Where Dreams Come True…

… Or where you can make your dreams come true…

… Or where it is possible to chase your dreams…

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Even the gods must stand…

There is an “advantage” in living in a neighbourhood with strong traditions.

Or at least, merchants with a strong sense of tradition, and religiosity.

At the market, there is an altar to Tua Pek Kong (I believe), with incense, and oil for the altar lamps. And people (I do not know who they are – customers, or merchants of the area), would stop to pray, show respect, or ask for favours.

And every now and then, there would be festivities.

Like this Saturday in April, when there was a dinner, and an auction.

Not the kind of auction where you try to pay below market price for the item up for bid, but a “seventh month” type auction, where businessmen try to pay auspicious prices for mundane goods to show their prosperity and to “buy” good luck.

Or something like that.

I am not too familiar with the rationale for the practice.

Anyway, at the other end of the dinner/auction area was a stage.

Z was intrigued. I suspected that it was a puppet show and said so.

Immediately Z expressed interest to catch the puppet show. I explained that it would probably start at 8. So we should go home, have dinner, and come down then.

I was hoping Z would forget about it by then.

But I should have known better.

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Ten Cents (plus) Kopi-O

Some people get excited over discovering great coffee.

Recently, I’ve started getting excited over discovering really affordable coffee. I mean cheap coffee.

I’m not usually a fan of “coffee bags”. These are filter bags of coffee grounds, which may contain sugar. Preparation is simple – add the coffee (mixture) bag into a drinking vessel, and add hot water. Steep for a while, and it’s ready to drink.

I don’t usually like them because the bags get in the way of drinking the coffee, and if you attempt to discard the bag before drinking, the bags would usually drip and make a mess if you are not careful.

And when you take the bag out, the coffee level drops drastically, and you are left with just over half a cup of coffee.

Then one day I got a free bag of Gold Kili coffee (from PL’s grandmother). Kopi-o to be exact. “Premium”, it claims. It tasted like kopi-o you’ll get at kopi-tiams. So it meets expectations!

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Posted in Food, Health, Observations, Personal, Picture | Leave a comment

Serendipity, Aurora Borealis, Parenthood, Loy Krathong, Duck Master, and what Life presents

My sister and brother-in-law caught the Northern Lights.

My brother in Canada has caught/seen it several times.

PL was commenting on it. She said that having seen photos of it, she doesn’t think it’s something that she would want to make an effort to go see.

She’s a very practical person and I suspect she does not see how seeing the Aurora Borealis would change her life in any substantive manner.

I agree with her.

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Duty, Courage, and Responsibility

In the last week or so, there were two stories that evoke a response from me.

One was the story of Scott Peterson, the Deputy Sheriff at Florida Parkland school shooting who took cover while the gunman was shooting and killing 17 people – students and teachers – in the school.

One sympathetic comment was that he was armed with a handgun, while the gunman was armed with an AR-15.

The fact that the Deputy was 54 years old was particularly relevant to me. He was about my age.

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Posted in Ageing, Church, Life Lessons, Musing, Observations, Personal | Leave a comment

A Dance of Dragons

Z is still fascinated, enthralled by Lion Dances, and all it takes is the rumbling beat and staccato backbeat of the Lion Dancers drums to draw her attention.

This evening, she was napping in my bed, when the lion dance drums called to her (there was a performance not far away), and she woke.

But earlier in the afternoon, when we were shopping at Toa Payoh Central, she heard the drums.

PL took her to catch the performance while I paid for the “French Loaf” I was buying.

I followed the sound, and thought, this drum beat sounded different. It was “funkier”. There was a rolling beat, with sharper cymbals.

Then I saw the Dragon.

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Dancing Lions 2018

I have a personal grading system for Lion Dancers and their performances.

We just watch a performance at Novena Square, with a Lion Dance Troupe hired to perform on columns and and they are at least a Level 3.

With the highest level requiring or demonstrating greater skills and athleticism.

Level 1 is the lowest starting level and basically requires one to put on the costume and prance around a bit. There would be little or no acrobatics or display of athleticism.

These “dancers” would have been familiarised with the basic moves (cocking the head of the lion, working the mouth, eyes, ears, and tail, and the basic steps or choreography and synchronisation with the drum beat. It is more difficult that it looks.

At level 1, the Lion Dancers can do VIP greetings (they wait to receive the VIP at some celebratory function, then prance around joyfully when the VIP arrives), New Year greetings, and door to door or stall to stall wishes/greetings at shops and businesses. The cramped confines proscribes any acrobatic feats anyway.

Level 2 would be slightly more advanced. Here the Lion Dancer would need to have some acrobatic skills. Standing on the hind legs (the front dancer has to be carried by the back dancer, or has to rest or step on the back dancer.) There would also be jumps, rolls, and other complicated actions requiring skills and coordination. Such a skilled team would be suitable to lead or headline a commissioned performance for auspicious wishes for a business. We saw one last year when there was 9 Lions. But only one lion was a level two, doing all the “hard work”. The other 8 were Level 1 back-up dancers providing numbers, and adding to the sense of auspiciousness.

But at Novena Square that evening, Z (and we) caught a Level 3 Lion performance.

There is skill, coordination, courage, trust, and teamwork for two men to walk on 2 m high columns that are only about the size of a dinner plate, and DANCE bent over in a Lion costume (rear dancer). Add in jumps and leaps and contortions on the columns, and you have to realise that there are hours of practice behind that level of confidence and expertise.

Of course to my jaded eye (seen other performance on Youtube), I am sure there are higher levels of lion dancing skills.

But that was spectacular.

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