Friday, January 20, 2006

Who's running the show in Malaysia?

[Post deleted]

O.K. I've taken the original entry off this blog because I've decided I don't wish to get worked up over it anymore.

Sudahlah. What's the point anyway?

Chinese New Year is just round the corner ... time to give this stuff a rest and at the same time, work on getting into the right mood to welcome in the Year of the Dog.

BTW, why is everyone telling me that this year is not so good for the businesses trying to cash in on the shopping spirit to usher in the CNY? Looks like the people I come into contact with agree on one common observation - that the festive spirit is very subdued this year.

And I noticed that the price for the usual tubs of cookies have increased from RM15 to RM18 this year. One kilogram of raw dried prawn crackers costs RM23 compared to RM18 last year. And even mandarin oranges are more expensive. And yeah, the nian gao (sweet and sticky new year pudding made from glutinous rice flour) costs RM2 more for the same size. The vendor told me its partly because cost of cooking gas has gone up, which is true.

I love nian gao, sandwiched between a slice of sweet orange potato on one side and a slice of yam on the other, dipped into wheat flour batter and deep-fried until crispy. It's one of those things that make me look forward to Chinese New Year.

I also like it soft, cut into small pieces and rolled in grated coconut with a dash of salt.

Which brings to mind, my experience of eating nian gao in Shanghai during a trip coinciding with Chinese New Year in 2001. It was served at breakfast in the hotel I stayed in, and whitish in colour instead of the rich caramel colour of the type we have here. One bite into it made me realize that the Shanghainese have a totally different version of nian gao in China. It tastes salty instead of sweet, and I have to admit I didn't like it at all. At that very moment, I suddenly felt a strong mixture of longing for home, my home here in Malaysia. I guess that feeling must be very familiar to Malaysians who had to work or study in a foreign country.



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