Monday, January 26, 2009

It's a new year!

Happy Chinese New Year!

As I'm writing this, fire-crackers are going off left, right and centre. We just came back from my family reunion dinner not too long ago, and it was great to just meet up with my cousins and uncles and aunties. Tomorrow will be another round of visiting - this time the paternal side of my relatives, so it's going to be a long day. So, just a short post to wish al of you a blessed and joyous new year.

May we take time in the new year to enjoy the simple things in life, as Adelle is doing in this photo.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A night out in town

Chinese New Year's just round the corner and that means several things:

1. My wife and I and will be giving out ang pows to my yet-to-marry cousins and nephews and nieces.
2. We'll be getting some ourselves (of course not us personally, but through Adelle, which we promise we'll save!)
3. We'll be doing our rounds meeting up with family members over the course of several days.
4. There'll be some shows being performed in town as a run-up to Chinese New Year.
5. There'll be that massive yearly pre-Chinese New Year open-air market which will be absolutely crowded with people.
6. Around now, town will be absolutely crowded with people (...and with that crowded with cars).

I won't lament point 5 although I was stuck in one just this afternoon since I think I've done enough complaining about it already previously. Neither will I talk about the Chinese New Year market in town (btw, just in case you didn't know it's on Saturday Jan. 24 starting as early as 1 pm and it'll last till 3 am the next morning!) since I went there last year and I don't plan to go there this year. Rather, I'm more interested in point 4, the shows.

My wife and I, with Adelle in tow, decided to check out the Chinese New Year variety shows that were being put up in town. It's been going on since last Sunday and tonight was the last night. We're not very keen on going to really crowded places because it can get quite hard to move around, but since we'd never been to the Chinese New Year shows, we thought we'd just go and have a look. We went there quite late, though. We arrived in town at about 8.15 and it was already quite crowded. But by sheer providence, we managed to get a parking very near to the event venue.

The event was well in full-swing by then but we managed to see some good performances from children. Wife was with Adelle while I took the chance to go nearer the stage to get some shots since there were no restrictions. I was particularly impressed with this primary school girl who could really dance and sing, and in tune as well. While her plastered smile didn't really melt any hearts (at least, not mine), her presentation was enjoyable enough.

After a few performances, I rejoined my wife and Adelle and decided to walk around the area since there was a night market there as well. There were hundreds of stalls and quite a number were selling Chinese New Year decorations. But a good number were also selling other things: knives, sunglasses, drinks, foodstuff, bags, shoes, cds, health almost seemed like the usual Sunday Gaya Fair, only this time this was at night.

Anyhow, didn't buy anything so went back to the stage area to catch a few more performances before heading home.

I rather enjoyed the whole thing. Think I should go to more of these events in the future.

Below is a shot of one of the performances of the evening. I've got a few more pictures of the event here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wet, wet, wet

Looks like this bratty wet weather's going to stay with us people here at the Land Below the Wind for a few more says the Malaysian Meteorological Departmet. Wet and windy. Of course, in the mornings, it's just fine and dandy (which is good for me since I do have to take a speedboat to my workplace!). But come evenings, you see the trees shaking, the rain pelting on the rooftop, and sometimes you see the flash followed by the rumble.

Yikes! That was lightning...think I'll better sign off! Wouldn't want to fry my computer from power spikes!

Hope the weather at your end is better...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Work those legs

You remember those times when you were in secondary school and there came that time of year when you had to run who-knows-how-far just for the sake of picking up some cut-up pieces of card and perhaps, getting a point or two in the process? Sure, you do. And the tradition of putting one leg in front of the other over and over again for countless miles (it sure seems like it was countless then) still continues to this very day. Apart maybe from the route you take.

Just in case you're still wondering what I'm talking about, it's the annual school cross-country race. You know the one. You gather with the entire school body in all your running gear (what little you have of it), and at the sound of a horn or something of that sort, you shoot off (or is it lumber) through the arduous circuit that has been laid out before you and, hopefully, reach the finishing line still breathing, still living.

Well, those days are long past me now, but I get the gleeful pleasure of watching other people doing all the hard work! My school just had its cross-country race last Saturday (I know, this post is a bit late) and being the yearly affair that it is, we did that one-in-a-year thing as well: motivating students to run for the respective sports house. Most did so quite willingly, but there were also the few who didn't quite see the whole reason for it and opted for a leisurely stroll instead.

Now, if you are in my generation, then the only cross-country race that you probably know about isn't very cross-country at all. I mean how is running along roads with traffic police in tow to divert traffic cross-country? If you want cross-country, come to my school. Here, students run on sand, run along footpaths (as opposed to roads), go past streams, go up hills and go down them - this is the real cross-country race. And my students go through this every year. Actually with all that rough terrain to negotiate, I'm surprised that the first aid people on duty don't have more casualties to deal with. But I guess my students are all used to that.

So, I'm wondering: how would their more urban counterparts fare?

Did I mention I was the designated picture-taker? If you're interested, I've got a kind of photo-essay of the whole event in my more photography-centric blog here.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

New aspirations?

Two weeks have passed since the new year, and quite frankly I don't feel any different. Maybe it's for the want of a new year's resolution, but I've never really ever made one. But, one thing's for sure...this blog has been highly neglected. I've been wanting to write, but just haven't the resoluteness to sit and get down to it. So much for a new person for the new year...

Anyway, life's been pretty good. Adelle's attending playschool now. She's been going ever since the start of school term and though it's already been two weeks, wife says she still cries when she gets there. But, she's slowly adapting. And my wife and I are pretty much resolved on the matter.

The school holidays were great and the trip back to KL was pleasant. I didn't take as many pictures as I had hoped but at least I got lots of practice and fell in love again with a rather disused lens I have, so much so that it's currently my favourite! I hope to get a lot more practice with this manual focus lens and I think with Chinese New Year less than two week away, I think I'll get it no?

Time for me to sleep. Thanks for visiting. I'll share a couple of flower shots I took while at my in-laws.