Friday, February 19, 2010

100% Japanese

While we use adjectives to refer to things or customs that are special to that particular nationality or ethnic group, we usually don't use phrases like "a British pear" in reference to fruit. Especially when fruit are determined by the climate rather than political or cultural boundaries. Unless it is a speciality where you can find no equality elsewhere. Like the Japanese melons or Japanese (Fuji) apples. They can be found strictly in Japan only.

That is the reason why ONE Japanese melon can fetch up to S$64 (approximately 30 pounds) because they are planted not only in Japanese soil but using Japanese methods and beliefs. Therefore such. These special melons are grown in an elite manner where only 3 melons are allowed to grow in each tree so that the nutrients of the tree would not be "diluted". When the melons grow to a fist size, the best of the 3 will be retained while the "substandard" ones will be removed. All the nutrients of ONE tree is devoted to the cultivation of ONE melon, thus explaining the wonder of THAT melon, and of course, the price tag that comes along with it. Well, it has to be the PERFECT one.

People have every right to satisfy their exquisite tastes and "needs". But then again, we have been talking about climate change and shortage of food year in and year out. Fingers are pointed at industralized countries and populous countries for putting the pressure on CO2 emission. Rethink about the CO2 emission PER HEAD. Who is the greatest polluter of this planet?

Moving away from the melons, we have imported apples from Japan, "decorated" with Chinese characters or to be exact, the Japanese characters, with Lunar New Year greetings. That comes with a dear price of course. Japanese style for Chinese occasion.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

CNY in decorations

It's the same idea with Christmas. Somehow, I am always enticed by the anticipation of the festival than celebrating the festival itself on the actual day. In fact, I am bored on the day of the festival. By that time, the excitement of the festival for me has simply worn out.

Decoration is the fun part, in my opinion, for a festival and this applies to both Christmas and CNY. Although I would say that I used to prefer the former as red, which is the colour of CNY occasion--is too conspicuous for a colour for my taste. But hey, I started appreciating the symbolism of red as a form of joy through the Chinese perspective and thus, splashed my flat with decorations in red in celebration of this festival.
Chinese Christmas tree CNY aka Spring Festival in China, marks the commencement of spring, philosophically. It is a time of new growth and new hope--for both the Spring season and the CNY. Thus, CNY is accompanied by spring blossoms. In Singapore, being sumer all year round, the celebration of CNY with flowers is more of a symbolic purpose.

Plum blossoms or willows are usually all-time favourites for dawning homes during CNY with a tint of spring as they are relatively larger than potted flowers and they can be decorated. I used to enjoy decorating the willow branches with small decorations that we bought or red packets. Now to think of it, it is like a Christmas tree in a way.

Chinese Paper Cutting
With the influx of Chinese immigrants from mainland China, we get to see some decorations that we don't used to get, things like paper cutting is so easy to come by now. I am fascinated by the patterns that one can create within the space of a piece of paper. Think about the cut out portions--the space of emptiness. And it is precisely this "empty" space that helps to define the patterns against a background.

Chinese Posters
These things have definitely evolved over the years. From a 2-D print to flashy ones dawned with gold glitters to the use of sponge to create a 3-D effect on these posters.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A new CNY

An interesting view, in my opinion, of Chinatown against the backdrop of the CBD district. A view from the 21st storey of an old block of flats right in Chinatown. Well-lit streets in Chinatown at this time of the year.

First Chinese New Year celebration in 4 years' time. Try to make it different this time. By mingling into the pre-new year crowds at Chinatown to soak in the atmosphere with the lights decoration. Wasn't quite what I had expected. Seems that this festival receives a grander scale of celebration than what I was used to. Even the lights decoration seems more of taste than ever. Perhaps absence makes the heart fonder.

Lanterns of different colours on the heavily decorated overhead bridge at Eu Tong Seng's road.

An array of lanterns at Buddha's Tooth Relics Temple for the joyous occasion.

Overlooking at Eu Tong Seng's road from the overhead bridge.

The choice of colours, the mood, the presentation, the rituals......what a stark contrast to Christmas.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


It's a lonely journey. This life. Whether with or without people. You are alone. Consciously or unconsciously alone.