Ang Pow Giving

On the first day of Chinese New Year as Confucianist practice dictates, the entire household of an extended family would tidy themselves up, all nicely coiffured before presenting themselves to the head of the household, (generally the matriarch) to receive special blessings and ang pows (red colored packets containing money symbolizing good luck, prosperity, great health and joy). As receiving ang pows is hierarchical, so it is with the givers, each taking turns distributing whilst juniors kow tow and wish ‘Keong Hee Huat Chye’ as a mark of respect to the givers. In our family we went a step further by serving tea to the elders. It is also customary that once a child got married, they are obligated to give ang pows to their parents. The unmarried are exempted from ang pow giving because to the Chinese, they are still rated a child. Thus, any family members can receive ang pows for as long as they remained single. In our Hokkien tradition, only the womenfolk gives away ang pows. Reason is that the menfolk are supposedly the breadwinners of the family whilst the womenfolk are in charge of household affairs.

This is my extended family.

1st pic- my grandma Gek Kee, receiving blessings from my great grandma, matriarch Saw Kit, at Boon Siew Mansion. Generally as a senior in the family herself, my grandma is no longer entitled to ang pows but I guess that also depends on the generosity of individuals and the wealth of each family.. Matriarch Saw Kit’s life sized bronze statue still graces the Home of the Infirmary, Penang.

2nd pic- Aunt Guat Eng, Aunt Gim Ean (deceased), Aunt Guat Hong, Aunt Loh Ean, Uncle Kah Poh (deceased), unidentified Aunt and my mom (deceased). Aunt Guat Hong and 2nd Tniau Seng Leong kow towed.

3rd pic- Tiny tots group pic with matriarch. Kah Heng (deceased), Kah Bee, and Kah Kheng (deceased).

An extended family has added advantages except for privacy and at least three generations of one household lives and stays together. That was the in -thing of that period for well to do family’s with big houses.

Images copyrighted. Circa 50s.

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Size as yardstick

If size is the yardstick used to gauge the prices of artworks, then I guess I’m worth no different than the other 1.76m tall baboon of similar weight standing next to me. That also means that everything else I am capable of to outwit that baboon is redundant. And that includes even when I am more handsome or intelligent. Does that answer your question?

Lift the Veil

“We must all learn to lift the veil of colors and belief from our eyes so as to see beauty in diversity which engulfs us and places us into this big blue marble that won’t come again, if we fail to cherish it.

We must look at talent and sincerity, not beauty plastered on people’s faces or that which covers or adorn their body.

We need to restore sanity and sanctity by behaving nice and harmless towards everyone, and heighten our sensibility towards nature and its aroma, its sights and sounds and wonders, and be willing to accept part ownership to this globe which belongs first to they who comes before us.

With these things we do, we would hover up the ladder of Utopianism and strut forward towards achieving the idea of self governance without the interference of trying greedy governments. And stop stereotyping people according to caste, beliefs, race, states or even continents.

God gave every creature in this world he create differently sized brains and to us humans, he endows us with the biggest.

But that is for us to develop perfection, not competition and to develop charity, not scarcity so that triumph would eventually be ours so we could conquer the entire universe and witness it’s magical frontier. Ignore those who does nothing but plant seeds of public disobedience and deception.

Accomplishment is learning and knowing when to stop drifting. Sow seeds of goodness to others, preaching love , acceptance and forgiveness instead of harping on faults and learn how to laugh. Look at the brighter, lighter side of life instead of brooding over your lacks. Stop airing your minuscule grouses which may affect other people’s lives. Learn how to laugh at yourself.

Share your wealth. Help the underprivileged, the oppressed, the weak and the sick. And know that everyone has exclusive rights to their own belief, rights to live, rights to choose, and rights to speak, to create and think. For as long as they did not harm, hurt, disrupt, destroy or kill others and the planet we all lived in. Stand up and speak out against unruly lawmakers and bad laws. Silence only breeds them.

When all these are observed, then can we truly be on the road towards one nationhood under the big umbrella we call sky.”

– Kris Lee 2019.