Sunday, February 27, 2011

Gong Xi Galore !

Fortune - readymade!

I gotta share with  my readers this event which signalled the end of the Lunar New Year celebrations for me. In fact it took place a day after Chap Goh Mei.Yes, being 'elastic' is absolutely ok in this case! That evening was a heady mix of culture and fun, laughter and fellowship. Everything gelled  even with  Rotarians among  the guests ( host himself an inspiring Rotarian) belting out their District Rotarian song. The kids sang and  added zest before the Rotarians took to the mike.

Rotarians ( with their kids) singing their District song

Our host, Raymond pulled out all the stops to ensure everyone had a great time. The bang of 2 long strings of  firecrackers started a crackling evening for all.Then the lions danced. Not one but 2 lion dance troupes  danced  to the beat of the Chinese drums, gongs and cymbals. One 'red' lion pranced in the air  on a  solid  thick pole. The  prize dangling at the top end of the pole  was of course the lettuce which symbolizes prosperity and good luck. The other 'gold'  lion pranced agilely on stilts.

Troupe members steadying  the heavy pole  and themselves for the lion to prance higher

Dancing in mid- air

The 2 lions and the clown having fun with the audience. 

Our host  took over as a lion dancer! Spot his leg - the giveaway!!

Symbols of prosperity - pineapple, pomelo, oranges, lettuce, bananas - offered to the host and hostess (partially hidden in yellow dress) 

More excitement and dancing reigned when  the celestial dragon  entertained the guests. Chasing the ball of fire is no mean task. The troupe displayed great skill in weaving, loping and twisting its body. At one point,  it puffed 'fire' (really carbon dioxide)  to bless 2 new cars. It was all very new to me but I soaked it all in. One was the new Honda hybrid and the other, a Proton.

Chasing the ball of fire 

Twisting, turning, loping,  running - high energy 

The night when  the  celestial dragon danced  on earth!

Host  posing beside his new car, Proton. 

May  good fortune be upon all and the owner of the new Honda 

No one can say  they didn't feel lucky at all that  evening.  The good vibes were all around us. To top it all, the God of Prosperity visited us earthlings! Suddenly  attention was centred on this important figure. Just to be near him one would have some good luck rubbed off him! How the guests clambered  round him !  Better still, to receive a 'lai see'.You bet I got one too!  Our generous hostess, Esther later came round and wished us luck with an orange and and a 'lai see'. Wanna know what's inside? Money of course.If you are truly, truly lucky, you can win  the lottery jackpot!! Inside was a lottery ticket  for everyone. I wonder who the God of Prosperity picked to shower loads of money. Though I felt lucky, it wasn't me!!

Prosperity comes in a pair from Nigeria - helping hand to give  out the 'ang pows'

Happiness and good fortune all round

We were served yee sang  before the meal proper. That was my last toss in joining others and wishing each other everything good - health, happiness and wealth. As the guests partook of the local menu , we were entertained by a sweet Japanese lady playing on the koto.

Japanese music on the koto  to add to the festivity

Evidently we had a wonderful time with our gracious, generous host, Raymond and his wife Esther. In their great spirit of sharing, they brought  the Chinese New Year celebrations for me and others to a  thumping happy ending.

Truly an international gathering! 

Sunday, February 13, 2011


 I heard about the National Abilympics Art competition from one of the committee members of the MCR ( Malaysian Council for Rehabilitation) and being an ardent  gardening enthusiast, the theme  Flowers and Passion  was  an extra draw to witness it. MCR has 21 affiliated members - organisations  representing  different kinds of disabilities eg. autism, deaf,  In 1981 the Abilympics was founded in Tokyo to coincide with the International Year of the Disabled Persons under  the UN to bring into focus  the awareness of the disabled in  society and the need to integrate them side by side with the general population.

The competition was already underway when I arrived at the National Art Gallery. Individuals from different organisations  were at work, most of them engrossed in their drawings.  I casually strolled by not wanting to distract them. All sorts of colours of the palette were there - some muted and soft, others were bold and vibrant. Behind the on -going activity, I could sense the spirit of these artists in their art. It is what they know best and it is their outlet for expression .

Among the artists were a couple of  the foot and mouth artists. I doubt anyone just walks by without stopping to admire their sheer dexterity to etch and paint . It is a labour of love and patience.

Painstaking work

Finished work by  one of the foot and mouth artists

Deft strokes

This event  opens  a visitor's eyes to a new world of  many untapped talents. It is about empowering  the  skills of this disadvantaged sector of society and creating opportunities for them  and enhancing their self esteem. Whatever their disabilities, watching them, it's timely to take the 'dis' out of 'disability'.  These individuals win hearts and souls with their innermost expressions through art.

The  overall winner  gets to  represent Malaysia  in Seoul in September where  an international group will compete there. But surely there are no losers in this competition. There  never was even before the start of this competition though judging has to take place. I couldn't stay  till the results were announced. But being witness to art which speaks from their hearts, it touches anyone.

Flowers and Passion  theme brings to mind a quote I love by Lady Bird Johnson : 'Where flowers bloom, so does  hope'.  Indeed there is much to hope for. This event focuses on ability and human dignity. Perhaps some will be self-sufficient. We can all help in little ways or more.

My vibrant world

Colourful and lively

A happy day for the dragon fly

Flowers  flourish in my garden, my world

A study in still life

Art it is!  

Flowers to serenade you?

Strong lines , bold capture

Hibiscuses  galore

Interesting  compostion  in progress

In muted tones

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Chinese New Year in Resorts World, Sentosa, Singapore

Hail the God of Prosperity! Not one but many - a delightful sight as they mingled among the crowd.

Hullo friends,am back after a short break - getting ready for the Chinese New Year and having spent a few days in Singapore to usher in the Year of the Rabbit.

Here's wishing  my friends, Gong Xi Fa Cai! Do hop over and enjoy some glimpses of Resorts World, on the island of Sentosa  off the southern coast of Singapore. Resorts World is an integrated resort with casinos, theme park, Universal Studio, lots of exciting food  outlets and shops . There is so much to see and do, so go visit and treat yourselves to a wonderful experience.

Basket of peonies to greet the year of the Rabbit

My world is bright, happy and colourful!

Exit the tiger for the rabbit

You can't miss it! The giant topiary rabbit wishes you lots of luck

Alice in Wonderland Rabbit  adds to the  bunny flavour of the season!

Am receiving lots of gold coins ( chocs). I know I'll be very lucky this year!

The Dragon , the fifth animal among the 12 in the Chinese Zodiac calendar  - vibrant and bold ,prancing in the air

Resorts World logo dressed in auspicious red 

Roll out the Easter Bunny eggs  

Sure worth its weight in gold!

The Monkey, one of the Chinese Zodiac animals making its cheeky appearance
The Merlion  celebrates too

By the boardwalk, fun  among the rise and fall of mini  water fountains

Recognisable the world over

Resorts World floral display wowed everyone

The Lion roars a huge welcome and Singapore continues to astound the world

A magical stroll for children and adults alike
Cute piggy though he comes in last among the 12 Zodiac animals

Great atmosphere  at the floral display