funny fireworks

I know, the title sounds like it’s straight out of “Spambots for Dummies”. Haha! I couldn’t think of a better description though. I’ve been going through my fireworks videos recently – uploading, tagging and sorting them so I’ll actually get my annual fireworks and firecrackers roundup done in time this year when I saw this gem.

firecracker sweep

It happened a couple of nights ago when we strung up 3 strings of long firecrackers and set them off *at once*. Of course, by ‘we’ I meant the spryer young men. smirk

lighting firecrackers

One long 39,0000 firecracker string was pulled up alongside 2 x 3,000 firecracker strings and all of them were lit at once with a sparkler. It’s something we’ve done more recently since it puts up quite a nice show.

However, this time the guy who went to light the fuse did so rather slowly and was jumping around while trying to avoid the firecrackers, which were popping all around him, yet *determined* to finish his mission of lighting every string before he ran away.

I hope that makes your Monday morning as much as it did mine! :D

waterproof firecrackers

It’s the firecrackers de jour for these two years (at least for experiential or cost conscious buyers) due to the fact that it’s very cheap. It’s the exact opposite of the 39,000 head firecrackers which cost upwards of RM 150 – this is a short, semi-traditional string of firecrackers that everyone can afford.

ssb888 firecrackers

These are RM 10 each and it’s marketed as waterproof firecrackers. That’s due to the *wax red paper* wrapped around the entire length of the string of firecrackers, protecting it from the elements.

888 firecrackers

It’s perfect for lion dance performances since it can still be lit if it rains and it’s not as explosive as the 39,000 head firecrackers, which have been known to injure performers.

wax paper

These waterproof firecrackers are 8 feet long and as a bonus, the red wax paper also tears up as the firecrackers go off, adding to the festive and auspicious red paper mess. It’s unusual to have firecrackers being sold by length (8 ft) instead of “number of firecrackers” format e.g. 3,000 firecrackers, 39,000 firecrackers etc.

8 feet firecrackers

I noticed that there are a lot of unexploded ordnance when compared to other firecrackers. There’s bound to be some but this is a bit excessive. I took a video and thought that this happened coz I forgot to remove the cardboard backing, but that’s not the case.

firecrackers waterproof

I somehow lost the long Visco fuse (long green fuse) and had to light this with the fast fuse but it turned out alright. The wax paper doesn’t tear consistently when the firecrackers explode – this is the fourth string that I’ve let off and all turned out this way – but you really can’t complain for the price.

These “waterproof firecrackers” also lasts a very long time (almost 30 seconds) since it burns slower, despite being only 8 feet long, in contrast to the fast burning 39,000 head firecrackers – it’s a selling point for some people, but not for me. I like my firecrackers to go fast and furious!

firecrackers banner

However, you really can’t argue with the RM 10 price tag and it also has a small explosive finish with an auspicious couplet bearing banner inside (which is unusual at this price point) and I let it off just before it rained twice – it really can be lit even in mild showers! smirk

Here’s what my hometown looked like during CNY. It’s the stroke of midnight during Chinese New Year 2014. The symphony of noise and light has been going on for the entire night…and now reached it’s *peak*!

Short Mention:

Warning: Pyrotechnics galore! :D

I always have problems videoing the CNY fireworks coz it’s very hard to get the auto-focus done right through all the sudden flashes of light and the blinding clouds of smoke. I used my Sony Xperia Z1 to do it and I was extremely pleased by the results! It does a wonderful job at focusing quickly when I pan the smartphone around and the audio is awesome too!

I couldn’t believe my Xperia Z1 records better fireworks videos than most of the cameras I’ve had in the past. The video is a bit long but I provided two (2) coz I know there are people who love seeing the annual fireworks show the people here put out. It’s absolutely superb this year, you’ll see everything from 388-shot fireworks cakes to 12” aerial fireworks shells with new breaks!

P/S – Remember to switch to Full 1080 HD when you record the videos – that’s how I recorded it. :)

jewel of the nile

This is the first fireworks post of Chinese New Year! Well, it’s close to CNY anyway. I found this fountain / cake hybrid at the local market at a list price of RM 28 each. It’s called Niilin Jalokivet (Jewel of the Nile) and the quality of the packaging is like none I’ve seen before!

finland fireworks

The wrap details the optimal viewing distance (30 meters), minimum viewing distance (10 meters) and even how long it lasts! It says to *expect 20 seconds* of fireworks from this tall fountain and aerial repeater from Finland. I found the amount of information very impressive.

finnish fireworks detail

I got this at the local market. I’ve always found KL to be a bit dry in terms of fireworks and firecrackers compared to my hometown of Sibu. I managed to get 2 of this for RM 30, making it RM 15 each. There are firework cakes (multi-shot aerial barrages) listed for RM 780 (!!!) which I can get for RM 250 in Sibu.

fireworks in kl

I also saw the cheap generic 8888 Chinese firecrackers (usually RM 8 – got some during CNY eve) which doesn’t have the finish and sheer girth of the RM 200+ premium Chinese firecrackers selling for RM 25 here. The stuff here is 3x the price of what we pay in Sibu retail stalls (comparing apples to apples).

niilin jalokivet fireworks

I just wanted to let it off for my better half though, since CNY is coming soon, so I lit one across the road and another one closer to the house, which toppled. Luckily the Niilin Jalokivet doesn’t shoot up very high – 12 feet at it’s max.

