Since my last post, I have experienced the 15-day Chinese New Year celebration (and other things)! It all began at my friend's estate! Again, it will be easier to explain through pictures...
So, we began the dinner with this Chinese salad. There are various vegetables, raw fish, and various sauces. After everything is put into this bowl, everyone proceeds to 'toss' the salad with their chopsticks while saying good wishes for the new year! After the tossing is complete, we all take a portion and eat. Delicious!
This is the traditional Singaporean cuisine for the new year (I am not positive that it is the same in other Asian countries). It is called Steamboat. There are 2 pots of soup on top of burners; one is spicy and the other one is mild (can you guess which is which?).You put in fish balls, fish stomach, meatballs, and some vegetables to create some flavor. Then, you proceed to cook slices of various vegetables, raw fish and meat, fish balls, prawns, scallops, clams, crab, etc...and eat it with your soup!
If you eat the spicy steamboat, rice is definitely needed to give your mouth a break (that was my case...my mouth was on fire and somewhat numb for a bit after having a good portion of the spicy soup). I also had a century-old egg; it was SO GOOD!
Some of the ingredients we cooked. This table was filled end to end at the beginning of the meal!
Rock Band break! We have (from left to right): groupie, dancer (little boy), singer, back-up dancer, 'petal-er' for the drummer, drummer, guitarist, and I am the audience. This was my first time playing Rock Band, and I found out that I am horrible at drums. So, I was content cheering on the band after I rocked out on the guitar. After this we proceeded to have dessert (various ice cream and rice-ball soup) and play Gin Rummy with the older men! I had to get used to the different rules but had a lot of fun (I love gin rummy)!
The college kids. The girl in the center is our host and friend, Jade!
With Jade's parents!
Only Jade's mother's side of the family! Everyone was really friendly!
Alright, now, let us move onto the Chingay Parade. This parade concludes the 15-day celebration of CNY! It is supposedly the greatest parade in all of Asia, and I would completely believe it! This year was the year of the dragon, so it was extra spectacular! The floats were way beyond any I have seen in the US, and all the cultures of Singapore were represented!
I did not purchase a ticket to see the main stage, so I missed everyone going through a huge pool of water (this year's theme was water). However, when everyone danced around, it was very evident that they swam through a pool (I received a mini-shower)
Yes, that is actual fire coming out of the float. Go big or go home.
This was downright impressive. These poles are huge and very heavy. When the center guy lost his balance, the others (8 of them) had to rush over, catch, and stabilize it before it severely hurt someone in the crowd. One of those lanterns grazed my head...I thought I was done for.
What is that in the middle of the circling dragon? I human pyramid (4 people high) with a small child rocking jazz hands to top it off!
So many dragons! The material was beautiful
The Devil's Dragon. It was made entirely out of wood, and the spikes on its back were a mixture of incense and smoking sticks. This was one of my favorite dragons!
I was thoroughly wet after this dance, but it was well worth it. These girls were fantastic, and their dresses were even prettier in person!
This float represented the Indian culture. The dance that came with it was noteworthy; there was a ton of positive energy and excitement on every dancer's face.
Yes, that is a Taiwanese band in the float. Brilliant.
The cultural attire was incredible! Side-note: I would love to twirl around in those guy's shirt dresses for awhile!
Those balls were constantly changing colors! Super cool!
When 300 Taekwondo black-belts march toward you, you do not question their abilities. Seriously, it was impressive especially when they proceeded to flip and jump around while chopping wooden boards in half.
STAR WARS! Wait, what?
Arguably the best musical part of the parade, they were producing insane music.
This was the closest I came to the grand finale. I had to leave early because I was already running very late for my skype date with my parents...Sorry, Mom and Dad!
City skyline. It is breathtaking in person. I could sit in awe for hours.
All in all, Chinese New Year is a fantastic celebration of tradition and future wishes. Every Singaporean wants every person to have a fantastic year even if you are an ex-pat. People were always wishing you a Happy CNY in shops, on the street, in class, and social gatherings.It is definitely something you should experience if you ever get the opportunity!
As for school, things have ramped up quite a bit. Preparing for presentations, writing papers and outlines, meetings, and reading for every class is proving very difficult. I guess I can only blame myself for taking more difficult courses. Sustainable Operations and Asian Studies are 2 of the best classes I have ever taken in my college career. However, I have gradually been discovering that I do not want to pursue law at this time, so Law of International Trade is becoming a much longer class. And, after Legal Theory and Philosophy, I find myself staring at the wall of the train wondering what the heck just happened for the past 3.5 hours. It is very confusing (apparently, it is the hardest class in the law track here...too bad I found this out after the last day to drop the class).
On a more positive note, I just booked my recess week (only 14 more days!) trip to BALI! I am really excited and have quite a bit planned. Hopefully, the other people I am traveling with will be as adventurous as I am....
There is so much more to tell about life, everyday frustrations, the local culture, Westernization, and school. However, I only have a limited amount of time to write these posts. I wish I could afford to fly you to Singapore, so you could experience it.