Wednesday, December 30, 2009


冬至 is the Chinese celebration of the winter solstice - the shortest day and longest night of the year. My family used to be fairly traditional in celebrating it, we'd head to my grandad's house for dinner and there would be 汤圆 on the table - the pink and white ones.

Food, language and family are so closely interwoven - the memories of family are often closely tied to the meals shared, the language spoken and the many golden moments laughing about nothing and everything.

What do we have - memories, knowledge, values - that we did not first receive? Our families are the conduits of culture, language, values and history; they help build our hearts. Break the family unit down and we have latchkey children wandering around shiny glassy cities without the strength of heart or depth of mind.

The parents were away this year and I completely forgot about the festival until I saw various dessert stalls in the food centre selling 汤圆 and felt a pang. It's been ten years but once in a while, I still have dreams wherein I speak perfect, lyrical Teochew to him and wander the hallways of his art filled, incense smelling house.

But spending the evening with HF and baby Amelie cheered me up to no end - it's really hard to be wistful around a gurgling little baby who looks at you like you're a tentacled creature from Mars and wonders if fingers can be eaten or not.




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