There’s a center tube acting as a fountain and 8 + 2 tubes surrounding it which shoots up balls of flaming fire and whistling sparks respectively. It reminds me of the smaller version of the popular old perennial Desert at Night.

fireworks tubes

It’s not too bad, but we’re used to paying much lower prices. It was still a good find though, the fireworks display was pretty awesome, especially the first one I let off, which didn’t topple over halfway. Haha!

niilin jalokivet

I just let it off last night after dinner. I always feel like Chinese New Year is around the corner when I start playing with fireworks. :)

chinese firecrackers

This is a powerful multi-layered braided string of 39,999 traditional Chinese firecrackers – it’s huge, with lots of powder and chalk, which produces tons of red paper. I strung them up around the gate like a snake yesterday for the 7th day of Chinese New Year.

firecracker

It’s really, really loud. I was standing about 1 meter away and I could feel debris and chalk flying right past me.

Anyway, after my ears stopped ringing I suddenly heard a cat’s pitiful mewling.

Puzzled, I looked around.

No cat.

We searched and searched and finally isolated the mewling to a corner with our temporarily deaf ears. Me and my dad thought it was coming from *inside* the air conditioning unit.

air con

We spent a good 10 minutes trying to pry it open coz the cat sounded like it was trapped inside.

I kept looking in too but I couldn’t see the cat.

My dad went in to fetch a suitable spanner to undo the lugs while I tried to see how the cat could have gotten in but there are no openings.

…and then my dad happened to look up.

firecracker cat
(cat)

Yeah…

We were crouched down and looking inside the air conditioning unit so we never thought it was coming from above. Besides, our hearing was shot.

stuck cat

I think it’s a stray that was walking from the backyard when the firecrackers scared her and in a burst of adrenaline, she somehow managed this amazing acrobatic feat that she couldn’t extract herself from.

I had to get her down.

petting cat

Nice cat, wish it stayed but she haughtily stretched herself and left after I petted her a little and the ordeal was over. Ungrateful. Hmph. action

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

shun lee hung

Shun Lee Hung firecrackers are the most common type of Chinese firecrackers around town but it’s usually sold in a 3,000 firecracker configuration.

shun lee hung firecrackers

I got the much rarer small box thrown in with a purchase and was drying it out just now when…

rain fireworks

…it rained. :x

fireworks rain

I decided to let a string of these small firecrackers off since some of them got soaked.

They went off alright but due to the close proximity, it *ignited* another string of firecrackers in the box. An act worthy of a Darwin Award mention – I did it so close to my entire fireworks and firecrackers stash.

firecrackers disaster

I don’t think I was thinking at the time. smirk

This happened in 2006 when I played firecrackers indoors too.

Happy Chinese New Year’s Eve everyone! Updates on fireworks and firecrackers soon! :D

fireworks stash

Here’s my first batch of fireworks and firecrackers which I got for Chinese New Year. I ordered them from KL last year – it’s cheaper to get them when it’s here instead of waiting till CNY itself.

large fireworks cakes

There are a lot of places selling it though – I bought some assorted interesting fireworks and was undecided between two huge fireworks aerial salute cake that I saw. There’s one with very nice packaging (the pink one) on the right, and there’s an industrial grade one on the left.

hb fireworks

The latter has a larger mortar size though (which usually means higher and better starbursts) so I ended up with that one. It’s RM 300 vs RM 250 for the nicely printed box. It’s quite large – it’s just a single 100 shot fireworks cake and it’s sitting on my lap in the photo above.

fireworks cake daisy chain

Just open and light it up! There’s a secondary fuse as well which is a cable tie/fuse contraption for use in daisy chaining several cakes up to go off simultaneously or in sequence, depending on how you link ‘em up.

jona eddy hb

My friends dropped by with some fireworks as well – 12 inch (1 foot) fountains, which I’ve seen around retailing for RM 35. They got an entire box and passed me some of the 1 foot monsters which are popular and new this year. Last year the largest one was the Volcano fountain at 9 inches.

fireworks price

Here’s my bill from last night for the novelty and smaller fireworks purchases if you can read Chinese. I can’t. Heh. I know I got slaughtered on the Shun Lee Hung firecrackers though – can’t be helped, I didn’t buy enough for the traditional days where I do let ‘em off.

fireworks display

I’m off to buy a couple of large fireworks cakes (making a grand trio of large fireworks cakes as my flagship this year) in a bit.

