Tyger, Tyger

The raucous Chinese New Year celebrations of my childhood seems to no longer exist.  Children these days don’t get to light firecrackers in the backyard and then run inside to watch them explode from the safety of the house (probably a good thing).  They don’t get to push exploding gumdrop-shaped firecrackers into the neighbour’s house in the hope of maiming, or at least scaring someone before getting caught, told off and grounded.  There are no impromptu gambling sessions with a myriad of aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, grandparents and random visitors for booty like roasted watermelon seeds and copper coins.  They aren’t given a chance to stuff themselves until they’re groaning, bellies full of the cakes, biscuits and mandarins which magically appear in the household this time each year.  And they certainly no longer endure the endless traipsing around to pay respects to all their elders, whether near or distant relatives, friends or acquaintances of their parents.  I never minded the endless traipsing because at the end of each visit, after you’d paid your respects and looked suitably cute, you would be given an ang pow containing money, a precious, precious pocket money supplement.

But like Proust and his madelaine, whenever I bite into a kueh kah peik (a sweet flakey biscuit called Chinese Love Letters) or a kueh bung kek (tapioca flour cookies) around this time each year, those happy memories always float to the surface.

Some pics from recent celebrations ushering in the Year of the Tiger.

A paper cutting of a tiger

Ang Ku Kueh (Red Tortoise Cakes). These cakes are traditional at occasions like a baby's first month celebration and weddings, not Chinese New Year. We ate these at my niece's first birthday, which we celebrated along with Chinese New Year this year.

Pineapple Jam Nibbles

A paper cutting of a tiger

Mixed New Year Noodles (in the white and red plates) and a host of other goodies to celebrate the one year old's birthday.


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