… an appropriate Chinese New Year greeting from India, where Chai is a staple.
Chinese New Year has never been a big event for my family (for us it’s Christmas) and I have never been a fan of the noisy red&gold celebrations and goodies . No pineapple tarts, cookies or BBQ pork for me although I do eat a lot of kua ji (pumpkin seeds), mandarin oranges and Yu Shang (the traditional New Year tossed salad).
I did have a wonderful New Year’s eve party hosted by a KL girl. She and another Malaysian girl made an amazing Yu Shang, adjusting perfectly to the lack of the proper ingredients. There was pomegranate, red peppers, crushed crispy roti (instead of crackers) and a sweet sauce made from apricot jam, plum juice and honey. It was very yummy!! The highlight of the evening was a fireworks displayed which was a treat for me ( I’m deprived of any firework memories since they are banned in Singapore). It was an awesome display of flashing coloured sparks, lots of noise although the falling shrapnel had people running for cover. The next neighbour complained immediately even though it was only 730pm and the noise lasted a short 5 minutes. She ‘’didn’t care’’ that it was a Chinese New Year celebration. Obviously there are some double standards being applied since Diwali firework noise last about 2 weeks!
2 other exciting things happened in my usual uneventful Mysore life this past week:
One was my first visit to a dentist here. The privately-run Vikram group of hospitals operate Vikram Perfect – Shape, Skin and Smile ie body and face asthetics plus dental care. I had heard positive reports about the modern and clean dental facilities, plus how cheap it is compared to the West so I figured I’d check a filling that was causing me some discomfort and get a cleaning at the same time.
I was impressed by the service of the staff there – the welcome, registration process as well as the attention from the doctors and nurses. The equipment was indeed clean and modern-looking but it felt primitive compared to what Singapore offers nowadays – it was similar to what I experienced when I was in school. The doctors had lovely bedside manner, “Madam, if you experience any sensitivity during the cleaning, please raise your left hand and I will stop”, “Madam, would you like me to stop for you to take a rest” (ie do you want to close your mouth for a while). The nurse diligently held the tube sucking out the saliva from my mouth and dabbed at the water spraying all over my face but neglected to see how the water dribbled down both sides of my neck, leaving my collar soaked by the end of the session. The doctor also raised the back of the chair so I could rinse my mouth but didn’t lower the leg part so I had to do a sit-up in order to sit upright.
All in all, it was a pleasant experience and definitely easier on the pocket (consultation, scaling and polishing only cost S$24).
The second event was Guru’s coconut stand being taken. For those who don't know, this entry describes my relationship with Guru, my coconut man
|This is what it used to look like, from the side - take note of the trees providing shade|
After having my usual 2 coconuts at Guru’s after practice one morning, I was amazed to see (on Facebook, none the less) pictures of the coconut stand being dismantled. We drove by later in the afternoon to see that Guru’s little stand had been moved back away from the junction and the 2 trees providing shade had been chopped down. I have heard different reasons for why this happened. One was safety reasons as the stand was too close to the junction and customers parking their bikes obstructed traffic turning. Another was that other locals were jealous of Guru’s booming business and complained to the Police.
Regardless of the reasons, we were just happy to see that he was continuing business. By the next day, he had a canopy erected for shade. I was also there when he was overseeing a group of young boys and men moving a big concrete slab to create a bridge over the drain and moving earth to level off the ground.
|So hot without the trees|
|Guru's little shack - he has a burner inside to make his chai .. would definitely fail any fire safety standards!|
|The new location - lots of space in front. Looks ugly without the trees though|
So, it’s been an exciting week in Mysore. Here are some pictures:
|Yu Sheng - Mysore-style|
|Take cover , these are Chinese fireworks|
|Cows coloured for a harvest festival|