Sunday, 25 February 2007

Oink year and matters

It has been a whirlwind Chinese New Year with the arrival of the Oink! Had a busy time preparing for CNY. We had our reunion dinner a day earlier so that we would not be so rushed to cleaning up the house later on. We went to the very delectable Liang Kee Teochew Restaurant in Robertson Quay. So we actually had yusheng on reunion and few nice dishes like braised duck, sambal crayfish, stir-fried kailan etc etc..

On the last day before CNY, I went last minute shopping in Parkway Parade for the usual all-under-one-roof errands. And I spent a good half the day queueing and queueing for ALL my errands. The bank is filled with people like myself changing new notes. The bak kwa stall has a terrific long queue, considering they are wireless this year and hence orders should be reasonably faster, it still took me a good one hour to get my ONE box of precious bak kwa, a must for the CNY, whether I like this brand or not didnt matter one bit.

After all the last minute cleaning up of the house and hanging up of all the CNY lanterns and decorations, I went to Drophenling at 10pm for special prayers to welcome the new year with great blessings. My 8 year old niece Raee was so sweet, she wanted to follow me to the center to pray. I believe she has affinity with Buddha. The prayers by the 18 lamas lasted till past midnight, and I could not describe the wonderful feeling of being truly blessed.

On Day 1 of the CNY, it was a nice time for reunion, meeting relatives that meet up once a year. And even better time for those who are closer. Family ties are closer I think. Normally people visit my house on the first day.

One Day 2 of CNY, I visited my grandma and two other aunts from my father side. I was so glad to meet my cousin there in my aunt's place. She was the one who met with a bad car accident 8 months ago and was badly injured in the brain and broken ribs. So glad that she could utter some words and that she can walk a few steps now. But I know full recovery will take time.

As for close buddies, we have not even met up because we are all so busy with our commitments. For other friends, it has been nice going out and just chilled out together and doing stuff together.

On the 3rd day of CNY, was my rest day, and I went shopping and time out for myself for a breather. Then went with sis and family to the River Hong Bao. It was the usual stuff each year, hot, crowded, same stalls, same lightings, hot *yawn* And I couldnt believe the long queues at all the stalls selling food in Esplanade Makansutra. Considering the food was sub standard, I had a frustrating time.

On the 4th day of the CNY, it was back to work. I kept my fingers crossed that boss will not call me or scold me or nag at me during the FIRST day of the year! In this sense I was superstitious. Luckily he did not. Hee! Evening, went to pray at the Loyang Tua Pek Kong. It was my first time there. I was actually pleased to find there are some hindu shrines of Ganapati together in the temple. I was given the empowerment of Ganapati by Paltrul Rinpoche. I offered light and chanted Ganapati's mantra. The evening was great till much later. That night I didnt have a good sleep. Could not get to sleep till 3 am!

On 5th day of CNY, I knew why. Got news that my Aunt Amanda has cancer of the uterus and needed operation to remove her womb immediately. It was as if I had some 6th sense I was going to get bad news.

On 6th day of CNY, I took urgent leave and accompany my aunt for hospital admission, and to do Xray ECG and blood transfusion. My grandma and Aunt Stella were there too. We spent whole day waiting, just to keep Aunt Amanda company.

One 7th of CNY, Aunt Amanda went for the operation. Sis and I and my other aunts made sure we were there for her before she goes into the operating theatre. We knew she was nervous. I did not stay till after the operation. I went Drophenling instead to pray for her. Spoke to Joanne there and she brought me to a special small room which I did not know existed before. It was Protector Setrap altar. Setrap is an emanation of Amitabha Buddha. For many critical cases it was best to pray to Setrap. Joanne explained the small room is not easily available to the public because Setrap has a wrathful face, and sometimes devotees who are not familier with the religion are not ready to accept. I offered light to Setrap and also Buddha Shakyamuni on behalf of Aunt Amanda.

Today went to see Aunt Amanda. She looked fine and great. Doctor said it was early stage of cancer and hence it can be contained. She needs to be sent for further tests to see if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body and if necessary chemotherapy. I think she will be ok.

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