Went out for drinks with Felix, Duncan, and Jason at Friends' last night, and got home at about 0130, was 0200+ when I slept though, after emails, reading blogs, friendster, facebook etc etc :p
Mom woke me up at 0515 this morning, I just brushed my teeth and did my hair a bit, then off we went to Li Gu's home with Sis in tow. Li Gu means 2nd uncle in some Chinese dialect :) We waited for everybody to get ready and set off for Rimba Panjang in 3 cars. Ken Vin drove Li Gu, Li Gim (2nd aunt!), and Ken Jin in the elephant arse Camry while Si Gu (4th uncle!) lead in his SEG with Si Gim (4th aunt!) and Ken Ee.
The drive to Rimba Panjang was pretty fun actually, the roads are mostly unlit, but the little traffic at that hour of the day means we don't need to get stuck behind people doing 30km/h on the right lane :) We set off at 0620 and arrived at the grave site at about 0645.
My Xantia's actually in the left corner of this pic. What, can't see anything? Neither can I :p It's THIS dark when we arrived, but we're already used to it, can't remember how many years we've been doing this now.
Preparing to light incense for prayers at the altar. It's a nice feeling, getting down in the dark, inhaling the fresh and cold morning air, smelling the incense and taking in the distant glow of the candles. Plus, you can pee near the oil palm trees and nobody could see you in the dark!!
After lighting incense at the altar, we went down to the graves and started the clearing work. We cleared quite some dead plants from the top of my maternal grandpa's grave, and topped it up with new sand, then we used the remaining sand and repaved the puddle-riddled mudway in front of the grave. I'm sure it won't be long before most of the sand gets washed down the river in front though :p
Si Gu working hard, levelling the sand and paving off the puddles.
Dwa Gu and Dwa Gim (Eldest unc and aunt) arrived on a bike, next was Yew and Keong arriving with the latter's fiance in the Sunny. (Cool, so I'm getting another adopted sis-in-law next month, another nephew/niece sometime this year, and another sis-in-law in December, more good times with my wacky/drunken relatives, I like!!!) Cousin Toong arrived with his son a little bit later too.
Si Gim and Yew retouching the plague's golden wordings. Li Gu's in the background, giving the sand we piled up earlier some tender loving care, nobody dared to put foot on it anymore after that ^^
Scattering colourful papers on the grave. We normally stand on the sand to distribute the papers evenly, but Li Gu made a "masterpiece" of it this year so we left it at that ^^ On the left-bottom corner is one of two "Money Trees". Li Gim mentioned that apparently, we should shake the Money Trees before burning them, or that's what she heard. Apparently too, that was exactly what we DID NOT DO last year, ahh, so that kinda explains why the fortune didn't roll in last year, LOL, anyway, we gave those trees a good shaking this time round, so here's hoping things do a turn for the better for everyone this year ;)
The red ornaments are in need of fresh paint this year, so Mom scrubbed em clean and had them dried with newspaper. Dwa Gu had the brilliant idea of drying it with heat from burning newspaper (smart eh?). Li Gu was suggesting that Keong or Yew blow the other ones dry with their mouth and cheeks instead of letting their dad do all the job ^^
Everybody else at the surrounding graves were burning firecrackers like it's CNY. We are different.
Yes, Li Gim thought it's a good idea to sprinkle small, shiny, coloured pieces of cracker papers instead, like it's Christmas!
ROFLWTHBBQ. Now my grandpa will have something else to brag about in the underworld.
All this while, Ken Ee is still enjoying his sleep in the car:
Even the sleeping position's so stylo...
The Chuah family's 10 month old poodle, Nana! Ken Jin here has got to be the brightest of my younger cousins, ever. 12 years old, and he knows about rising oil prices, how basic electronic and machines operate, how people's attitude differ from one area to another, and who's who in politics (I don't even know this)! He and Ken Ee were in my Xantia on the way home, and he noted how the engine temperature gauge readings went up faster compared to other cars he's rode in. The temperature rise is due to my car's failing engine. Darn observant too eh, this kid? I'm impressed :D
Poor Nana, I placed her on the Sunny's boot, which was so cold it still has mist collected on it, and she was freezing from butt to nose!
The grand finale of the ancient Chinese tradition where we convert real, useful money into fake money and paper stuff, then go on to convert the fake money and paper stuff into useless ashes. The vegetation will benefit from the ashes, though, for they shall thrive, and grow healthier, than ever. Then come back we shall next year and uproot them, again. Brilliant.
After all is done, we packed up and settled down for breakfast at a restaurant by the main road. Li Gim ordered this for us:
Dau Ma Qie, handmade noodles cut with a knife as they go. It's got a stringy, wavy texture to it as you slurp it up and sprinkle the sauce on your shirt. Good food, just wish I can have it here in Ipoh.