my fireworks

This is where I currently stand – better photos with everything when during the annual roundup but I’ll let some off first!

yee ling ang pow

Oh, I also got an ang pow from Yee Ling!

first angpow

The angpow is handmade – very thoughtful and kind of her to send it over. Yes, it does contain money inside, making it my first ang pow of the year. Cheers Yee Ling! :D

fireworks haul

P/S – Just got another batch in. There’s daytime fireworks cakes in there too (bottom of the photo – blue colored cake). It’s going to be awesome! It’s meant for daylight use, will show you the principle soon! :)

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

fireworks barrage

It’s made in China. Quality control is not a big priority over there and with no regulating body, malfunctions are bound to happen. When it happens with multi-shot aerial barrages, the results aren’t pretty. The first one happened to my neighbor during Chinese New Year eve when a 48 shot cake blow up right after the fuse went off.

It sent flaming balls of fire everywhere and I watched for a while before the tubes totally lost their integrity and sent some my way. I’m telling you it was the first time for years I’ve ran into the house. My neighbor shouted a quick warning and beat a hasty retreat as well.

It’s a good thing nothing major happened (except to the car of my neighbor).

fireworks explode

One of my smaller fireworks cake (a 36 shot) also blew up on the ground a few minutes later. However, this happened after most of it has been sent flying into the air to burst at the proper distance so the damage isn’t that bad.

I was filming it too, and I didn’t even realize it blew up until I felt something zip past me into the house and set one of my t shirts on fire. I was remarkably calm in the video though coz I thought it was a plain misfire (when a tube goes awry) instead of the entire cake blowing up. I was just standing 1 meter away!

You can hear sounds of explosions and fireworks despite none going airborne and the clacking of flying cardboard mortar tubes flying everywhere towards the end.

My mom who was watching from the inside was more concerned since she saw the entire thing. However, most of it missed me though and it was lucky that it happened towards the end.

unexploded mortar tubes

The other lucky thing that happened is that some of the tubes didn’t ignite (see the white, unblemished cardboard) so it didn’t cause an all out explosion – this can happen if the explosive force separates the burning ones from the rest in time. It’s not a built in safety precaution – merely chance and luck. :)

Why do fireworks cake barrages misfire?

1. Well, it’s made up of cardboard mortar tubes.
2. These tubes are linked by a fuse to create an aerial barrage of pyrotechnics.
3. A catastrophic event happens when the tube is not loaded properly and instead of the fuse burning into the next tube in line, the mortar tube (there’s a lot in a fireworks cake) explodes, causing a chain reaction that sends all the other tubes into a massive conflagration on the ground.

mortar tube exploding

You can see where the problem has occurred – instead of burning on to the fuse, it explodes and sends the other mortar tubes on fire – the entire integrity of the cake has been compromised then (it’s not meant to go off on the ground but in the air) so the tubes all start firing in every direction.

explosion fireworks

This is caused by the Stepping Up 36-shot barrage and I had to pick up cardboard mortar tubes from as far as 25 meters away. :x

fireworks barrage explode

It’s a good thing this is my smaller fireworks cake instead of the bigger ones. I have a huge 20 kg one with 3” shells that would probably wreck havoc if it explodes on the ground.

Happy Chap Goh Meh everyone and stay reckless safe! :D

firecrackers comparison

These two look similar (they even have the same name) but they’re actually very different firecrackers. Crazy Bang is just a marketing moniker – a wrap around the salutes. It doesn’t really mean anything – chai lei was called Pop Pop (the contact firecrackers kids play) one year.

crazy bang thunder king

The large one is actually the original Thunder King while the smaller one is the new Thunder King. It’s a very “Luke, I am your father” moment. It’s really hard to find the old ones nowadays.

Original Thunder King a.k.a. Caucasian dick

thunder king size

It has an OD (Outer Diameter) of more than 1 inch. 3 cm to be exact.

thunder king length

It is almost half a foot long – 14.5 cm.

New Thunder King a.k.a. Asian dick

size thunder king

Diameter of less than 1 inch – about 2.3 cm. You can’t really go much smaller than this for loud salutes.

length thunder king

The length is nearly 4 inches. It’s 9.5 cm.

Of course, the size doesn’t mean a thing – it’s the flash powder charge inside and how it’s constructed that determines how powerful and loud it is so I have here…a side by side test!

I lit both of the Thunder King salutes within close proximity of each other (but not so close that the first blast will send the other firecracker flying) and recorded it while I stood in the middle.

It sounds almost similar but the original Thunder King has more flash powder inside and you can actually feel the strength of the salute as it sends flying debris around. You can see that in the video. The originals are the bane of schools everywhere as kids tape it inside toilet cisterns with a time delay (usually a mosquito coil) and breaks it.

firecracker size

There was one memorable year where the girl’s toilet had more ruined cisterns that needed replacing when I was in high school. I know the girl who did it. Heh.

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