20 shots from Chinese New Year visiting (and a lion dance)

Lion Dance

1. I managed to catch a lion dance performance while Chinese New Year visiting. A friend arranged for them to come at 2:30 pm and invited us over to see.

2. This is the full and complete 15-minute video which had the firecracker red carpet start to welcome the lions in, the lion dance also went to every room in the house to “bless” them, followed by the lions playing with the firecrackers at the end. It’s worth a watch if you’ve never seen a Sibu style lion dance home visit before.

Chew Yieng

3. I went to quite a few open houses this year, from ex-coworkers to friends. This is Chew Yieng, a classmate of mine. We used to go to the same school (and even went to New Zealand at the same time when we were 15). She told me a funny story about how she met me again in Christchurch while waiting in line for a pay phone in 1995. Λ™Νœ>Λ™

Prawn Crackers Acar

4. This is deep fried prawn (shrimp) crackers with acar – a staple during the Lunar New Year. Acar is a dish of pickled vegetables, there’s a distinctive vinegary taste and it goes very well with the fish and prawn crackers.

Durian Chocolate Stick

5. One of my favorite things to do while visiting is eating unusual snacks from all over. This one is noteworthy in that it’s a locally made durian candy made to look like an ice cream. The inside is durian paste and the exterior is coated with chocolate and the entire thing is mounted on a stick.


6. Pineapples are a symbol of prosperity since the word in Hokkien sounds like “incoming millions” (kinda, the second word actually means ten-thousand but is generally understood as wealth). Thus, you can see a lot of berry (yes, it’s a type of berry) themed items. I also found a Korean made yoghurt and muesli bar in this home.

Kumquat Candy

7. Kumquat candy used to be very popular – these are Mandarin orange flavored sweets made in the shape of a segment of kumquat orange. There’s usually gelatin inside so it’s soft and chewy although some types are hard candy. I also sampled a Toblerone clone made in China here.

CNY Lunch

8. There are also a lot of houses which offered hot food this year. This dish has a wild boar Chinese sandwich (man tou) with a side of curry chicken, tang hoon with egg, and okra.

Dabai Fried Rice

9. Dabai fried rice! This was at Arthur’s house.


10. It went very well with the kacangma chicken (a local herb called motherwort). I usually get my fix at Payung Cafe, and coincidentally he had a few dishes catered from there too.

Pineapple Prawns

11. I particularly enjoyed the prawns with pineapple that he cooked though.


12. This is me and suituapui a.k.a. Arthur.

Japanese Curry

13. This is the Japanese curry at another house. I love eating hot food at open homes. You get to taste home cooking and it’s more substantial than cakes or biscuits.

Ang Pow

14. I also (strangely) received 5 ang pows (red packets containing money) this year despite my advanced age. Haha.

Open House Food

15. China imports are very big this year. I noticed a lot of homes stock Chinese made snacks for the guests, this one is a peanut filled cracker.

Love Hearts

16. Behold! Love Hearts! These are made in the United Kingdom and I was very fond of them when I was little. I have to admit that I took 2 of the Love Heart rolls home coz it was so awesome. smirk


17. I also found a house growing pomegranate! I didn’t know the fruits can grow in our tropical climate.


18. Happy CNY everyone!

19. This is a long 39,999 large firecracker roll I let off during the first day of the Lunar New Year. I had to use a lighter to light it in the middle coz the Visco fuse dropped off. I love this video coz the cadence was perfect – the start where I pulled away to the multicolored effects and large pops and bangs to the end where the banner dropped down and an explosion flung it back up in a very festive manner.

CNY Visiting 2016

20. I hope you all had a great Chinese New Year thus far! πŸ™‚

15 Chinese New Year visiting photos

CNY Visiting 2015

1. Food! I went to just a few open houses this year – close friends and relatives. The good thing is that more people are serving hot food, which makes for a more substantial meal than snacks and cakes and such – it’s a nice savoury change.

Prawn Fried Noodles

2. This is a thin fried yellow noodle with hints of Thai chilli sauce and prawns. It’s very good, so much so that I went back for second (and third) helpings.

Beef Satay Sauce

3. There’s also beef in satay sauce…


4. …with the accompanying ketupat.

