Sunday, February 25, 2007

CNY in Melbourne & Uni Activities

Whenever I stop posting for a few consecutive days, it's always been indicative of a busy life or procrastination. Surprisingly, this time it's the former reason. Since Chinese New Year, I have been rather busy in studies and extracurricular activities. Studies are the uninteresting part, certainly; but the extracurricular stuff has been rather fun.

For the past week, I have been participating in the preparation of the Fotoholics booth for Orientation Days. Basically Fotoholics is a photography club in Melbourne University which was established one year ago. During the Orientation days, there were two days allocated for clubs and societies where all clubs went on their fronts to recruit new members. So we set up a nice exhibition booth with gorgeous pictures, badges and name cards; but the main attraction was the giant cardbox camera which we carried around the university trying to catch some glances from the naive freshmen. We walked and talked under the sun to entice attention from our potential members. It was such a success that at the end of the first day we were running out of member application forms. On my part, I had a lot of fun bringing the huge-ass camera around and ambushing strangers.

So off to the much awaited pictures. Chinese New Year in Melbourne:

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Gong Xi Fa Cai! In the morning, Yong Chin, Xuan Ni and I went to a "new year brunch" in Malaysian Hall. It was organized by Sze Mei, Ee Syn, Chong and other residents. It's the first time I went to the Malaysian Hall, and being there in the CNY kind of cured my home sickness a bit.
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They even folded some fishes with Ang Pow! Way to go for a CNY celebration. We didn't even put up any decoration except Yong Chin and Wee Loon who wrote some 对联 for their rooms. :)
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And finally, there's a 福 tiled with Ang Pow at the entrance of Malaysian Hall! Gorgeous.
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After the nice brunch in Malaysian Hall, we went to the Chinatown. As you can see, there weren't many places to go in Melbourne during Chinese New Year, so as expected Chinatown was again at its peak crowd capacity. Chinese and Angmohs from all walks of life thronged to watch the event of the day - lion dance performances.
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What I figured to be thousands of people were gathering to watch four lions do something which I couldn't quite figure out. Dawned upon me was a perpetual question that always lingered in my mind - basically with such a large crowd, only the first three rows of people would get to see the real thing, so what are the rest of people doing there? :P
This is a short video clip of what the lions were doing. It's nothing special actually, just something we never see in Malaysia.
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So you might ask, how did I get to take the pictures of the crowd from such a vantage point? This is the answer - we went up to the top floor of a multi-storey parking building which was located right beside the Chinatown. Captured in the picture are the people on the floors below us. :)
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The lion dance ended with the lions revealing the calligraphy that says "龙马精神". There are many other pictures, do view them in my photo album in Flickr.
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It's beyond me why people would come to see lion dance and stuff in Chinatown when the sun was literally burning them. While the thermometer reached 38 degree Celsius on the CNY (and the CNY eve as well, actually), all we see were exuberant crowds who visited various booths with an array of goods and services.
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This was an evidence of how thirsty people must have been. It used to be the Slurpee dispenser in 7-eleven.
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We weren't thirsty but we went to pee. It's an obscure public toilet in Chinatown where a character "L" was suspiciously missing.
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After Chinatown, we took a train to visit Ka Lip's house. Due to unknown circumstances, I don't have any picture taken there. However, do read about our visit to Ka Lip's house in a fantastic post written by Jian Wey who also went there. In one word, the visit was FUN. It was doubly meaningful as it's our first visit to his house since we knew him two years ago. His family was so hospitable, and until now I still drool when I think of the food we had there! :P
In short, CNY in Melbourne was interesting but I wouldn't want to spend my time here every year. It was a bit commercialised, and apart from the two-day show in Chinatown and Crown Casino, there wasn't that much of an atmosphere at all. And obviously all of that was made worse by our distance from home. On such a special day, our family is who we want to be with, no matter how interesting or mundane it might be. Yes we did have a celebration with friends over here, and in the process we gained some special experience; but at the end of the day all we thought of was home. I called home at night and all I saw was dad, mum, brother and sisters walking by in the little webcam window. It was bustling with activities as New Year songs played in the background. A tinge of melancholy swept over me as the thought of me being 7000 km away gripped my heart. And to think of the vivid possibility that I won't be at home for two out of three CNY in the coming three years...

It was a short-lived CNY. The celebration was actually over on the first day itself as we went back to routine life on the next day. To those who are still celebrating, Happy Chinese New Year; and to Hokkien Lang, Happy Jade Emperor's Birthday for tonight!

4 comments:

ShouFarn said...

Heh, the hugeass camera was awesome fun. Even got this guy to suddenly go all quiet and say "Hey.. We're being stalked by a camera." *Whole group goes silent*

Though i missed most of the CNY activities. Sigh.

Heres to more fun during the year.

Cheers!

crushedguava said...

lol 'fantastic' pulak.

day-dreamer said...

果然人山人海!

Hmm... I didn't even see a lion dance this year... :D

youngyew said...

Shou Farn: Hah yeah, you had it for hours but I was only playing for like 5 minutes. :P

Crushedguava: It is wat.

Day-dreamer: Haha yeahh, it's so crowded that I don't think I want to go there next year. Guess it would be the same every year anyway.