Monday, April 02, 2007

Cousins Cleaning Cemeteries

Obviously yesterday was a pretty tiring day, which is why I could barely lift a finger to blog. With my advancing years, climbing up a steep mountain with boxes of Hell money can be surprisingly taxing. Add that to the virulent stomach bug I received sometime during lunch and it was a pretty miserable evening for me.

As usual we started the morning late, despite solemn blood-oaths the night before not to repeat the debacle last year. But I guess it can be a little difficult corralling the entire gang, taking attendance and such before making the required pilgrimage to the cemetery for our Chinese version of All Soul's Day. However filial piety never counted on 4 dozen members rushing helter-skelter to get things done while stumbling on each other - and that's all before queuing up in line for the coveted communal bathroom. At times it felt like I was back in the dorm again :)

What? Is it morning yet?

Albeit with a bunch of squabbling girls rushing to get their hair and make-up done with Lispy Lori leading the pack. Though God knows who they expect to see on the way to the cemetery.

Still we managed to finally reach the cemetery bright and early - as did twenty other families with similar expectations - which made the usually silent hill literally come alive. Imagine a night market set up at the cemetery with all the noises, the smells and - yes, even the pervading smoke from the incense.

And with my rambunctious cousins actually contributing to much of the above, what with our incessant cacophony, our overpacked picnic boxes and yes, the monstrous large candles purchased by one of my overly pious aunts - surely another ginormous man-made object seen clearly from space. Even the vaunted Twin Towers would have been put to shame. Never doubt the ingenious folks over at the paper factory - not only did we have paper money in different denominations from pseudo US dollars to the Euro, we even had medicine cabinets ( though I'm quite unsure of what they expect to do with liniment and plaster in Hell ) and dim sum baskets. Of course cigarette cartons were the norm - for although my grandfather doesn't actually smoke, he could reasonably share them with his mates over the mahjong set we burned him last year.

All in all, a job well done. Though it would have gone much better if I hadn't gotten the stomach flu.


_ethnwg said...

hey i'm d first!

that is so typical of a chinese families.

as much as i dread goin' (ive bn missing it for the past 3 yrs str8!), i think this yr i'd like to go visit my grandparents.


charming.calvin said...

Poor darling, down with bug. Hope you'll get all well soon.

Anonymous said...

Aren't the Chinese quite elaborate when they go to cemeteries? I saw a Chinese group burying their loved one maaaaaany years ago and they had all these big lanterns and other stuff. I was amazed. Anyway, get well soon!

xoussef said...

never fancied to say that about visiting graves, but that sounds fun after all..
get well soon!

Sue said...

Advancing years! Holy cow man, you're only 30! Talk to me when you are 50. Although stomach flu can make you feel like 90. I certainly don't envy you that ailment. :(

Roxie said...

I have the same thing... How alarming...

I also hav rambunctious cousins, but used illness as an excuse to stay away from them this weekend. :D

Feel better soon, m'dear!

suicidalconversationjunkie said...

ouch, stomach flu's a bitch.

don't mean to be one myself but could you (pretty) please fix the links to your stories on bedtime stories? I'm left hooked and hanging on james and john sung chapter 2! :(

ok now i'm done being an inconsiderate ass, get well soon. :)

thompsonboy said...

Doc, what does half naked men gotta do with cleaning cementeries? :P

savante said...

You're back, ethan! And why aren't you visiting your grans?

Getting better, calvin!

It is kinda elaborate, mark. They have shops catering just to funereal accessories.

It is nice meeting up with the family again, xoussef!

It did make me feel 90, sue. Damn.

But I love rambunctious cousins, roxie :) In small doses.

Give me a few more days to work on that, junkie :)

Well, it was about waking up in bed, thompsonboy.


Ban said...

Get well soon doc. Lay of the Penang CKT.

ed shah malik said...

: )

got into reading ur blog n i've been following it every few days. n i like reading ur entries cos i actually find myself reaching for the dictionary ever so often. heh. thanks hey.


ps. hope ur tumtum gets better.