Saturday, 24 February 2007

Making 'Hei' While The Sun Shines and Funky Gibbons

Yesterday our staff celebrated Loh Hei, which involves the very pleasurable pursuit of tossing large quantities of raw fish and vegetables into the air while reciting various auspicious sentiments related to the New Year desire for prosperity, health and general well being.

You are a natural 'tosser' I hear you say, so you would be in your element. Quite so!

The above mentioned vegetable/fish dish is actually named Yee Sang and the Lo Hei which is one of the statements made as one's chopsticks are held aloft, refers to liveliness, prosperity and longevity.

Newcomers to this ritual were well briefed by one of our Chinese Singaporean colleagues although I should record that some were a little too enthusiastic in their aerial acrobatics as growing piles of noodles on the floor bore testament.

As a staff bonding session it sure beats the more conservative European team building exercises much beloved by management consultants.

Do, Do, Do the Funky Gibbon was a lyric from a song of the same name by the Monty Python cast.

Even though the song is never likely to make a come back to the charts, gibbons are very much to the fore at the Singapore Art Museum.

Late morning we payed our first visit to the converted St Joseph's College (above) and thoroughly enjoyed the exhibitions.

Chen Wen Hsi was a pioneer artist in Singapore and mastered both traditional Chinese and Western art forms and media.

He had a fascination with birds and animals and his gibbon and wading birds paintings were very stimulating and full of life.

The other thing that impressed me about the SAM was the permanent collection of South East Asian art.

A very impressive addition to the Museum was the Venezia Cafe where I enjoyed their lunch special of a generous helping of Slipper Lobster linguini, soup, bread and coffee for $15++.

The Slipper Lobster was not wearing any footwear but did resemble the Australian Morton Bay Bug and I suspect that its name comes from the splay of its tail which does vaguely resemble a slipper.

We will definitely return to the SAM from time to time to take in the exhibitions. The 111 bus from outside our condominium took us practically on the museum's doorstep so we are fortunate with the public transport.

On the way back we dropped into Deli France and picked up some of their discounted chicken patties, which we had previously observed drop to $1 in price after 1pm.

Tonight is the big Chingay parade down Orchard Road. Although the event is now largely associated with Singapore, it actually started as a float parade in Penang in 1905.

I watched the show on television and then quite by chance discovered the Malaysian equivalent on their television channel. The Malacca Chingay appealed to me more as it retained a focus on the traditional Chinese performances associated with the New Year. The repetition of unstructured 'dances' by community groups in the Singaporean parade made it a bit tedious. That said, Singapore had floats and Malacca did not.

No comments: