This would be a very long entry. Photo blogging and random thoughts here and there.
On the eve of CNY… …
Some primary school mates (Andy, Kairong, Jiaqing and Jianfang) decided to visit Chongfu. The last time I stepped into the school compound was when I was in Secondary 1, which was 10 years ago. The whole school literally had an extreme makeover.
The school has an extension. The old building used to end off slightly after that ugly red stair tower.
Our nameless little humble hall is now known as the great Tan Kah Kee Hall.
Cultivating coffee and cafe culture... Would you believe this is the canteen? What happened to those long rows of tables and benches where we used to have huge class meals together?
Andy said this game was invented by some teachers and actually won some awards somewhere but he doesn't know how to play it. *scratches head*
Our Eco Garden is pretty neat now but still pretty much plantless and flowerless save for pretty weeds and this pretty purple water lily.
There are cute signs all over the school…
Cute toilet sign.
Core values: Mei3 (aesthetics), qun2 (social), ti3 (physical), zhi4 (intellectual), de2 (moral). Jianfang said "So superficial.... rank mei3 as the highest and de2 as the lowest."
Even the dental nurse had an extreme makeover. It was an entirely new lady. Fifi Ong back in the past was a nightmare to us innocent kids. Being sent to the dentist is like being sent to the black hole. Fifi Ong looks like a witch and would always scream at us back then. The current nurse looked soooo friendly as she assured us that “Dentists are like friends.”
Extreme makeover aside, I was soooo late by the time I reached Chongfu that all the teachers were just about to leave. My pri 6 form teacher remembers my face but was trying so hard to remember my name that I decided not to embarrass her and myself and told her my name after like 3 seconds. She still looks the same and her Mandarin has improved tremendously. I think she is better than me at those strings of Mandarin 4 word phrases… those you utter every new year. My favourite teacher who was my form teacher from pri 1-3 remembers my name! Was very touched. And she still look as young as ever. I did not manage to talk to them for long as all of them were rushing home. Then I saw the teacher which… I mean who almost everyone of us has a personal grudge against. She kept looking towards our direction but none of us went to greet her.
We wanted to explore the school compound more but the school attendant was shooing us away like how zebras’ tails shoo flies away. She shouted in Mandarin that all the teachers have gone home and we should not be here. That aunty has an attitude problem I tell you. She closed and locked the side gate right in front of us.
So our meeting was cut short. But it was good nonetheless. We casually arranged for another meet up one of the days , probably a mahjong session. I don’t really know how to play, but casually agreed to meet up if there should be any one coming up.
Then I went to do some last minute shopping with Jianfang. She is a GRRRREEEAT shopping buddy. Always candid and making jokes outta every single thing. We have pretty much similar taste in certain things and similar complaints about clothes which makes shopping more enjoyable. The last time we really met up, just the 2 of us was in JC. Can’t imagine how we used to be best friends from pri 1-3 and then we just suddenly become as apart as 2 strangers (mind my lousy simile) after that. But each time we met up, we would never fail to have topics to discuss (read: nonsense to share).
“maybe jo..u wanna consider being an air stewardess....together....then we will eat cup noodles....n then we will save up too....then u can ve happy chopper wedding...plus sword of honour...”
One word... “haha”.
Some friends… you can just talk so easily with them no matter how long apart you have been before that.
Of course we took crazy photos too. What else can we do when we throw 2 crazy gals together? Ok, the one behind the cam was my 2nd sis. She met up with us halfway and she has really shaky hands.
She got this clearest one after like 472393 tries.
Then she tried unsuccessfully to do a face off image without our knowledge.
Got this exquisite chinese box at a steal. I don't know what to put in it but heck it's so chio. My 2 sisters think otherwise.
We got home at close to 6pm. This is the 1st CNY that I did not help out in the spring cleaning and reunion dinner preparations. As I had the excuse of being sick, I got away with merely cleaning up my room. I didn’t help in my mum’s delicious ngor hiang as well. I stayed out in order not to listen to naggings and quarrels but this year surprisingly, there was nothing of that sort and I was thankful for that.
