We spent Chinese New Year in Singapore this year because the flight tickets were just so expensive to fly back to Sibu during the festive season. It was good fun being with Liling's family and our friends here but I do miss celebrating Chinese New Year in Malaysia. What's more, fireworks are legal again in Malaysia, not that it makes that much of a difference.
This year would be the first Chinese New Year my parents celebrate since they moved back to Sibu, and my dad's cousins decided to visit our family home on the first day. He sent me photos and it was nice to see such festivities in that house. Maybe next year we would be back, who knows.
My Ah Ma has aged a lot in recent years and now she moves around with a walking stick. She is no longer able to climb stairs. She sleeps in her room on the ground floor.
She still insists on cooking and doing household chores like ironing. I think that's how she keeps herself busy and active physically up to the ripe age of 90 years old.
She used to cook more back when she was stronger. Her braised duck, and eggs, are still the best to me. Although I no longer take meat or eggs, sometimes I'll sneak a small bite of this. Otherwise, I would have to be contented with just the aroma. My aunt and my Ma tried doing the same dish with her recipe, but theirs taste slightly different. Different hands.
This is my Ah Ma's room.
The cabinet on the left was bought before the Japanese occupation of Malaya. It's made of solid old wood. When I was young, my uncle bought both my brother and I remote control cars. It was my first remote control car and I didn't want any of my cousins playing with it, so I hid it on top of this cabinet. When I tried to get it one day, it slipped and I watched the red Ferrari zoom and crash on the floor. That was the end of that car.
The table my Ah Ma is using was my late Ah Gong's study table. My Ah Ma copies the whole bible u p to 4 times a year on this table. It's her form of enjoyment and peace. In her room I would guess that her most priced possession is her Bible.
The portrait on the top right is a portrait of my Pa's eldest sister. I never got to meet heras she passed away giving birth, before I was born. It was a really sad day for the family. I cannot imagine the pain of a parent losing a daughter. My Pa still recalls the bad feeling he had when the phone rang late that night. She was beautiful and kind.
This family home in Malaysia is special to me. Although I did not grow up there (the older house where I frequently visited as a child has been demolished), I feel at home whenever I visit.
We had just moved into a new place before Chinese New Year. We have renovated it minimally to our style. I hope our family will mature and grow in this new place, and make it a home for our growing family of 3.333 persons and plenty of stuffies.