Full Moon Celebration with the Colonel

Nic passed me a rather large looking angpow last night.
A message stuck on the back of it – “Thanks for celebrating the full moon with me, mummy and daddy!”
Inside the angpow were 2 KFC vouchers!
Nic’s friend had just given birth to a baby boy and like all friends, we had chipped in to buy something nice for the baby.
As is customary, the favour is received with thanks and when the baby reaches 1 month old, his parents would return the favour by sending out gifts.
In those days, parents would order nasi kunyit, chicken curry, red eggs and ang koo to be given out to friends and relatives, announcing the 1 month celebration of their baby. Parents would most likely drive about and spread the good news to everyone, face to face. Friends and relatives would then catch up with the newborn’s news and chat a bit about how the new mom is doing etc.
Oh how times have changed! In such a short time, so many traditions have come and gone.
I felt quite wistful about this as I saw the 2 KFC vouchers.
Nowadays, it’s too much of a hassle giving out packs of Full Moon Goodies (nasi kunyit and the like). First you have to drive to your friends’ homes, make sure they are at home and pass the goodies to them. (By the way, I helped my sister do this when my nephew was 1 month old. It was tedious, yes, but it is tradition. As you can sense, I am a great stickler for traditions. The older I get, the more I want to preserve the unique aspects of life as I used to know it.)
Nowadays, you just go to KFC and buy a bunch of KFC vouchers and put them into ang pows and post them along to your friends! The Colonel does great business this way but I don’t have my nasi kunyit or curry chicken any more. Which is quite sad in a way.
We’re modern creatures now and we think of faster ways to get our message across. But I think that sometimes the old ways aren’t so bad either.
Think of it – if you were to go house to house and pass out boxes of nasi kunyit and curry chicken, you had a chance to ‘sembang’ with your friends and neighbours. It was true communication. It wasn’t so much about the full moon goodies but it was the face to face contact which people enjoyed.
Now, the only people you get to ‘sembang’ with was the KFC staff behind the counter asking if you want Original or Hot and Spicy!
It’s the same with mooncakes. I don’t fancy those newfangled flavour combinations, creative and interesting though they may be. Give me good old lotus paste mooncake any day and I will die a happy woman. Give me the kind of food I used to eat when I was a child.
You see, the more choices we have, the more we tend to fall back on the tried and tested. Choices just serve to confuse people. Variety is good if you don’t need to make a choice. If you have 2,374 types of ice cream flavours, chances are you will choose the simplest and most basic flavour of all and I bet you it would be chocolate!
I don’t have children yet but when I do, I hope to have real full moon goodies to pass out to friends instead of getting them to make a date with the Colonel!

7 thoughts on “Full Moon Celebration with the Colonel”

  1. I would like the traditional nasi kunyit, curry, ang ku kueh, and red eggs. I wonder where did this culture come from? some thing to ponder upon…
    Things are getting easier and this is how some aspects of our culture evolve or become lost. Imagine next time we can have e-sembahyang. No more tablet (“sin chu pai”) but just a wall paper on the monitor screen. Click a few buttons and you can choose what kind of offerings to give. Can order from ebay summore. We can have virtual josssticks. It’s free and and nose-friendly and can be done from anytime, anywhere
    Sounds weird to me…

  2. LOL… too late for Vern and U-jean to get ang ku and those stuff from me though. A lot of years too late. LMAO. As nice as the red eggs looks like, i tell you, it’s not easy to dye it! It’s a tedios and ‘bloody’ task! Best eaten with preserved ginger.
    Eh, e-sembahyang? Sounds very weird to me lah… looks not sincere also. 🙁

  3. @Vern: Yeah, Starbucks should get the hint. Anyway, Starbucks has its mooncakes right? They’re getting quite culturally literate at least in this part of the world. I give you Starbucks next time you mean? Haha.
    @ u-jean: You are like me. We like old traditions to stay no matter how tedious. Maybe I am old inside my modern skin! That’s why I still visit my Great Grandpa’s grave during Ching Ming and meticulously record everything my aunts do (all those rituals). In case one day I have to ‘take over’ you know. I best know how to do what and in what order especially burning joss paper. e-sembahyang sounds too weird for me. Soon, we can just email God.
    @cleffairy: You are right. Some things must be done the old way huh? I think it has something to do with the senses. We must smell, hear, see, touch and feel the prayer! I love going to the temple and smelling joss!
    @marsha: Yup, we’re damn hi-tech in Penang now. People no longer give ang koo, they give you KFC vouchers…. I think it started with the factory folks. They usually give KFC vouchers for any factory celebration – staff birthdays, family days, etc. So it sort of makes sense to buy KFC vouchers for full moon celebrations too! Oh by the way, there’s also lots of confinement homes sprouting up in Penang. It’s usually an alternative to getting the confinement lady to visit you at your home and helping you with the babycare stuff and cooking for you. My friends all stayed at confinement homes (not cheap at all) but given that everyone seems to live in apartments and there’s not enough confinement ladies to go around, this seems to be the most logical route.

  4. seems like penang is even more modern than KL these days, you know. 🙂 but KFC vouchers….hhhmmm….where’s the meaning lah. I used to love getting all full moon packages cause I love the eggs, ang-koo and of coz, the CURRY CHICKEN and the yellow rice thinghy…..YUM YUM YUM!!!


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