My mum makes the best ngor hiang in the world. It has a unique taste, not like those wu xiang outside which taste of flour. Every year, dad's side would just wait for us (read: ngor hiang) to arrive before everyone decides to tuck in.
It was crowded at Grandma’s house this year somehow. I don’t understand. Maybe coz we have a BIG addition to the house.
Presenting.............. Golden! She is my xiao shu shu's (small uncle's) gf's golden retriever.
Everyone wants a piece of Golden.
Small uncle and Golden...
Siying and Golden.
5th uncle (5th aunt's hubby) and Golden.
2nd sis and Golden...
Me and Golden...
It was soooooooooo difficult to get a good or even decent shot of Golden as she is always moving around, resulting in countless blurred pictures of her. And then when camera batteries went flat, everyone whipped out their handphones. Small uncle decided to collect a photo fee from each of us seeing what good business Golden could bring about. Everyone ignored him and continued snapping.
Of course I also took pictures of and with human and other un-dog objects.
Me and cuz, Nadine.
Me and my red wine.
Weihong and Siying. I like them alot!!! So cute and smart. After one year, they really could talk alot!! But they speak Mandarin... I'm incompetent in that language.
6th uncle's family.
Small uncle and his gf. Nobody believes he is like 40+. Nan2 ren2 si4 shi2 still quite fit.
Read some of the nights happening at my cuz’s blog too.
Aside from the crowd, this year seems different from every other year.
There wasn’t any Jackie Chan shows. Thank goodness.
Almost every year, I would be one of the earliest at the table. People sitting around me ate and left and new people came and sat and ate but I would still be gorging myself with steamboat food. Being sick is no good. That night I didn’t eat like my usual self. I ate only 1 bowl of rice and drank 3 glasses of red wine. My parents could not stop me as they agreed that red wine is good for health.
I also started giving Ah Ma money since I’m working. Mum advised not to put the money in red packet so I folded the $50 bills into hearts. Now it suddenly dawn on me that Ah Ma’s vision and hearing is deteriorating that I wonder if she knew those were dollar notes.
All the cousins have grown up. It makes me feel really really old. I did not talk to the older cousins and the same age one like I usually do. I realized it only like a minute ago. Instead I was talking so much to Siying and Weihong. Probably coz they used to be very shy in the past. Or maybe coz I’m too used to be around kids in my job that I don’t really know how to hold proper conversation with people my age.
Everything just feels very different this year.
Some shots of Simba the Fat...
Happily sun tanning and zzzz on my table.
2nd sis carrying her like a baby. She hates being carried like that.
Zzzz again.... using the step as a pillow. Nobody went to that toilet that day as we can't bear to wake her up.
Bye bye to Baba's old collar. She has been wearing that since she was a kitten. The pink bell has been scratched gold. The collar was furring and dirty.
(Mum’s side on 2nd day of CNY)….
Best cousins since young... Lydia and me.
Cuz Pauline and me. Another nice cousin. We got closer in JC as we were classmates then.
Da jie was fiddling with my cam when she saw her dream lime green VW car and had to snap it.
(Back at home)
Da jie and me... We wanted to take a photo of our whole outfit, including our pretty boots and shoes. How bimbotic. If 2nd sis was here, she would be sighing and walking away. That twit went to Malaysia to visit her friend’s durian plantation.
Gambling runs in the female genes in my family… EXCEPT ME! I don’t gamble. I don’t… really! Nobody believes me. Nobody believes I dunno how to play mj. Nobody believes I don’t like going casinos. People’s impression of me would be whole life betting on soccer… which I only did for a period of time… What? Do I look like a du3 gui3 to you all?!
Sorry… emotions got the better of me.
