Chinese New Year Eve 2014 in photos

drying out fireworks

My partial fireworks and firecrackers drying out. It helps with moisture absorbed during transport and storage. This is going to be set off at night!

reunion dinner

The reunion dinner! That’s my grandma in the middle and my aunties flanking her. The food is home-cooked, some of the items e.g. the yam balls are made from plants she grows herself!

longevity noodles

We Henghuas eat longevity noodles tossed in lard instead of rice. She also told me a funny story about her raising pigs when she was in her teens (some 70 odd years ago) and giving the pigs a *bath every single day*. Haha!

isabella fortuna scotch

I broke open a new bottle of single malt Scotch whisky – this is a traveler’s exclusive by Old Pulteney – the second release of Isabella Fortuna WK 499 edition.

gambling

The obligatory gambling session with my cousins where I lost about RM 100. I always lose every year, I don’t particularly mind since all of them are younger than me. I have a limit since I’m always the banker and we have rules like triple payouts for Blackjack that favors the players.

mom josiah

My mom, sister and nephew (he was soooo sleepy when this was taken) is back home! She’s been having a real hard time with late stage lung cancer and have been battling it for years so it’s good to have her here and smiling.

cny eve fireworks

The good people of Sibu always puts out a good fireworks show during Chinese New Year Eve!

Here’s a video of what it looks like 10 minutes before midnight! I also let off a string of firecrackers midway into the clip. I’ll upload the full midnight scene later. Happy Chinese New Year 2014 everyone! I’ll share a good wish I got this year. You need to understand Hokkien though. :)

May everything you do be Horsay, everything you eat be Horjiak, every friend you have and make be Horpengyou, everyday you live like a Horliday, and let 2014 be a year of Hormia in this Year of the Horse!smirk

CNY 2013 reunion dinner!

firecrackers

I always have my Chinese New Year reunion dinner at my grandma’s place. It’s just our family and my grandma with a few aunts eating some great home cooked food.

I traditionally also let off a string of firecrackers before eating. :)

reunion dinner

I love the hearty Heng Hua dishes that my grandma and aunts cooks – it’s what I ate during my formative years and I’m very fond of chai bo (a preserved vegetable), the sea cucumber + razor clam mix and the pork + chicken stew.

cny 2013 reunion dinner

Here’s everyone! My grandma is the one to my left, my mom is on my right. The chick that looks like me is my sister, who flew off just now headed for New Zealand. My dad is on her right and that’s Kara, my niece, on her left.

I also brought along a Bushmills 10 year old single malt whiskey from Ireland for drinks. Almost finished the bottle, it’s a lot more fun drinking like this.

bushmills single malt

My cousins all came later – this is also a tradition of ours, I’m the banker and we played Blackjack and later a crazy version of Baccarat where there’s no edge to the house (me). My uncle was telling me I was doing it wrong. Haha! I don’t mind, all of my cousins are younger than me and I want them to win.

I lost a few hundred from our gambling session (which I actually have to budget my losses each year coz I do stuff like giving extra payouts for audacity e.g. hitting up to 5 cards and not busting in Blackjack) and everyone went away happy.

Happy CNY everyone! Gong Xi Fatt Chai! :D

CNY gambling – stack of 100 x RM 1 notes

blackjack

It has become a tradition that we have dinner at my grandma’s place on Chinese New Year eve before everyone plays blackjack. My uncles used to be the dealers when I was a kid but as that generation passed on, I’ve become the dealer and all my cousins come over to my grandma’s house to play.

stack of money

It’s small stakes only, just to pass the time until about 11 pm before I get ready to let off the firecrackers and fireworks. Thus, I ended up with this stack of 100 x RM 1 bills. I exchanged RM 100 for this and it’s in mint condition and still has the band on it.

serial number

You can see the start of the serial number – ACJ7895101

rm1

…up to ACJ7895200 – exactly 100 pieces of RM 1 notes.

cny gambling

I also had a special jackpot giveaway where you can automatically win RM 20 from the dealer (that would be me) if you get “2012” e.g. three cards – two 2′s and a 10. It’s all for fun, just money changing hands.

I only realized I’m up by RM 13 when I went to exchange the notes for proper ones.

Happy Chinese New Year 2012 everyone!

10:30 am

firecrackers for chinese new year

Setting out the fireworks and firecrackers for tonight to dry out in the afternoon sun for the last time. Yes, this actually has a logical basis behind it. I’ll explain some other time. Heh.

3:00 pm

Went to see Ah Beng The Movie – a Malaysian production. It’s a Chinese New Year movie, wanted to catch one before the reunion dinner later. Anyway, the ticketing counter wrote Cineplex 2 on the stub and we waited until 3:10 pm and finally went to ask at the counter if the movie’s starting.

It turns out it was at Cineplex 3. The person made a mistake. I complained and the person at the counter gave us RM 7 tickets instead of RM 9 – got RM 2 each back and got the RM 7 “movie night” tickets instead. I was pissed off coz I hate missing the start of movies but that’s the best they could do. Oh well, that’s Sibu for you.

It’s CNY eve so it was good to catch a CNY movie. :)

5:45 pm

I’m about to head out for the extended family reunion dinner. I’m bringing some Chinese firecrackers along, it’s a tradition to let it off before the dinner. I can hear my neighbors already – the sound of firecrackers going off is almost unbroken, everyone starts burning the long Chinese fireworks before the CNY eve dinner.

My dad filmed me playing with this old skool traditional triangle shaped fireworks. It’s called Judas Belt in the Philippines when it’s in a long string, but we get single ones over here – the Chinese name translates to “triangle firecrackers”. I do not recommend you play with firecrackers like I do, I’m actually pretty blase about these things coz I’ve been letting them off for as long as I can remember.

The video is actually quite funny, you can hear my dad’s commentary. Heh.

6:30 pm

cny reunion 2012

The Chinese New Year eve reunion dinner! This is my grandma. I really like her. She’s one of those people that’s cheerful and jovial against all odds. Always love spending time with her when I’m back.

We’re Heng Huas and one cultural thing about the CNY eve dinner is that we don’t eat rice. We eat longevity noodles tossed with lard. It’s not the Foochow type where you eat it in soup – that’s actually totally not cool with Heng Huas coz eating soup during the reunion dinner is supposed to make it rain.

heng hua noodles

Heng Huas eat dry longevity noodles tossed with lard and some deep fried shallots for the reunion dinner. I love the stuff, it’s very flavorful and tastes good with the dishes. That’s one of my favorite on the plate – braised pork with fatt choy (it’s a type of bacteria, seriously).

I’ll keep on adding stuff until tonight!

Happy Chinese New Year everyone! :D

Chinese New Year Eve dinner

This is what I got for the New Year reunion dinner without the reunion today.

cnydish1.jpg

Honey chicken, kai lan in oyster sauce, sliced fish with scallops and ginger.

cnydish2.JPG

Steamed rice, garlic prawn and char kueh tiaw.

cnydish3.JPG

Magnum almond ice cream, Sara Lee Bites – frozen cheese cake and fudge brownies.

Mmm…I’m going to attempt to eat everything in a gross, disgusting and totally unacceptable manner. :)

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