::every cloud has a silver lining:: @ ::天無絕人之路 ~:~ 明天會更好:: @ ::tiān wú jué rén zhīlù ~:~ míngtiān huì gènghǎo:: @ ::天無絕人之路 ~:~ 明天會更好:: @ ::tiān wú jué rén zhīlù ~:~ míngtiān huì gènghǎo:: @ ::every cloud has a silver lining::


Apr 6, 2015

இ QingMing清明节

Yesterday (05April2015) marked the official day for celebrating QingMing festival, one of the Four Major Traditional Chinese Festivals, observed by the Chinese community of the Daoist/Buddhist faith. Phrases (in Cantonese) like ‘Where and when you gonna ‘haang Qing行清’ ? lit. *'walk Qing' are pretty common these two weeks. What is this Qing all about?

清明节 QingMing Jie lit. translated as ‘clear’ (Qing) & ‘bright’ (Ming) festival or tomb sweeping day which usually falls on 4 - 5 April each year, celebrated either 10 days before or 10 days after the official QingMing day.

This festival originated in the 7th century BC, started by an accidental tragedy set upon by the Duke Wen (pinyin: 晋文公) of Jin himself who was so overwhelmed with grief of his lost friend and subject Jie Zitui (pinyin: 介之推) in a forest fire. The Duke created the Hanshi Festival (pinyin: 寒食节 or Cold Food day) to commemorate the loyalty of his subject Jie Zhitui. Another version of QingMing Festival involved the Tang Emperor, Xuanzong in 732 who was well known for his frugality as not to indulge in extravagant ceremonies in Tomb Sweeping Day or Ancestors Worship Day. Gradually over the years the practice was adopted by the masses throughout different eras and  eventually combination of both traditions, the Hanshi and Tomb Sweeping Day into the QingMing Festival and kept as a one-day festival.

Across the globe, they commemorate their ancestors by sprucing up the graveyard, sweeping the tombs, removing weeds, burning incense and paper money including the high-tech paper stuff like mobile phone, tablet etc. The Chinese society places great emphasis towards filial piety and has high regards of remembering its roots. In Chinese mythology there is this 三魂七魄 *pinyin: sān hún qī pò* ~ three immortal souls and seven mortal forms. Perhaps another great opportunity for a future post on sānhúnqīpò? Setback is, as a Bananaz (who cannot read and write Chinese), the ever loving friendly dumb professor Mr Google is not able to provide a clear translation on the seven mortal forms. It may take awhile to get the right source and translation. Coming back to the three immortal souls ~ when someone dies, the 1st soul goes to meet Yanluowang 閻羅王, the god of death and the ruler of Hell who is also the judge who passes judgment on all the dead, the 2nd soul goes to the the grave and the 3rd soul goes to the ancestral pedestal/tablet (pinyin:神主牌 shénzhǔpái) placed at the ancestor’s hall, house or temple. Most importantly regardless of wherever the soul is, one thing for sure QingMing is able to enhance the togetherness of the entire family members as an outing at the cemetery year after year.

Image courtesy of Sin Chew Daily
Changes happening in China..A new high-tech way of inscribing QR code onto the Tombstone head, a picture paints a thousand words...!!!Anyway in this modern era most memorial parks are pretty well organised and orderly, practically sweeping of tombs are kept to the minimal as they are well maintained.

Online services are available too through internet memorial services for QingMing catering mainly for those who are too busy with work or staying too far away from home. Quite strange to hear people whining about the long traffic jam when going to cemetery for QingMing as it is only once in a year affair but seldom hear complains of traffic jam or long queues at shopping cash counters every week or months. Life is like that?

(Thanks to Twilight Man for all the encouraging words thus sweeping away the dirt & clearing the cloudy weed of returning to blogging after MIA for 8 months. Lucky for Bananaz who somehow survived the gruesome 5 hours left, right and center deep frying by Twilight Man haha.) 

Aug 5, 2014

இ First time flying..

Heard quite a lot of the good, bad & ugly of this popular 'Everyone Can..' airline. Finally Bananaz's very first time on board an 'AAX' flight for a 5 days due diligence trip. The last and my best holiday trip was Egypt, a couple of years ago. So far so good nothing much to complain about this no-frills aircraft. ETD/ETA was on time, no hiccups, a pleasant journey all the way to Pudong, Shanghai. Please do not have high expectation of picturesque views or food as they are not in my area.

Shanghai Pudong International Airport

Great choice of Kempinski Hotel in Suzhou for the Convention.

Yunyansi Pagoda *云岩寺塔* also called Tiger Hill Pagoda by the locals of Jinchang District and ranked #5 of 304 attractions in Suzhou by tripadvisor. Built in the year 959A.D. and was completed in Song Dynasty 961A.D. It is a seven-storey brick building designed in wood structure with a height of 47.7 meters, which is also the earliest octagon-shaped pagoda now known to be extant. It leans towards north east with a lean of 3.59 degrees. In 1961, this landmark in the Suzhou section of the Grand Canal was enlisted as a major cultural heritage protect at the national Level. 

No prize for guessing the name of the trees (know the pixz is too small). Missed out on one pixz of a huge 390 year old gingko biloba tree as Bananaz was too engrossed with the technical details surrounding the tree than the whole tree itself. Try to see if the fruits or leaves below could give you some clues...

...its ginkgo fruits 

Mango posing in front of the Suzhou train station en route to Shanghai. The wordings are made from some nice fine grown grasses, in Mandarin it says 'Suzhou Welcomes You' *Suzhou huān yíng nǐ*.

The famous must eat 'little dragon pao' when in Shanghai. Kinda tough to suck the hot steamy juice using a straw will need lots of special skill. Try sucking a cuppa of hot coffee/tea with a straw to assimilate the burning effect?

