Friday, 21 December 2012

Low-key Tang Chik at home

So what have I been doing today on the winter solstice or, as we Chinese like to term it, Tung Chik or Tang Chik, the Chinese Christmas? 

First, it was to the market to buy a small plastic bowl of glutinous rice balls. That was what I thought it was but my aunt told me that these were not made from glutinous rice but potato powder.

She wanted a break from the old ways (and I'm surprised because it was usually a difficult task to persuade elderly people to do just that). In fact, the break extended to her not preparing any rice balls at all yesterday. I was a bit perplexed. It was already about 11 o'clock at night and she was still happily watching television instead of kneading rice flour into balls. But I left it at that. Didn't want to question her. Sometimes it can be d-a-n-g-e-r-o-u-s to ask too much. I certainly know when to keep my big mouth shut. Could be that she didn't want to tell me that she had already finished that job.

So how did the potato balls taste like? Well, it was different. Not smooth like the traditional glutinous ones but sort of slightly lumpy. But they were edible and grew on me after a while.

Later in the morning, it was a trip down to the Quah Kongsi in Carnarvon Lane for the Tung Chik prayers to the Kongsi's resident deities and the ancestral tablets. Didn't see too many people at first but soon later, the members turned up.

Had a lot of informal discussions with the committee members on how to take the Kongsi forward. This settled quite a lot of outstanding issues and I'm glad.

Being busy meant that I didn't get to take many photographs and indeed, this was the only one snapped of the ancestral altar.

Happy Tung Chik, everyone! The next occasion to look forward to is next year's Li Chun. Invariably, it's going to fall on 4 Feb, as always, with the exact time being 15 minutes after midnight (UTC 1615 hours on 4 Feb 2013).

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