31 August 2007

Ghost Festival 2007

The Ghost Festival is a traditional Chinese Festival which is celebrated by the Chinese in this country and is usually celebrated on the 7th Month of the Chinese calendar (usually around August / September) which is considered the ghost month, where business drop for the Restaurants. This is due to the fact that Chinese do not like to leave their house after night falls unless for urgent business as the Spirits may be mischievous and cause trouble or havoc to those who do so. This year alone there have been a sprat of Express Bus accidents with multiple death as well as fires during this time. On the 14th Day onwards there will be “shows” held at various localities for the entertainment of the ghost, spirits as well as other Night Life as to appease them.
This shows are usually at temples but not necessary so and there will be various offerings and joss stick burning during the entire time the festival is on at the location.
This Shows were usually Chinese (Teow Chew Style) Opera, but in this Modern age, new type of shows have creep in due to three main factors. Firstly there are lesser Chinese Opera troops, Secondly there are more localities having this festival, thus increasing demand on the existing troops. Thirdly, the living spectators which has been brought up on Modern Entertainment demand lead to Modern shows which features usually Scantily dressed Female Performers (increasingly foreign) singing through the night which are available. (Around Twenty years back, TV’s were set up and video of tape Chinese opera was played.) .
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I usually do not go to observe or participate in this type of festivals, mainly due to the locality I stay as well as the inclination of my family. However this year I have the privilege of staying in a housing estate that celebrate this festival a mere 100 meter from my rented house. .
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At this place, this festival have became the “Highlight” and the “Night Life” of the Locality, Three temporary large sheds were set up, one of the Food, one for the offerings and one as the stage, with a place for the Joss Sticks.

The Stage, As you can see, there is a large crowd of spectators, The Show going on is the the traditional Chinese opera performance. The K750i camera is swarmed by the light condition, as such the show cannot be seen.

The Offerings , Various prayers with various offering which may included Roast Suckling Pigs, Beers, Rice and others, note the giant “Emperor of Hell” figure at the end of the shed.

The Food Stalls

What a festival with out the food? After walking and looking around, we stop at the food shed. In fact the place have the atmosphere of a small pasar malam which various stalls selling food and other stuffs. .
We had the Loh Bak, which is basically various snack type food stuffs deep fried cut up and serve with two types of dip one which is a spicy dip.

See Kor Th’ng a combination dessert drink, the char koey teow, which was surprising palatable.

We also pack to take home the Ba Chang Koey a type of Chinese peanut pancake. It is prepared in a big pan, and is folded in half and cut in to pieces.

As well as the Sotong Bakar, Dry Grilled Squid which have been Stretch and pulled, Chewy but fragrant.

The End Product, ready to eat with chillies, pounded peanuts. good with Beer as a snack

The Starting Product, Dry Squid with Squid being grilled at the background

The device to stretch out, the squid, previously the squid was pounded with a hammer.

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