Kacangma Chicken

5. Arthur also broke out the kacangma chicken. I was reminded of a joke another friend told about cannabis, he said he accidentally pulled out a packet of the good stuff to pay for a meal and only later realized it wasn’t a wad of cash. Luckily the auntie who was the (unintended) recipient said β€œWhat’s this? Kacangma herbs?” smirk You just had to be there.

Baked Chicken Wings

6. This is some great baked chicken wings to complete the feast. I had an awesome lunch here on the first day.

HB Arthur

7. Here’s a photo of me with Arthur!

Honeydew Cake

8. One of the more unusual cakes I had – the lowest right is a honeydew cake! It’s not sweet at all and just had a hint of the melon. Delicious! I had this at Alex’s house and was happily munching on some macadamia nuts he had on hand too (love them, they’re my favorite type of nuts).

Huge Nasi Briyani

9. Huge pot of nasi briyani at another friend’s house.

China Snow Beer

10. An unusual Chinese snow beer that weighs in at 4.7% alcohol. Very refreshing stuff, you can’t get it outside. Funny story, as we were visiting this house, there was another guy which I didn’t know there. The host suddenly brought up the topic of weed and how it relates to sleep. Thus, I joined in and said “Yeah, ganja is a lot better than alcohol, at least you won’t have to wake up at 3 am to pee” and saw my friend laughing. He later asked me “Do you know who the other guy is? He’s with the police and he’s in Narcotics.” -_-

HB Eddy Jona

11. With my bro Eddy and his wife. I hung out here most of the time, it’s nice to feel truly welcome instead of having someone be snarky and calculative behind your back. Eddy has always been solid, he’s always got my back regardless of what I did and I’ve learned a lot from him. You can tell the ultimate measure of a man by the friends he has in real life and this person probably has more than anyone can count.

Macallan Whisky Makers Edition

12. Drinking The Macallan Whisky Maker’s Edition.

Philippines Pork Belly

13. Pork belly cooked with a spice mix found in the Philippines that’s the most awesome thing I had – ate here three meals in a row.

Philippines Food

14. It went very well with the daging masak hitam (beef cooked in black sauce) too. Tons of flavor!

My Niece

15. Me with my niece, who’s getting bigger now! πŸ™‚

Chinese New Year Visiting 2014

eddy house

It’s customary to go to the houses of friends and family during Chinese New Year.

cny open house

I didn’t do a whole lot of Chinese New Year visiting this year. My family is back home so mostly I just went to a couple of good friend’s houses.

visiting cny

I went to Arthur’s house and had some of his home-made cookies. I also met a new friend and reader there – that’s part of the fun of it, you get to meet visitors who are already there and make new connections. I was also hoping to eat some of the durian tempoyak dishes that I missed last CNY when he cooked a buffet at his open house. Haha!

arthur hb

He was kind enough to give me a (very generous) ang pow despite my age. I was a little shocked when I opened it and saw the amount. I must buy him lunch before I go back.

ang pow

I also went to my mate Eddy’s house – haven’t seen him in quite a while and he just got married!

white rabbit candy

There were rabbit candy there! It was a trip down memory lane for the snacks in his house. I also found out that these White Rabbit candy (the ones with edible paper) is only sold in pharmacies in the Philippines while the other type with glossy wrap is sold in supermarkets!

cny visiting

A couple from the Philippines also came over to see how CNY is done in Sibu. Cain is originally from Florida and migrated to a lot of different places (and even did an Amazon cruise the local way last year) before settling in Cebu.

cain hb eddy

I’m glad I had my phone with me so I could take all these memorable photos while visiting and meeting old (and new) friends on Chinese New Year – after all, it only happens once a year!

wine collection

There’s a large liquor selection at Eddy’s place and I noticed I can do something very nifty on my smartphone!

Short Mention:

info eye wine

There’s a function called Info-eyeTM on my Sony Xperia Z1. It activates your camera and can show you all sorts of information about the places and objects around you. It’s the best and most practical feature of AR (Augmented Reality) that I’ve ever seen and it’s propriety to Sony so you can only get it on this phone.

info eye google maps

You can scan everything from buildings to barcodes and even text! Info-eyeTM allows you to *share* the results (where you are, bottles of wine you like etc) right from the camera app so I thought that was really cool! I found a nice bottle of wine which I’m not familiar with at Eddy’s place and we decided to use Info-eyeTM to see what goes well with it.

info eye images

The results are simply amazing! It shows you everything from the location of the vineyard on Google Maps to search results and there’s also relevant information on wine pairing when you take a photo. The helpful wine bottle overlay guides you when you take your photo. We were all very amazed by this feature – I think I might have sold the Xperia Z1 to a lot of people just on this demonstration/experiment alone. πŸ˜€

Chinese New Year 2013

open house

I compiled a list of random photos from CNY open houses, visiting friends and generally doing the things I do each year during Chinese New Year. πŸ˜€

This is a performance of a yu – a traditional Chinese musical instrument. I don’t know what it’s actually called, I just looked at the list of Chinese instruments at Wikipedia and the yu seems to fit it best. It’s a flute of sorts with a gourd at the back – there’s multiple tubes and it can make quite an enchanting melody.

cny visiting

I also managed to catch up with Ting Chuan, a very old friend of mine. We went through the same class in primary school *and* high school together. Luke is to the other side of me.

ting chuan hb luke

My high school mate has been married for a long time (his wife Siew Ling and their daughter is in the first photo) – was one of his heng tai during the wedding and he’s now the proud father of a bouncy new baby. This is the cute Megan. πŸ™‚


I’m always amazed and a little envious when see stuff like this. I’ll love to have kids of my own too. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a soul mate yet. I’ll see how things pan out. πŸ˜‰

romeo steph

I went clubbing three times too – it’s been a while since I drank this much. It was a lot of fun! That’s Romeo and Stephanie @ The Base. I get to see this bunch of friends only once a year since we all work at different places.


This is 3 Degrees. We made a new tradition of going clubbing with just cousins starting this year. πŸ˜€

birthday present

I also got my very first birthday present from Patricia Felicia – my birthday is not until 5th of April but she reckons she’ll not see me then coz I’ll be in KL so this is a 2-month early birthday gift. Thanks Pat! πŸ™‚

chinese 80th birthday

Speaking of birthdays…this is my great aunt’s 80th birthday!

great aunt

She remembers me as a little kid when I lived in Sungai Merah. To be honest, I don’t even remember living in Sungai Merah but that’s what the older generation is for. Haha!

sky lantern cny

Letting of sky lanterns with my bros Eddy, Calvin, Romeo, Ah Tong. This is a RM 2.50 biodegradable sky lantern sold as an alternative to fireworks.

sky lantern

It really goes up high with a 15 minute burn time.

fountain cake fireworks

We also let off a fireworks cake called Jin Se Pu Bu (Golden Conflagration – a classic barrage from the early days way before the ban). This is up there with Colorpeony in terms of multi-tube aerial shots – back in the days (talking about the ’80s here) these are the *really popular* ones.

Two foot long fountains were also lit simultaneously beside it for a better show.

muesli cookies

I also visited Arthur’s house, which is just around the corner. Those are his muesli cookies.

arthur grace

Arthur has been a good friend of mine since I was a little kid. I didn’t have a car (mom’s car broke down) so Grace picked me up.


It’s has been an awesome Chinese New Year! I’ll be getting the annual fireworks and firecrackers post up before Chap Goh Meh (the 15th day and the end of the Lunar New Year). Hope ya’ll had a great CNY too! πŸ˜€

More Chinese New Year visitation photos

We went for another round of Chinese New Year visiting today. It’s
the 4th day of CNY (“chu shi”) today so this would probably be the
final Chinese New Year visitation photos since no one really goes
visiting on the 5th day (“chu wu”) unlike in the old days. I hear
people visit up till Chap Goh Meh (15th day) in the past. Anyway,
here’s the three houses we visited today:

hie yieng house
Hie Yieng’s house
L-R: Ting Chuan, Ah Ping, Huai Bin (me), Hie Yieng, Siew Fua.
I’m the one in black attire.

Hie Yieng is a friend from my college days in Sibu. I used to study
at MPI which was where I met Siew Fua too. I think we kept Hie Yieng
waiting from 10 am till 1:15 pm…she was planning to head out when we
wanted to visit. Oops. πŸ™‚

winnie ha house
Winnie Ha’s house
Winnie is the one in blue.