Aside from watching vcd, recovering from sick and sleeping, we played mahjong. As causally as we pri sch mates arranged to meet up for mahjong one of these days, I casually mentioned to my mum that I may be going some friend’s house to play.
“How can you go your friend’s house to play when you don’t even know how to play??? Come kai2 zuo1…. I teach you how.” Mum was so eager to teach me.
Sis also bugged me to learn.
We gave our mj table away since we moved. So we transformed the oval shaped dining table into an mj table.
Mum is such a tyrant. The way she teaches me…
“Hurry up la… so slow… how you play with all the old aunties next time?”
[Uh… but I don’t wanna play with old aunties.]
“Why you keep asking what feng1 is it? Hurry up la.”
“Why do you keep asking what feng you are every round?”
[But I need to know what feng it is to know if I should keep that direction card mah.]
“All of you huh… take so long to throw one card. Just throw la.”
“Why you peng4 this one?”
[Huh? Why cannot?]
Upon asking her how to hu2 without any tai2…
“Just peng peng hu la.”
[Huh? But I’m new here.]
1st solo win. Simple cards.
Da jie's big win... nan2 feng1... she was nan2... she had rooster and centipede... she zi4 mo1 the last card. Everyone walked away w/o paying her.
(Andy’s house on 3rd day of CNY)
The mj session with pri sch mates actually materialized. I learnt a lot more there without paying “school fees”. Won some games, lost some games and won 20cents in the end.
Bamboo win... was it limit? It was dong1 feng1 and I zi4 mo1 right? Or did Jianfang throw that card? I don't know, I juz knew I was very happy as I collected my chips.
Andy the Ah Gong.
Surprisingly, Andy is a good host… Oops… did I say surprisingly? Haha… for one thing, I never knew Ah Gong Andy would shell prawns for us. His mum is very friendly too. She makes sure her guests are comfortable and she makes really good food. I ate 2 layers of pineapple tarts in the container and a considerable amount of keropok. This time the poison method did not work. I’ll touch on that later.
We played from 5pm and by midnight I was getting sicker and sicker but we carried on till 3am. And I had work the next day.
Happy smiles.... erm except Jiaqing...
Tired faces... Jiaqing spoilt it again.
(Back to work)
So I went to work the next day (Saturday) with not much voice left. Work was ok. Managed to pull myself through till the end of the day. And my last class on Saturday (my fave class with that baby calling me a tortoise) had 3 mummies giving me ang pows. One of the mummies told me “All the mummies and babies like you.” As she handed me the ang pow. That really touched me.
And then that night I lost my voice. No voice came out at all. I talk in whispers. I think I’ve spoilt my vocal chords. I won’t be able to sing anymore… BOO HOO!!!! Not like I can sing very well.
So on Sunday I taught without much voice. I was REALLY grateful to 2 of my colleagues, Janet and Huishan for sitting in with me for 2 of my classes. Janet practically did a one-man-show and Huishan helped me with the 2nd half of the lesson when she herself is a little sick as well. Really appreciate their kindness. They sacrificed their breaks just to sit in with me. *BIG BEAR HUGZ*
And while everyone pitied poor Jolene on the outside for losing her voice (and laughed at me on the inside thinking how I deserve it), Lavinia openly laughed at me. She just can’t stop laughing each time she sees me and I finally demanded to know why. She said that was the first time she saw me speaking so gently, which was so unlike me and suggested I should speak more gently more often. As if knowing I had no voice to retaliate, she walked away before I could “whisper” any retort.
Got more ang pows from parents again. They are so kind!!! Although we are not allowed to keep them for ourselves, it feels good to know that parents actually have teachers in their hearts.
I haven’t seen a lot of my relatives this cny as I wasn’t able to go visiting during the weekends. Cny seem ok… not as loathsome as I thought it would be. I just wish to recover really soon. It’s been 2 weeks and it has been dreadful. I will finally go see a doctor tomorrow, I promise.