Monday, January 30, 2012

Chinese New Year Day 9, The Jade Emperor's Birthday

The Year of the Dragon continues to be celebrated by the Chinese community here in Malaysia. Today is the ninth day of the Lunar New Year and the birthday of the Jade Emperor.  According to Chinese tradition the Jade Emperor is one of the most important gods, who governs the heavens. Today the Chinese will close shop early to pray to the Jade Emperor, as he judges their good deeds here on earth. So for all of those expats who frequent local food courts and coffee shops, you better look elsewhere to eat.

This past week has been a very busy and hectic week celebrating the Chinese New Year. I have had a great deal of wonderful food to eat and more than my share of drinks too. I gave up visiting the gym last week, as I was either to busy eating or just plain exhausted. Now that it is half over, the eating celebrations have waned, but the fireworks and firecrackers continue nightly.  On the actual day of the Chinese New Year I think I counted no less than 15 fireworks displays observed from my balcony. There were tens of thousands of firecrackers going off well into the early hours of the morning. Sometimes the firecrackers would continue going off for 5 minutes or more. I could see many small children running around with sparklers having a great time while the older kids had the heavy duty fireworks. Unfortunately, there was one obnoxious idiot shooting off rockets from his townhouse terrace directly into the townhouses opposite his. Luckily there was no fire, but the window was shattered. Even when security warned him, he arrogantly refused to stop his irresponsible behavior. There is always one idiot who thinks he is above others. Other wise the fireworks have been quite enjoyable.

There have been several Lion Dances in the neighborhood, the condo and even in the gym. I was chastised by an elderly Chinese woman in my building for sweeping up the debris from the exploded firecrackers. According to her beliefs, I was sweeping away all of my good luck. Too late now. The fireworks will continue for the next 5 days and then things will go back to normal. I hope all of the expats living in Malaysia have had the chance to take part in some of these Chinese New Year festivities. For all of those thinking of moving here or just visiting here, you should plan on celebrating the next lunar new year.

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