Sunday, August 29, 2010

More On The Hungry Ghost ...

Last few days I asked Uncle Tan to check my Chinese birthday as well as hehehe .... astrological luck. This is because my aunties said, as a Chinese (even 1/4 Chinese or 1/10 Chinese), we need to know our Chinese birthday. Not wanting to argue I just follow lor ...

Chinese calender is a lunar calender whereas our Julian Calender is a solar Calender, so my birthday in Julian Calender will fall on different date every year. This year, Chinese birthday falls on 2nd September whereas my official DOB falls on 7 September which happens to be the day all the hungry ghosts go back to Hell.

Uncle Tan came by this morning to tell me that my Chinese birthday is on 24th day of the 7th month and I have too much fire in my Patt Chee. I need water element to balance out my chart. Hmmm.... maybe I should put a small aquarium in the office. Talking about my "English" birthday, maybe I should offer a feast to my ancestors since it is the last day and to ensure they can go "home" in peace (and stop pinching me) hehehe ...

But the funniest part of today was after Uncle Tan told me my Chinese birthday suddenly my Auntie Daisy said in heavily accented Penang slang...

"So ini rumah ada 2 "hantu" lor ..." (literally it means 2 person born in the month of the Hungry Ghost). But sekali dengar ... quite funny laa.

But at least that explain why I am always hungry during this month hehehe

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Hungry Ghost ...

I think most of you know that this is the month of the Hungry Ghost in the Chinese tradition. Normally, it is celebrated on the 7th month of the Chinese lunar calender and it is not the same as Ching Ming. Ching Ming is like the All Souls Day in the Christian tradition whereas Hungry Ghost or Yu Lan is the month when all ghosts are allowed to wander and roam the earth for a month.

I was about to blog something about this month of the Hungry Ghost last night. But then I remembered ... last night was Malam Jumaat (ehemmmm ... not that Malam Jumaat), which during my school days was when the whole dormitory will gather together during light off and sharing ghost stories ... Belum masuk blog dah seram hahaha! But anyway, as I grew older and more "expose" on adulthood I guess old folks invented all this "malam jumaat keliwon" things to encourage young and active "married" (i must emphasis this) couple not to "wander" elsewhere ... wink wink!

In my previous office, all married Sarawakians will tease one another ... "Malam jumaat eh ... cepat balit, ada hantu nunggu di rumah"... translation, "It's Friday Night, let's go home, there is a ghost waiting in the house". And being the single one, I would often said ... "Yea right, aku nang penunggu nunggu di rumah". Not complaining!!!!

Back to the Hungry Ghost, according to my aunts, during this month they will normally pray to the ancestors and offer prayers, incense, hell money, and food especially during the 15th day. To them it is important to observe this day as this will ensure that the ancestors live comfortably in the other world. On the other hand, there might be spirits or ghosts whom are forgotten by their descendants so they become so thin and hungry (dunno whether this true or not) hehehe and start "kacau orang" for food. Normally, this type of spirits are spirits of a whole family perish in one go (like wars, accidents or whatever mishaps). So extended families like cousins or relatives forgot to offer prayers and food to them.

I often ask my aunties, how do we know that the ghost of our ancestors had come to feast on the food offerings because as Nyonyas, the offerings are quite elaborate. My aunties said, usually the food become tasteless after being "eaten" by the ghosts. So I often teased my auntie Rose if her cooking was less salty ... "ada hantu makan kah?" But my aunties know how to tease me back too ... one night I found a blue-black mark on my underarm but i couldn't recall hitting on anything...

My aunties said ... "You so naughty so hantu come and pinch you".

I guess my Chinese family really, really take this Hungry Ghost thing very seriously as my cousins came all the way back to Penang to offer prayers and offerings to my grandparents. I always tease them ... "orang banyak berdosa memang kena offer prayers to grandma and grandpa" and they will tease me back ... "yalah, grandma money face one". Hahaha .... have to laugh first.

There was this incident few years back when my grandma was still alive and coincidently all the cousins came back for holidays in Penang. So normally before we returned back to our normal lives, we will give grandma "ang pow". Since I am the biggest earner in the family and I only come back once in every 3 months so I decided to give bigger ang pow. It was really a "bona fide" gesture on my part. But grandma despite her frail conditions only remember my name after that hahaha.

Anyway, the month of the Hungry Ghost often give me the creeps even when I was in KL. Near to my former rented apartment in Jalan Ipoh, there is this Chinese temple. So during Hungry Ghost festival they will put up "concerts" to entertain the ghosts. I always pray that after the concert the ghosts will go elsewhere and don't stop by my apartment. Hahaha especially not that big scary raintree just opposite my apartment balcony.

In Penang, the scariest part about the month of the Hungry Ghost is when I need to answer the call of nature in the middle of the night. My grandparent house in Ayer Itam is a kampung house where the toilet is located away from the main house. And my aunties planted few banana trees surrounding it... At night when it's dark, the toilet look so scary. Maybe that was when I got "pinched". The problem is my grandparent house is very cooling at night since it is on top a hill and there are many trees around the compound. So I often found myself want to pee-pee in the middle of the night sometimes. My aunties of course got themselves chamber pots ...

