Chinese New Year 2010 Day Two

This is a flashback to February 15th. The 2nd day of Chinese New Year. The photos I took that day were the last ones I took before my original camera, the Panasonic LX-3 had its untimely death.

I had just brought the camera to the Panasonic Service Center in Akihabara for repairs, and had been forced to convert to using DSLR since then. (In case you hadn't noticed, the production photos of THE TIGER FACTORY, and the ones of my dad's birthday dinner, those were taken with my new Canon 7D).


But back to February 15th. Long-time followers of my blog might have seen my annual postings about my Chinese New Year trips to my grandmother's house in Ipoh.

Grandma's house


That's my grandma, with my sister.

Sister with Grandma


Mom, along with my two cousins, Carmen (in green) and Pui Kuan (in purple, she now calls herself "Wince", I don't know whether it is pronounced as how it is spelt, or whether it's a more exotic-sounding "Vin-chee" or "Vin-say"), I dare not ask.

Mom, sister, grandma and 2 cousins


Thanks to her fat face, my sister had always been my grandma's favourite, even though during my childhood, it had pained me to admit it.

Sister talking to grandma


Here's mom, giving her mom an ang pow.

Mom gives grandma angpow

Artistic shot of Grandma


My grandmother is 78 this year. She suffers from Alzheimer's. In December 2007, I mentioned how she had a bad fall after being attacked by snatch thieves. She ended up in a coma, we feared the worst, but in the end she recovered. However, the fall quickened the effects of her Alzheimer's.

I once had a melancholic view on her ailment. In 2008, I thought returning to Ipoh was a bittersweet experience. But since then, I've accepted things as they are. She now lives in a world conjured probably by fragments of her own memories, where past and present had merged into one. The world in her mind, with such a fantastical foundation, I hope, is more interesting than reality.

Whenever I go into my monologues and tirades about my dissatisfaction with people and how people live their lives, my friend Peng Shien would always say "why the hell do you want to care so much? As long as they're happy, what else matters?"

Which is true. As long as she's happy, what's there to worry about? Although it was a little discomforting to notice that not once throughout my time in Ipoh this year, my grandma had ever uttered my name. Yet she could remember my dad's name perfectly. How unfair!

Lunch in ipoh

Baked beans, chicken and prawns

Having lunch in Ipoh

Mom and grandma talking over lunch


My grandmother has 8 children. 4 are daughters. My mom is the second eldest among the four. (and fifth among the eight) Sitting next to grandma is Big Auntie (or Auntie Soon Mui), and standing beside mom are her younger sisters: 3rd Auntie (I call her Yee Yee Mondo, as in "Auntie Mondo", because she was the one who kept calling me "Mondo"), and 4th Auntie (in white)

Mom, 1st Auntie, 3rd Auntie and 4th Auntie with Grandma


Then, here's 3rd Uncle, joining in.

Mom with 3 sisters and a brother with grandma



My grandmother has a total of 21 grandchildren. Which means that I have 19 cousins on my mom's side. Usually more than half of them come to her house for new year, and they usually play video games in the living room. While the older generations are there as well, hanging out, chit-chatting.

Different generations hanging out at the living room


After I took the photo above. My camera stopped working.

That night in Ipoh, I met up with Ming Jin (whose hometown is also in Ipoh) to hammer out the screenplay for THE TIGER FACTORY.

Then the next day, I went home.