23.1.05

Embracing the inner auntie

I've been in a strange sort of pre-Chinese New Year mood. For one thing, I actually want to buy tacky bright red ching-chong Chinese New Year decorations. Our apartment door looks dismal now that it's been divested of Xmas decor and I'm thinking that maybe a paste-up cherub of a Chinese boy with his hands locked in gongxi posture will do wonders for its spirits. So every time I walk past a store selling Chinese New Year decor --- be it Robinsons or Cold Storage or my neighbourhood provision shop --- I have the strongest urge to bundle up an armful of red paper creations and start dressing our apartment like a crazy Chinese lantern. As an excuse for browsing, I even offered to ship some to Stellou for her Chinese New Year party. (No such luck; she's all stocked up on her side of the world.)

Yesterday, I was cutting across Chinatown on my way to meet the best friend to do wedding stuff, and though the New Year stalls weren't fully open and the streets weren't fully crowded yet, there was an unmistakable buzz in the air. The next thing I knew, I was telling everyone I met that what I really want to do this Chinese New Year is to pop down to Chinatown one of these evenings and re nao, re nao (which roughly translates as to partake of the noise and excitement). So far, my enthusiasm has been greeted with gasps of shock and horror, and Wahj declared today, "Your inner auntie is coming out."

Oh, and no one wants to go with me.

So maybe this is what happens to a person when they're clinging frantically on to the last few months of being thirty: they embrace their inner auntie --- or a hitherto neglected aspect of their cultural heritage --- or a quintessential quality of being Singaporean --- or all of the above --- and they decide that squeezing through Chinatown crowds the weekend before Chinese New Year sounds like a great idea.

I'm sure I'll bitch about it when I get back, but anybody want to go with me? In addition to the attraction of loud noise, extreme bargaining and sweat-fragranced bodies, there's also the unmistakable opportunity to check out the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, a huge temporary temple structure that was raised in less than a month on a plot of empty land by South Bridge Road. I knew that our flats were prefab, but who knew that religious buildings came in jigsaw pieces too?

5 Comments:

At 1/23/2005 11:08 pm , Blogger Ondine said...

I'd go with you, but I'd be on the same side of the world Stellou is right now. Lucinda might be keen, she did ask, but remember, she's a little bit like Monica. :)

 
At 1/23/2005 11:21 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My god, how you've 'grown'... :)

 
At 1/23/2005 11:44 pm , Blogger Tym said...

Eh, which Anonymous is this?

 
At 1/24/2005 2:06 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd go with you, if I could! That sounds like fun! ;)

Lana

 
At 1/24/2005 9:27 pm , Blogger stellou said...

Oh my god!!!! I want to go!!!!! Can we all just embrace our inner aunties??? We like aunties!!! And we Looooove Chinatown!!!

Last year, or maybe last last year, I don't know now, me and my sister and my friend Selena and her boyfriend Ian went to Chinatown the first day they turned on the lights or put on fireworks or whatever it is that goes on that first festive day. It was insane We were walking--well, it wasn't really walking, it was just, like, leaning forward--like: step, stop, stop, stop, stop, step, stop, stop... Finally after trying to fight our way out of the stagnant human mass that was South Bridge Road (or whatever lah, I am bad with street names; in any case that road with the big Chinese emporium) we made it to a bus stop where it seemed like we might be able to crawl up over and out through the banisters. A weary woman with an ashen face made tired eye-contact and muttered: "Si lu. Si lu." (Literally: dead road. Dead road.) Then there was the great heave and push, and someone yelling frenziedly that a child had fainted, and lifting and shoving and squeezing and climbing, and then, O sweet liberty, we were free.

 

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