Quote of the Day

To often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

I like this one…let’s try it……they cost nothing so what do we have to lose….!!!!

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Phai Thien Kong

9th Day of Chinese New Year

On the eve of Chinese New Year we were expecting a lot of firecrackers and fireworks but it was actually relatively calm. The reason is that in Penang there are many people who are Hokkien, a member of a people traditionally inhabiting south-eastern China and the Hokkien Chinese New Year is celebrated on the 9th day of the first month of the lunar calendar.
This special celebration is known to Hokkien people as the “Phai Thien Kong” which literally means “praying to the Heaven God”. This day is especially important to Hokkiens because they believe it is the birthday of the Jade Emperor (Thien Kong) who protected the ancestors of Hokkien people from a ruthless army in ancient China.
During the massacre all of the Hokkien people hid in a sugarcane plantation on the 8th – 9th days of Lunar New Year, coinciding with the Thien Kong or the Jade Emperor’s birthday. This is why the Hokkien people offer thanksgiving prayers to him on this day. Although these prayers are traditionally performed only by Hokkiens more and more non-Hokkien people have begun to join in to pray for a good year ahead.

In the lunar calendar the day starts at 11pm and so all the Hokkiens start their prayers at 11pm on the 8th day of Chinese New Year. However, preparations start well in advance of this. On this night tables are set up (draped in a red tablecloth) full of food which are to serve to the Jade Emperor. Some of the most popular items are sweet cakes (thni kueh), red tortoise buns (ang koo), red-coloured buns (mee koo), prosperity cakes (huat kueh) and bright pink miniature pagodas.

The Hokkiens make piles of kim cua (folded pieces of gold paper) and these papers are hung from sugar cane before being burnt as a thanksgiving offering to the Thien Kong. After these gold papers are set ablaze, the family members then take the stalks of sugarcane from the altars (a pair of sugarcanes are usually used) and throw them into the flames. There will be fireworks and firecrackers that mark the beginning of the ninth day, as well as the survival of the Hokkien people.

So on Friday 24th February ,and the next couple of days, the noise was somewhat deafening with firecrackers and fireworks going off at various intervals well into the night.

Crossword Answers

Sheriff’s officer spat furiously during argument. (8) TIPSTAFF

Spat furiously means an anagram of ‘spat’ during argument i.e. tiff. Rearrange the words ‘spat’ inside ‘tiff’ and you arrive at ‘tipstaff’ which is a sheriff’s officer or bailiff.

Month one catches girl from East dressing? (10) MAYONNAISE

Month is ‘May’ and ‘one’ catches ‘girl from East’ so a girl with the letters turned around. The girl’s name is Sian which you turn around and insert into ‘one’ making onnaise’. Put onnaise on to May making mayonnaise which is the answer to dressing. Sometimes you can solve the clue by guessing the answer i.e. mayonnaise, and then working out how you arrive at the answer.

Article Irish left in travel complex. (7) AIRPORT

Article is ‘a’, Irish is ‘Ir’ and left is port i.e. port and starboard. Put them together and you arrive at airport which is a travel complex.