This is the driver seat of all taxis in Shanghai which are all fully protected for safety reasons. Impossible to stab or gag the driver from behind.

Cute little 'silent' electric motor bikes.

Very common to see these dragon-turtle in City God Temple of Shanghai. Sorry no idea on the names of the two cute animals on the left and right of the elephants

o.O a huge Chinese abacus hanging on top of the ceiling in 'City God Temple of Shanghai' *上海城隍廟 Cheng Huang Miao*, a good tip from blogger Rurousha to look up for nice stuff above eye level when entering temple. Abacus is closely associated with counting and also a popular feng shui cure for wealth. The abacus has an upper deck with two beads (5 units per bead) on each rod and the lower deck with five beads (1 unit per bead). Based on the placement of the beads it shows the number  9736720123568. Any experts in numerology to decode the numbers? Bananaz googled and discovered the 13 numbers are linked to Daoism and the answer is HERE.

These converted containers are looking good C&G *Cheap & Good* merely from RMB6 per night sleeping on double decker beds.   

The other side of Shanghai

Peddlers in action right at the front of the 'you know what' building along the famous Nanjing East Road. Opening offer price for a pair of clipped-on roller skates with lights at RMB80 but later rolled down to RMB50. When luck was not on her side its a final RMB50 for two pairs. Sure its final?  

If you have not visited The Bund they say you have not been to Shanghai. That's Mango at The Bund, by day & by night. The last trip to Shanghai was in the 90s we sort of  missed out The Bund or most likely Bananaz could suffer from an  early stage of STML *Short Term Memory Lost*.

The changing of lights and words intermittently. A pretty nice place to enjoy the evening and the walk. After Shanghai what's next?

Jul 4, 2014

ക WhyAskWhy¿ (14) An inch of time? 一寸光陰一寸金?

Time and tide waits for no man Bananaz. Gosh time flies. Tempus fugit with just a blink of an eye and half a year has gone by already since his last CNY post. An old Chinese idiom that stresses the value of time by the inch and it goes like this : ~ '一寸光陰一寸金,寸金難買寸光陰' *yī cùn guāng yīn yī cùn jīn, cùn jīn nán mǎi cùn guāng yīn* "An inch of time is worth an inch of gold; yet you can't buy an inch of time with an inch of gold." *Guāng yīn* 光陰 refers to the sun's shadow which is equivalent to time, lit. An interval of time is worth an ounce of gold, money cannot buy you time. Time is precious and must be treasured.

Why*Ask*Why time is being measured by units of length in olden China? The answer lies in the most ancient time-measuring instrument used which consists of two parts, the gnomon-and-ruler *guibiao* 圭表. The gnomon (pronounced 'noh-mon') *biǎo* 表 is the post or stone pillar standing upright on the ground to cast a shadow on the marked tablet called the ruler *guī* 圭. Since time can be measured by the length of the shadow, thus to describe the duration of time with  "inch" simply sounds logical.

image courtesy of

"In the nick of time" is an English idiom for 'at the last possible moment' where a nick was a mark on a stick which was used in the past to measure time. Ancient Chinese would use 'in the inch of time' and in school we learned about seconds and hours. In this modern era the younger generation got a cool way of telling time, saying 'see you in a bit'? Any idea what to expect in years to come for the next new generation to tell time?

Jan 19, 2014

இ Horse Up 馬上

Time not only slithers time just flies. The 'Snake' would be hissing goodbye pretty soon to make way for the Horse. Bananaz wanna apologies for MIA over couple of months been busy and hectic with overseas trips. The coming Horse Year will be a very special and unique year. Based on the lunar calendar, the year of Horse will commence on 31 January 2014 and ends on 18 February 2015. So this year we will have 2 occurrence of the first solar term or 立春 *lichun* (beginning of spring) within a year which is on 4 February 2014 and 4 February 2015. This makes the Year of the Horse a 'double spring year' 双春年 *shuāng chūn nián* plus a 閏月*rùn yuè* ie a leap 9th lunar month in this year. The old folks believe this is a good omen especially for wedding ceremony and giving birth. The next double spring year will be in the year of Rooster in 2017.

What's next?

The story above on 'The Clever Old Man' reminds us NOT to mess with old people. The three panicky pretty ladies "horse up" 馬上 *mǎ shàng* jumped out of the pond immediately with lightning speed regardless of wearing nothing.  馬上 *mǎ shàng* lit. ''horse up'' means ~ at once / right away / immediately / (on horseback).

We all know most Chinese words are based on pictograph, see how the word evolved gradually comparing the top pixz with the four legs and tail and a nice mane on the head. However the traditional word for horse '馬' *mǎ* was further simplified to '马' *mǎ*.

Found something quite interesting about the U.S. Postal Service while surfing the internet. USPS (U.S. Postal Service) is honoring the Chinese culture with The "Year of the Horse" stamp, the latest in the postal service's 12-year Lunar New Year stamp series, which runs through 2019. The stamp, which features drums and a small horse in the upper left corner, "signals that fresh beginning" of a new year.

For this Horse Year the most popular idiom which would be overly mentioned is 馬到成功 *mǎ dào chéng gōng* lit. 'horse arrives, succeed' (meaning: to win instant success).  For more idioms to use during this coming CNY can refer to last year's idioms which can still be applicable other than those snakey idioms.

Here's wishing ALL A Happy & Horseperous New Year with 馬上有錢 *mǎ shàng yǒu qián* 'immediately got money' (horse back got money).

Jan 1, 2014

இ Happy 2014

Here's wishing all a very happy new year, a new year a new beginning. Today is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one. Happy 2014.

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