Saturday, October 07, 2006

Mid Autumn blues......

The moon cakes (月饼) festival is also know as Mid (中) Autumn (秋) Festival (节), or Chung Chiu Jie. Mid Autumn Festival falls on the 15th day of the Eighth lunar month of the Chinese calender. For year 2006, it is on October 6th. Mid Autumn festival is one of the important traditional Chinese festival. This is one significant occasions for Chinese around the world to have family reunion.

As a young boy, I used to observe my mother setting-up temporary altar table with fresh flowers, Menglembu groundnut, moon cake, steam yam, lotus seeds, etc to offer prayer to Chang Er ( the Goddess of Moon ) on this special day. We would then enjoy the moon cakes around the offering table under the bright moonlights. We also enjoy our lighting up and parading special homemade lanterns around the village roads.

My mother used to relate to us the story of how Chang Err steal the elixir of immortality from her tyrannical husband and fled to the moon. I have forgotten most of the story. As a young boy, I actually believed there is a Chang Er living in a beautiful palace in the moon. My mother believed in that too. However, that belief was shattered by the Americans. In 1967, American launched the Apollo13 into the moon, and Neil Armstrong was the first man to step foot on the moon. He planted the American flag on the moon. But Chang Err was not in sight to greet the American explorers.

After the Apollo 13 discovery, my family never offer prayers to the moon and Chang Er anymore on the 15th day of the 8th Lunar month. According to my mother, she is not going to offer prayer to the American flag

How I spend my mid autumn festival this year ? I actually wanted to take my family out for a nice dinner. I end up eating chicken rice at the Taipan's Nam Hiong restaurant. My son was too engrossed playing with his new notebook chatting away in Internet with his girlfriend, and my daughter felt that it is more worthwhile spending the evening with her boyfriend. So, this middle aged man with mid life disorientation actually sitting there quietly eating chicken rice in mid autumn. No moon cake in sight ! My wife indicated too me that my too authoritative and grumpiness causing my children to avoid me. Well, repeating my advices and opinions is consider grumpy ! Hello, since time in memorial, which father is not authoritative and grumpy ?

Despite my too overly westernize education, deep down in me, I am still a cultural moron and chauvinistically a Chinaman at heart. Having said that, I would like to believe that I am also a very democratic and amiable person. Given the choice, I would still prefer my family to assemble in front of me having the meals together and absorbing the lingering laughters. But what can I do, my children are no longer little boys and girls, they have their own lifestyles and priorities, and I have to respect their freedom of choice and movement. I have to let go. Letting go of course is difficult, but I am slowly getting used to it. And, sometimes, I actually enjoy the moments of solitude.

Coming back to moon cakes, do you know, when I was a young boy, 4 pieces of moon cakes actually costs less than RM 1. But now, 4 pieces of moon cakes costs about RM 40, an inflation of 4000% over a period of less than 40 years ! Unbelievable ! But those "blue Chip" ( Lan Chiow ) shares invested 10 years ago at RM 26,000 a lot is now worth less than RM 500 a lot. 20 years ago, my wife used to called me "honey", now she calls me "Ooui". Funny, how values change over a period of times, I indeed do have the best of times, and the worst of times.

I do hope, next year this time, the Indonesians across the Kalimantan has the basic decency of not starting another round of indiscrete open burnings. I hope the air will not be as hazy as this evening. Hopefully, my children will make some efforts to celebrate the moon cakes festival with this grumpy middle aged man. It would really be nice to observe the bright full moon, eating the moon cakes, chewing lotus seeds, and drinking my favorite hot aromatic coffee in the company of my family members. Deep down in me, I am still a sentimental man, balancing differing priorities, trying my utmost best in this sentimental journey to make everyone life easier.

My eyelids are a bit heavy now. May you all have a very happy mid autumn celebrations. Good NiteZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

No comments: