Friday, February 15, 2013

Chinese New year for the Hokkiens.

The Chinese celebrate their new year for 15 days. For the Hokkien/Fujien dialect group of Southern China, they celebrate the 9th day in a big way. According to history, this coastal province was attacked by bandits on the evening of the 8th. They ran into the sugar cane fields. Because the sugar cane plants had "hairs", the bandits didn't want to go into the fields and get itchy all over.

The Hokkiens attribute their survival to the humble sugar cane. Up till this day in Singapore, the Hokkien people would buy two stalks of sugar cane, from the leaves to the roots, and place them on either sides of their front door.

The temples have worshippers and roast pigs and longevity buns. Even non worshippers display the sugar cane as a cultural thing. My parents are Cantonese, I didn't celebrate this day.

Here are sugar canes if you ever wonder where your sweets and lollies come from. I didn't eat a lot of lollies when I was young. Mum would cut a few stalks, we cut them to 1 foot lengths, peel off the hard outer skin, and then bite off and chew the sweet inside. It was good for the teeth, as the fibre clean the teeth very well.

My sister Helen lives in Australia. This closeup shows the bottom end of the sugar cane which you can not eat because it is very hard and has root.

A lot of water has flowed under the bridge. I now use the name Ann that Dad used for my Roman Catholic Baptism. Many of my classmates and students would not know who Ann Chin is , as Chin is my married name. I told the water engineer that perhaps I should revert back to my madam name when my books make me famous. LOL. My name in school was Chan Kit Suet, Kit Suet is translated as Puresnow.

This photo was taken when I was 14. It was taken at Buloh Road, a Government quarter. You can see part of the neighbouring house which is identical to ours. The house has stilts. I sent this photo to my pen pal in England, and she noticed the stilts. We had floods every year. The plants behind me is sugar cane.

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