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Cheng Beng and more, April 2010
During the Cheng Beng Festival, Chinese families pay respect to their ancestors, by visiting the cemetery, cleaning their graves and leaving food and "money". It is one of the two "solar" celebrations in the Chinese (lunisolar) calendar, and always falls on April 4 or 5. This year it so happened that it coincided with Easter, which is a lunisolar celebration in the Western (solar) calendar.

Many times I had seen the crowded cemeteries during this festival, but I had never taken part in it, so I was happy to join Aric when he went back to his hometown for Cheng Beng. His uncles also had come over from KL. After dinner and the usual playing of Mahjong, we woke up early the next morning, loaded the car with stuff and left for Teluk Intan.

We had a breakfast with Bak Kut Teh in Simpang Empat, then continued to the cemetery, between Teluk Intan and Bidor.
The tradition is that you first pray and burn joss sticks at the Tua Bei Gong, at the entrance of the cemetery. We were not the only ones..:-)

We had taken tools, with us to clean the grave, but there was no need, it had been cleaned already! The reason became clear soon, when an Indian lady approached, asking for money, because she had done the job. That seems to be a usual practice. Not bad actually, because it was already getting hot.

It was interesting to see that not only (real) food and fake money is given to the dead, but also shirts and cans of soft drinks, all fake of course. Everything is burned, but the food is taken back home.

After visiting the grave of Aric's grandfather, we went to another cemetery to do the same for one of his employees, who had died without children, and had always been very friendly with the family. I found it quite touching.

When everything was finished, we drove back via Teluk Intan with its famous leaning tower and went for lunch to Hutan Melintang, where we had delicious seafood. When I mentioned toddy, Aric's brother said he knew a place where you could buy it. Wow!

But first we visited the famous Pedersens bakery to buy some cookies.

Then he guided us to the toddy stall, and it was really a nice experience, see the pictures. We took home two plastic bags (!) with the milky stuff for RM 6 each. So fresh, really delicious.

Preparing to go back to KL, I suddenly noticed a bird nest in a tree just opposite the family house. Then a sunbird landed, and... was feeding a chick! I hurried to get my camera and I was really lucky to be able to take a clear shot. Not bad for a casual birder...:-)

Although Aric's mother had already prepared a nice dinner for us, Aric wanted to stop on the way back in Sekinchan, because he knew a place there where they prepared a very delicious omelet with lala.

I always like to take pictures of food and of the people preparing it. Here in Sekinchan the owner of the shop asked if it was ok that she took a picture of me...:-) I must have been the first Kwai Loh, visiting the place.

A nice weekend, full of variety, so typical for Malaysia!

Dinner with the family
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Playing Mahjong

Lots of stuff to bring with us

Preparing to go

In Simpang Empat

Having breakfast ...

with Bak Kut Teh

Tua Bei Gong

Praying first

Going to the grave

The grave, cleaned already

Paying the cleaning lady

A little cleaning left

The shrine for the god of the earth

Food for the ancestors

New shirts, money

Canned drinks

A new "roof" for the grave

Preparing the money

Burning the money

and everything

Finished until next year

Almost like a gothic cathedral

Another cemetery

Some cleaning to do here


Making a new roof

Leaning tower of Teluk Intan

Lunch in Hutan Melintang

Crab rice, very nice

The famous Pedersens bakery

Many VIP's have visited this shop

Ferry across the Bernam river
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Coconut plantation with stall

A toddy stall!

Fresh toddy
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Top of the palm with collecting pots

Clever trick to make a ladder

Climbing to the top

Collecting the toddy
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Have to try myself

Can toddy be more fresh?

Preparing drinks at home

And toasting

A lucky shot, sunbird feeding a chick
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On our way back in Sekinchan

Delicious lala omelet

wrote on Apr 6, 2010:
That will be the day when I see a Kwai Loh at this table.

wrote on Apr 6, 2010:
Macho males - showing off their sexy bodies!

geetee wrote on Apr 6, 2010:
So like the twin graves of my paternal grandparents..but which were much much more overgrown,because they are located at a semiforested foothills area. And yes, Jan, coincidentally like Aric's family, among the 6 graves we ChengBeng-ed, one was of an employee of my great grandfather's. He died without kin in then Malaya, before the war.

wrote on Apr 6, 2010:
That's almost like the real one (the alpha males), that we often see in Kiara!

wrote on Apr 6, 2010:
Coming closer to that day!

wrote on Apr 6, 2010:
No need to cover your modesty by having a "shawl", using your T-shirt. One got to join the crowd by doing the complete same thing!!

wrote on Apr 6, 2010:
Nice lala omelet and.........!!

wrote on Apr 7, 2010:
OK Pokok Assam kid, Limits up! Before Multiply put a stop to that name you are trying to hide under. See where is BC eyes?

wrote on Apr 7, 2010:
Jan, you've got all the right ingredients in his album -- (semi) nudity, alcohol, gambling, food. But like a morality play, death (cheng beng) hangs in the shadow.

wrote on Apr 7, 2010:
Textile draped over a naked upper torso seems to be a fashion statement here.

wrote on Apr 7, 2010:
or were they playing strip mahjong? /stephen

wrote on Apr 7, 2010:
this looks like it was cleared the hard way, with cangkul, unlike in mount eskine (in penang) where they just set fire to the whole hill, the hot wether being a great help. the result is you got 'the black hills of penang'. /stephen

wrote on Apr 7, 2010:
YUMMY YUMMY.. looks so so delicious.... where's the location??

Kwai Loh wrote on Apr 7, 2010:
Restaurant Soon Kee, in Hutan Melintang, between Sabak Bernam and Teluk Intan

wrote on Apr 7, 2010:
My son's favorite

wrote on Apr 7, 2010:
have not been on a river ferry for ages now. good to know that such transport still exists. thanks for the memory. /stephen

wrote on Apr 7, 2010:
now, what did the container originally hold? not pesticide/weedicide, i hope. /stephen

wrote on Apr 7, 2010:
I've always thought toddy was made from the roots.

wrote on Apr 7, 2010:
toddy straight from tree got no kick. unless you also consume the beetles and lizards (if any) that have fallen into the collection pot. /stephen

Kwai Loh wrote on Apr 7, 2010:
This was not straight from the tree, I can assure you..:-) Fermentation starts already in the collecting pot, and after about 2 hours the alcohol percentage is ~ 3.5%. I had a look in the yellow bucket, and indeed, so many beetles and insects inside. Luckily this glass was offered after filtration by the stall keeper, FOC..:-)

wrote on Apr 7, 2010:
yeah, to be truly malaysian, you got to learn to go 'topless'. /stephen

wrote on Apr 7, 2010:
beautiful shot. /stephen

wrote on Apr 7, 2010:
looks like done in thai style. fried till crispy. /stephen

lightlingmk2 wrote on Apr 10, 2010:
I bet you never reach the top - only 3 steps.

Kwai Loh wrote on Apr 10, 2010:
Going up is easy, going down, that would be problematic!

lightlingmk2 wrote on Apr 10, 2010:

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