Hokkien New Year 2012

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Hokkien New Year eve (Bai Tian Gong) at Chris's place

Hokkien New Year eve (Bai Tian Gong) at Chris's place

Today, the 9th day of Chinese New Year is also the significant day to all Hokkien. It is the Hokkien New Year and yesterday the eve celebration known to the Hokkien as ‘Bai Tian Gong‘ (in Chinese, 拜天宫) was held in many places of Malaysia. Although I am not a Hokkien, I still share the joy and celebrate the festive and last night I was invited to Chris Baba’s place for the celebration.

Copy-and-paste the story behind the festive from the Bai Tian Gong‘s post published two years back:

During a Chinese New year of the Ming Dynasty, there was a bandit raid in the province of Hokkien. These intruders however robbed and burned down villages, attacked and killed the villagers. The people of the villages were in fear and escaped from their burnt villages during the night.

Some of the villagers then hid themselves among the sugarcane fields. Needless to say, those villagers prayed to Heaven God (Tian Gong) for salvation during their hideout. The pursuing intruders spent many days trying to locate and hunt them but to no avail. On the ninth day of that Chinese New Year, they finally gave up and returned to their region.

The Hokkiens then happily emerged from the sugar cane fields, and praising the blessings of the celestial deities and owing gratitude to the sugarcane plants for saving them from destruction. Thus, in all Hokkien celebrations, the sugarcane plant is given prominence.

Realizing that it was also the 9th Day of the Chinese New Year and coincidentally the birthday of Heaven God, they decided to make votive offerings and prayers to the Jade Emperor for their salvation. There are many version of the Hokkiens’ Bai Tian Gong stories. Whichever it is, the hokkiens believe that our life and prosperity are granted by the Heaven God.

On the eve of the 9th day, a pair of sugarcane plants are used by the Hokkiens usually placed one on each side of the offering table or the front door of the house. The pair of the sugarcane symbolises unity, cooperation and strength. The sugarcane itself is a symbol of harmony and a token which can bring good and ‘sweet’ results. The very straightness of the sugarcane stem also ensures that the Hokkiens can become a clan of honest and sincere people.

Chris is from the Baba-Nyonya family, and they always have their unique tradional sets of rites and rituals. Since many of the Baba-Nyonya are Hokkien and worship Ti Gong (天公), the Heaven God, the celebration of Bai Tian Gong to them is a great grant event and loaded with complex ceremonies. It would be difficult to see such a great preparation for celebration nowadays, due to modernization and exposure to western ideas, many of the younger Baba-Nyonya generation prefers to skip some the ceremonies.

Anyway, many of Chris’s relatives and friends gathered at his place for the great celebration. I met Henry my old friend over there. Then I was served with a bowl of delicious Hokkien noodle prepared by Chris’s mom and it was simply awesome! I managed to capture some photos of the little girl of Chris and the settings of Bai Tian Gong.

I didn’t wait for the countdown at Chris’s place but got back home at 11:30 p.m. On the 12:00 midnight, I stood at my house door and observed the Hokkiens ring in the New Year with extravagant firecrackers and fireworks.

Happy Chinese New Year to everyone especially our Hokkien friends. May the year of the dragon be prosperous and happy for everyone!

May all beings be happy.

delicious homemade Hokkien noodle by Chris's mom

delicious homemade Hokkien noodle by Chris's mom

old friend Henry

old friend Henry

Chris's little baby, Abby

Chris's little baby, Abby

'Amma' and Abby

'Amma' and Abby

fly kiss

fly kiss

like dad like daughter

like dad like daughter

oil lamp (left); bamboo skewers of preserved papaya and cherries on top of the chanab as offering (right)

oil lamp (left); bamboo skewers of preserved papaya and cherries on top of the chanab as offering (right)

paper crafts, four of the Eight Immortals (Taoists' saints, in Chinese 八仙)

paper crafts, four of the Eight Immortals (Taoists' saints, in Chinese 八仙)

paper crafts, the other four of the Eight Immortals

paper crafts, the other four of the Eight Immortals

complex table setting of offerings

complex table setting of offerings

skewers of offerings and each has a meaning

skewers of offerings and each has a meaning

flowers offering

flowers offering

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Enter the Dragon

By | Beautiful Melaka, Photography | No Comments
Happy Chinese New Year to all! (1Malaysia prosperity dragon at the entrance of Jonker Street)

Happy Chinese New Year to all! (1Malaysia prosperity dragon at the entrance of Jonker Street)

Happy Chinese New Year! 新年快乐!

