Thursday, February 11, 2010

It's 'hongbao' not 'angpau' you dimwit.

We Malaysian like to ‘share-share’, every celebration is celebrated together as if we are only 1 race and 1 religion, that’s why the 1Malaysia thing might actually work if everybody put an effort in it. But this post is not to offer my personal opinion on this subject, I leave it to the professional to analyze and debate about this.

Chinese New Year is around the corner, there’ll be no surprises if you have a fridge full of mandarin orange. I don’t own a fridge but my mum does and her Chinese friends are always giving her a box or a basket full of this delicious fruit. So my knowledge about the real meaning of Chinese New Year close to nil except that I know whenever Chinese New Year there’ll be ‘hongbao’, lion dance, fire crackers (even though fireworks is supposed to be illegal here LOL), mandarin orange and of course the color red.

It came no surprise to me when my mandarin lecturer gave us ‘hongbao’, mandarin orange, sweets and 3 ground nuts. But the story behind each gifts interest me because I never knew that all this gift have its own meaning. My lecturer is a good story teller even though his spoke broken Malay and sometimes his accent is too strong for us to understand him in English. Now it is my turn to be the story teller here or actually just to pass the story (if you won’t mind sticking around for a while reading this blog of mine) to anyone that doesn’t know about it yet.

I’m using my lecturer’s voice to write.

Long time ago, no TV, everyone in China lives humbly near a river. Twice a year a dragon will come to burn and cause misery to people. Then one day, everyone go into house at that time no musical instrument, no fireworks or lion dance so they use the pots and pans to bang loudly to scare the dragon away. That is why Chinese New Year song is very loud but it really works because the dragon never come back since then.

Now I give you this mandarin orange, ‘banzhang’ you help me give everyone orange.

Each will get one, cannot be greedy ah. You can only find mandarin orange at Chinese New Year, why? Because only on Chinese New Year the tree will bloom. When it blooms the tree look almost red, that is why Chinese people wear red and the devil very afraid of red color. Also red color is very lucky.

Not only Mandarin orange is served during CNY but also sweets.

This is because ‘ tian tian, mi mi’ meaning sweet-sweet, honey-honey and if you eat sweet food on CNY the whole year your life will be sweet.

Interrupted by

X : “Laoshi, so if the mandarin orange is sour the whole year my life will be sour la".

Laoshi : “ No, mandarin orange is usually sweet.”

X: (speaking to himself) “I will eat this orange and my life would be sour.”

Cynta : …(Thinking why X saying shit like that, it’s CNY don’t be so damn depressed).

Okay now I give you ground nuts.

Ground nuts in mandarin is ‘huasheng’, ‘hua’ is flower and ‘sheng’ is life. I give you all 3(san/live) each so you have long life. After CNY I will tell you each meaning behind every number, later I tell you.

Now I give you ‘hongbao’ don’t say ‘angpau’ okay, that is not mandarin.

RM3 only for life, cannot more I got many students. The money inside never been touched by anyone other than me, every year I asked the bank to send me fresh RM1 note for ‘hongbao’. Very clean ah the money with new money smell. 'Hongbao' is usually given to kids under 15 and not married, at CNY eve, parents will put 'hongbao' under pillow to wish children, grow up good and have wealthy life( While my lecturer tells me this, it kind of reminds me of the tooth fairy). But today I give you for luck. Don’t be greedy if you’re greedy no luck come to you.

Zaijian! Gong xi fa cai!

Don't forget after CNY got 3 test. (damn...)

Post end abruptly here, I am late for something.

Xin Nian Kuai Le =)


Jessica_Lyne said...

siok oh dapat 'hongbao' lagi but the test reminder is totally a mood killer! hahaa. Best la your lecturer, siap bagi history lagi. Must be one heck of a class that day:)

SuicideCandy said...

LOL... 2 la bha. Mimang best la 2 lecturer, tp bukan ari 2 ja dia bg history 2, tiap2 kali masuk kelas dia you learn something new.

Rungitom said...

Localization in Malaysia turns the pronounciation of hongbao to angpau I guess, by the way, nice story :)