy fireworks and firecrackers legally, I’ll find some other way to get it.

      It’s economics my friend. Supply and demand. The government really should legalize it and tax it.

      I don’t believe in projections and sounds. It’s nowhere near the Real Thing (TM) with fuses, flash powder and the smell of fireworks. I’ll never buy crap like those fake firecrackers that churns out sound.

  6. Hey man,CNY is just a month plus away… So any suggestion of fireworks for 2013????? You can email me. I live in sibu and I’m a fireworks addict too;)

    • Hey bro! :)

      Glad to hear that! I would recommend daylight fireworks this year, they’re selling them in the market in limited quantities.

      It’s a good change from the night fireworks. Burst of pastel color powder but using flashpowder as the primer and the charge.

      Cheers and happy CNY! :D

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