Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Year of the Tiger

It is effect- ively my third Chinese New Year here in Taiwan. It also marked probably the worst week of weather I have ever seen. First- everybody didn't have to work this week except me. Second- everybody left Taipei so I was stuck in this city by myself. And third- It was nothing but downpours of rain, constantly, 24 hours a day, every day of the week. It was the Perfect Storm.

But the cold weather outside wasn't indicative of the warmth celebrated with my family for the second year in a row over in Banciao. I met up with Yuhsin's sister, her parents, brother and sister-in-law and their new daughter Jacqueline, and her two neices whom I absolutely adore. The evening started nice enough- I arrived just in time for dinner. On the menu was the whole fish (which is not eaten) white carrots, jellyfish, chinese coldcuts like sausage and fisheggs, bamboo and turnip soup, etc. I tried it all and they were delicious.

After dinner, we retired to the living room where we played a dice and punishment game. (Taiwanese love punishments! Basically, you can't just "lose" a game, you have to be punished as well.) The game was played simply, there were a set of die underneath a bowl and only one person knew the number underneath. The rest of the group had to guess numbers and whoever guessed the number was punished. Basically, if you won, you really lost! For the punishment, there was a box with a number of compartments- think ice tray. Then on top of this ice-tray like box was a paper covering. You poked through the paper and inside the compartment was a piece of paper containing your punishment. The punishments consisted of varying degrees of tourture- including giving massages, pushups, and smelling baby diapers.

After the punishment game, we broke out the karaoke. I impressed everyone which my only Chinese song I can karaoke which is called "Freedom" in Chinese. There was also a deck of card so we played some card games and I dazzled the youngsters with my magic tricks.

Chinese New Year culminates about 15 days after the new year celebration with the Lantern Festival. Every year, Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall and City Hall host a number of lantern sculptures to ring in the new year. This year the theme was, of course, the tiger and the lantern sculptures resprestend that.

In the center of the sculpture gardens is a giant tiger which lights up, spins and goes along with music. The tiger, cartoonish in nature, is giving the thumbs up. When first conceived, however, the angles on the hand were a bit misleading and it appeared that instead of the tiger giving a thumbs up, it looked like it was flipping the bird. As an event for families, the sculpture was of course revised.

Alas, thus culminates my third Chinese New Year in Taiwan. I have to say, this was probably the best one yet. Although, it could have been made better had my cousins Stevie and Yuhsin, and their daughter Tia come as well. From your rrrrrrrroooooooooaaaaaaarrrrrrr, Michael.

1 comment:

kacelee said...

way to go TONY!!!!