People also don't wander around late at night during this month. Problem is ... I "pun" often become the "Hungry Ghost" this past few weeks hehehe ... can't sleep without supper hehehe.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Missing Glee ...

These past few days I'd been so moody. I don't understand why but ever since I returned from a short trip to KL last week, my mood was erratic. I didn't feel like working ... but I have heaps of reports and paper works to be submitted to KL for approval. Especially plans for 4th quarter 2010. I went through this week's assignment "halfheartedly" and "heavy headed".

I sleep well, I eat well ... even got belanja buka puasa in some nice restaurant some more (oppssss). I knew I am missing something but don't quite figure out what? Then today I wrapped up the last episode of Season 7 NCIS. Hmm ... not satisfying enough ... Watched 3 hit movies this week ... Inception, Salt, including the so-so Avatar:The Last Airbender. Still not happy ...

Even got myself the book ... Eat, Pray, Love with the hope of getting some enlightenment or at least some light at the end of tunnel. Instead, my eyes felt heavier with each page. The only light I saw was my room light which I forgotten to switch off the next morning hehehe

Then I remembered Norzah's advice, why not put on a nice music. Hmmm ... define nice music Jaime, I asked myself. What kind of music i like to hear to uplift my spirit? As I was looking through my collections of MP3s , never, never in my wildest imagination that the first song I chose was Bad Romance ... not from Lady Gaga ....

But from the Cast of Glee.

I soooooooooooooooo miss Glee. Oh Please let August be over!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Si Beri Hitam

Close eyes, open eyes (pejam celik, pejam celik) ... we are almost a week into the fasting month of Ramadan. Before we know it ... it will be Eid-Fitr. Unfortunately, I could not observe the fasting month properly with my dearest Muslim friends yet ... due to "circumstances" (wink wink). I am sure some "people" (you know who you are) might be raising the Japanese flag too ...

Anyway, I met some Penang bloggers last week discussing about a BIG project. As we were chatting and throwing out ideas for the project, they nicely pointed out that maybe I should update my blog too ... At least not to be left out from the "mainstream" hehehe. And it bugged me for days ... tu lah pandai-pandai mengaku blogger and siap bagi blog address lagi. Without realising that ideas don't come easily these days.

My schedule this past three weeks had been quite hectic again with the Goodwill Games in Narathiwat (27-29 July) followed by launching 1Malaysia Green,1Malaysia Clean Campaign in Penang on 7th August. Anyway, I am not going to talk about my works ... in fact I feel like telling the world about my Beri Hitam ... my Knight in Shining Armour.

To be honest, I was torn between an Iphone and a Blackberry a few months back. On "love at first sight basis", my heart belongs to Iphone (sampai termimpi2 lagi) but after I got the transfer news ... everyone in MOTOUR told me to get a Blackberry, which was totally unknown (and least appealing) to me. Being "Mie", whenever I am going to buy something I considered expensive I must ensure that I got the benefit to MAX. Something I picked up when working with Eddie Wee (now Howarth Eddie Wee).

I recalled the time when I "curi" our lab time checking reviews on Blackberry and Iphone with William (NRE). And how Encik Ghani of Jabatan Bomba tried to influence us to buy Blackberry instead of Iphone. He said that we will be at par with Dato' Idris Jala and President Barrack Obama if we own a Blackberry. The funny part is, after both William and I got our Blackberry we found out that Encik Ghani "rupa-rupa"nya never used most of the functions that he told us .. hehehe.

Dato' Idris mentioned in one of our lab session that he did most of his business on his Blackberry. I didn't quite understand then as most of the time I used it to check my Facebook, sms, receiving and making calls, check my emails and messaging on Blackberry Messenger (BBM) like any modern handphones. Until last month, on my way to Narathiwat ... somewhere between Grik and Jeli.

One of my staff stumble upon an article on a local Chinese paper on the "controversial arches". Wondering whether our KL Office picked up the news in the Central Region Edition I send a BBM message to our PRO. As expected the article was only published in the Northern Region Edition, but based on the translation provided by my staff ... damaging enough to create another sensation. Our PRO requested a scan copy of the article to be sent to them immediately.

For a moment, I was a bit stunned by the request as I already told her that I was on my way to Narathiwat. And we will only reached Kelantan Office in another 4 hours. Another problem was I brought the only person that can read Chinese with me on the trip. Then it was that very moment I remembered my Knight in Shining Armour ... I captured the photo of the article and MMS it to her.

Then I typed the translation of the article and emailed it to all of my bosses, which was a real challenge as the QWERTY keypad was tiny, on a moving bus and with data transmission coverage like CHIPSMORE. And as if God was testing me (or my Blackberry), there was another internal big issue going on in my office and require my decisions. Throughout the journey up until Golok ... I was hooked to my Blackberry. I had to give orders to my office, by call and sms. Discussing on crisis management with PRO and gossiping with friends on BBM. Checking and answering some important emails with my bosses and staff.

In short, I did all my work on this small gadget including managing my office affairs. By the time I reached Narathiwat ... everything settled! But what I am most satisfied about the phone was, despite the heavy usage ... the battery life was great!

Last but not least, I was not paid by Vodafone for this entry.
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