I haven’t seen Winnie since she went to LA six years ago. We were
from the same primary school and went to the same high school as well.
It was great to catch up with her after all these years – found out
that she was in KL and also in Melbourne at the same time I was, albeit
the interlap was just a couple of days. She’s in Melbourne now. It’s
always good to catch up with old friends after a long time. πŸ™‚

ming tze house
Ming Tze’s house
Ming Tze is the one in the middle.

Ming Tze is also another old friend from primary school and we were
in the same class in high school. I think the last time we met up and
talked was two years ago. She’s also based in Kuching and I’ll be
working there starting February so there’s a good opportunity to catch
up. πŸ™‚

It’s been a great Chinese New Year! I’m glad I came back. πŸ™‚

Visiting during Chinese New Year

We went for another round of Chinese New Year visiting today. I
didn’t sleep till 4 pm as planned…woke up at 9 am (alarm) and zoned
out till about 11 am. I was quite scattered from the previous night but
it’s all good, we headed out to visit a couple of people. The first
house we went to is Siew Fua’s.

siew fua house
Siew Fua’s house
L-R: Huai Bin (me), Siew Fua, Ting Chuan
I’m the one in the Monash University T-shirt.

We sat around and talked for a while before heading (unannounced) to
Datina’s place. It’s a good thing she was home and we spent more than
an hour catching up. Here’s a shot of us:

datina house
Datina’s house
Datina is the one in white.

It was about noon at that time so we were invited to have lunch with
their family. Great timing, we haven’t had lunch yet. πŸ˜‰ I loved the
tea – it’s a fruit and herbal fusion that tastes great!

datina lunch

Next up is Vivien’s house, have been meaning to visit her since it’s
been a while since I’ve talked to her. We also met her sister (Hello Jennifer!) at her house.

vivien house
Vivien’s house

I somehow inherited some chai lei firecrackers here.

happy boom

It’s made by the same company as the original Chai Lai but this one
is called Happy Boom instead of the misleading Coloured Flowers. These
firecrackers seem to sound slightly louder than Coloured Flowers and
actually have a nice plume of sparks as the primer.

vivien hii
This is Vivien, who occasionally comments here as “vivi”. We’re all from the same high school.

Anyway, Vivien came along with us to visit Thien Na. Thien Na is one
of my classmates who was in Melbourne with me. I’ve since graduated,
but she’s planning to settle there. Here’s a shot of us:

thien na house
Thien Na’s house
Thien Na is the second one from left.

The final destination was Chiew Yieng’s house…er, mansion. We
spent the rest of the day there talking until about 7 pm. Here’s a
photo of us at her place.

chiew yieng house
Chiew Yieng’s house
She’s the one beside me, second from left.

Chinese New Year visiting photos

The first round of Chinese New Year visitations kick started as I
was awakened at about 1:15 pm by a phone call, and we arranged to meet
at Johnny’s house to start things off:

johnny house
Johnny’s house
L-R: Lee Ling, Daniel, Johnny, Huai Bin (me), Ting Chuan.

Next up is Frank, stopped by his house and played with his kitten. πŸ™‚

frank house
Frank’s house
L-R: Daniel, Ting Chuan, The kitten and I, Frank, Johnny.

Picked Frank up and we headed down to Diana’s place. She’s actually
living in Kuching now, but comes back during Chinese New Year. This is
the first shot (facing inwards):

diana house in
Diana’s house #1
Front row
L-R: Huai Bin (red Quiksilver T-shirt), Doreen (holding the baby, Diana’s eldest sister), Diana, Daphne (Diana’s elder sister).
Back row
L-R: Frank, Ting Chuan, Johnny, Daniel, Lee Ling.

We took another shot facing outwards:

diana house out
Diana’s house #2
Front row
L-R: Daphne, Doreen, Diana, me.
Back row
L-R: Lee Ling, Daniel, Johnny, Ting Chuan, Frank.

Next up is Lisa’s house. Here’s a shot of us:

lisa house
Lisa’s house
The one in the red shirt (not me, the female in the red shirt) is Lisa.
The others can be recognizable from the previous photo captions.

We finally adjourned to Daniel’s place here:

daniel house
Daniel’s house

I’ll have to go out again in a while. I’ll try to reply all the
comments until I have to leave. Chinese New Year, quite busy, my
apologies. πŸ™‚

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