Chinese New Year and the Year of the Rabbit

The Chinese New Year ushers in a new symbolic animal year of the Rabbit. A recent post on this blog about the Story of the Tortoise and the Hare points out the weakness of the Rabbit's intelligence compared to the Tortoise. It has inspired me to compose a special greeting for all our friends and family members this Chinese New Year :

The Chinese New Year celebration is symbolic of the Chinese people who Work Hard and Play Hard. For the Year of the Rabbit remember, don't just work hard but work smart and you will surely be prosperous and happy!

Here is a video greeting from our most vocal youngest, on behalf of our family, to all of you  :

Some rhapsody of Chinese New Year songs can be heard by clicking an old family webpage of the year 2002. This is the 10th Chinese New Year celebration from then and one can note reading the family update then and now, how much the family has advanced through time and the different stages of life.

From here on, I will progressively post photos of our celebration in Singapore. I will also most likely hop around here and there with my thoughts at this auspicious time of the year. Good thing with hypertext technology today is that you don't have to read all my intricate thoughts as a post can be quickly read with options of clicking colored key words to lead to more detailed writings only if you wish :

First, a reunion dinner on the eve with Mark and Beverly with their 3 children, visiting from Japan where they are living now from their home in the United States. Beverly is the oldest child of Mom's brother Roy Thong.

Ohh... we need to hop back a couple of weeks earlier where the preparation started at China town in Kuala Lumpur :

Here is Mom exploring a shop in China town. This is not for our Chinese New Year preparation but more for the coming wedding of Su Min which will be on June 18 this year in Salt Lake City.

Below is a recorded live video of our China town visit :

Before starting on the journey to Singapore, Simba still without a valid visa to follow, needs to be sent to the home of our dog sitter friend. He is happy there with a family with children to play with.
The drive to Singapore was clear of heavy traffic with a rainbow amidst dark clouds in the horizon. Fortunately the North-South highway to Singapore was not affected by the floods that had occurred in a few towns in the southern state of Johore. This local flood experience and the other occuring in Queensland Australia where we have friends made me add another link of community interest to my website under the heading of Global Climatic Change. Mom received a phone call later too with sad news from our former maid in Indonesia that her home was like in a sea, meaning it's flooded, yet her home is no where near the sea.
Let us hop back to the scene in Singapore.

More dinners and family reunions are to follow :
A big reunion of the Thongs, Mom's family of brothers and sisters and their children including children's children are seen in the above photo. Everyone got to toss the raw fish dish(Yee Sang), popular during Chinese New Year. See video below :

It was nice to catch up with some of these relatives whom we have not seen for quite a while. It also helped us to update Mom's side of our Family Tree . Pictured above is mainly the children and grand children of Mom's oldest sister who is deceased.
As in all Chinese New Year celebration, the children look forward to get their red packets or 'Ang Pow'!
We also have reunion with friends like Dixon and Chelsea who used to be our close neighbors and our first vistors on Christmas of 2009. They went back home to Utah for Christmas last December, a state with people who have touched our hearts like Chelsea's parents who offered their home to us to host Fei's Wedding in Utah in May of 2010.

Dad is also happy to receive visits from his special group of friends.

Now some visits to Dad's family tree in Singapore :

There was also time to visit my 4th brother and his wife's family who are also Singaporeans.
We also had a chance to visit the latest addition to the Chong family tree, Chong Jun Yu, born to Woon Pin and Belinda. Jun Yu is the first in his generation to carry the Chong family name as the first great grandson of my father who is deceased. You can check his position in the Family Tree

The Celebrations end with 'Chap Goh Meh' , the 15th night into the Chinese New Year.

Mom cooked a delicious dinner comprising of shark fins soup, roasted pork, steamed chicken with fresh cucumber and fish stomach dish eaten with fresh lettuce.(Hainanese version of the Hokkien 'Joo Hoo Cha')

After dinner, we proceeded into our unique family tea ceremony tradition described in an older post .

Back to Malaysia

Back in Malaysia, I was treated dinner with a nice change of menu in the form of Banana Leaf rice in an Indian restaurant.
My Toastmasters Club in KL continued the tradition of tossing raw fish

This year, our celebration and family reunion was mainly confined to Singapore. In past years we would alternate each year between Singapore and Malaysia. Since my father's death, we now have reunions mainly in Singapore. Other than my 4th brother whose part family is in Singapore too, we miss a Chinese New Year reunion with the rest of my extended family members in Malaysia. Who they are can be viewed by clicking blogs of previous years' reunions below. For some the reunion may be due to a wedding and some in unhappy events of a funeral.

2009 Jan : Fei's surprise visit to KL to visit my father, oldest brother and 4th brother
2008 Mar : Our Ipoh extended family members reunion in a funeral service on Easter weekend
2007 Feb : KL visit to see my father joined by my 2nd sister from London. We also visited my 3rd brother and family in Kuantan
2006 Aug : Visit of my 2nd brother and wife from Australia to attend the wedding of my 3rd brother's oldest son
2006 Jan : Reunion with my father in KL with my oldest sister's family members from Penang 

Special Recognition for those who worked hard over the festive season in our family

 Mom for the extra and special home cooked meals at home
 Woon Shuan for being Mom's most reliable kitchen hand
Woon Ern for going the extra mile with his fitness in helping with housework
 Woon Han for his amazing ability to resurrect for doing the dishes from....
.... his resting brain state!
Last but not least,Woon Ray for keeping the young visitors happy and occupied
No thanks to the parking inspector who worked hard to give us a ticket due to expiry of our parking coupon

Of course, we miss our two girls dearly who were last seen together during Fei's wedding in May 2010 held in Utah, USA. It will be Su's turn to be married in June 18 this year and we're working on getting the whole family together for the first time in USA for the Big Event! Hope some more extended family members can join us.

Have a hopping time of joy for the rest of the year is my wish to you all, remembering to always Work Hard and Play Hard, but not just work hard but Work Smart!