Sharing the shots captured for the past two days in Melaka, places like Dutch Square, Jonker Street, Jalan Hang Kasturi (also known as Tofu Street), Jalan Kampung Pantai and Melaka Raya. During the outing, I also tried to photograph the dragons in town as we are entering the year of dragon in two days time.

Thanks to all friends for your visits and comments here to make juesatta a better site. Hope that we will fill you always with sEErenity. Enjoy the year of dragon and wish you and family good wealth and health.

May all beings be happy.

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2012 Dragon in Malaqa

By | Beautiful Melaka, Music and video | No Comments

Before we release the second part of “Our town Malaqa” video, Fred, Kenn and I made a short film of pre Chinese New Year’s (CNY) atmosphere in Melaka.

While we were filming for the first video about our lovely hometown last month, it came to our mind that to do a Chinese New Year’s video as well, to share the many moments of CNY happiness with our fellow friends and family.

This video features decoration of Chinese New Year in the streets of Melaka town, shopping mood in Dahtaran Pahlawan, lion dance championship in Mahkota Parade, and invited some locals and foreigners to say a few greetings.

And fortunately we managed to capture the 398 feet long of 1Malaysia prosperity Dragon guarding the entrance to Jonker Street. The clips were included into the video right before we finalized it.

We really appreciate all of the great support and help from our friends in making this film. Besides, we would like to thank our friends and family who are always so kind and supportive to us. Without you life would be less colorful and nice.

Happy Chinese New Year! Gong Xi Fa Cai!

May all beings bEE happy.

Filmed by fred, kenn and cj
Shot with 5D2
Music by MY Astro 大合唱 《开心过年》

fredyap : http://frederickyap.blogspot.com
kennwai : http://kennphotography.blogspot.com
cj : http://www.juesatta.com

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Message from spring

By | Beautiful Melaka, Photography | No Comments
message of spring

message of spring

Congratulation to our town Melaka, being among the 45 ‘must-visit’ places in year 2012, as listed by The New York Times!

“With its lantern-lighted canals and silent, narrow streets lined with decades-old ornate temples and shop houses, few places in Southeast Asia conjure romantic images of the past as effectively as Malacca, Malaysia’s oldest city. A former Portuguese, Dutch and British colony, this Unesco World Heritage site is now attracting record numbers of tourists lured by its unusual architecture and cuisine, which reflect centuries of foreign influences.

More than seven million visitors are expected in 2011, so the town, about 90 miles southeast of the capital, Kuala Lumpur, is welcoming new hotels like the Casa del Rio, a Portuguese-inspired luxury boutique property with 66 rooms; and Courtyard@Heeren, a 100-year-old shop house converted into a 14-room hotel. When you’re not exploring places like the 17th-century former Dutch town hall or Jonker Street’s antiques shops, gorge on Malacca’s outstanding local specialties, like creamy, piquant nyonya laksa at the family-run Donald & Lily’s.”

by NAOMI LINDT

It’s a good news for all our dear friends. And we have to help to keep our town the clean, safe, friendly and happening place we all know and love.

Right, keeping the spring’s mood going! Sharing some shots of Melaka. While doing filming with Kenn-Wai and Fred these few weeks for our next coming video, I also collected a series of photos which I hope to deliver the atmosphere of Chinese New Year in town.

These shots were taken in a few location including Jalan Hang Kasturi, Jonker Street, Bemban and Jasin.

Happy Chinese New Year to all and may all beings be happy.

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Blood donation drive at Jonker Street on first day of 2012

By | Involvement, Photography | One Comment
Meng-Hong donating blood on the first day of new year 2012 at Jonker Street

Meng-Hong donating blood on the first day of new year 2012 at Jonker Street

St. John Ambulance Malaysia is a Malaysian-based, non-profit statutory body dedicated to the works of humanity and charity for the relief of persons in sickness, distress, suffering or danger without any distinction of race, class, colour or creed.

Last Sunday which was also the first day of new year, a blood donation drive held by St. John’s Ambulance Malaysia of Melaka state and co-organized by Sin Chew Daily press took place in the Jonker Street Melaka.

When Meng-Hong and I went during the evening, many people from the public were registering and queuing to donate their blood, proving itself again as the community always ready to help others. The next day I read on paper, the donation drive was a great success with 95 blood units donated successfully.

Patients suffering from life threatening diseases and conditions need blood to save their lives, and this constant need can only be met through voluntary blood donations.

Thanks to the generous efforts of the volunteers and donors. I took some shots of the donation drive during our visit.

May all beings be happy.

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