Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Ching Ming 2007

Ching Ming is 2 days from today, ie Thursday.

It's the Chinese's All Souls' Day. No, it is not the day where all the lost soul roam the streets looking for food to eat.

To the chinese, this is more of a tradition than a religious thing.

It all boils down to fillial peity.

Every year, since for as long as i can remember, me and my dad's family has been diligently going to the cemetery behind Jalan Belamy or better known as Bukit Petaling to clear, clean, offer offerings and get togehter with the rest of the family.

Fukkien Hill...just watch your pronounciation...

Year in, year out, it's cleaning the grave of my great grandparents, my great granduncle and aunt, my grandparents and my 3rd uncle.

We used to leave the house by 4am to Bukit Petaling and you would get stuck in the jam even during that hour near the Sungai Besi Air Base.

So, this year, everyone decided to do it differently, we go during weekday.

There is no meat served for the longest time as my dad's family is 100% vegetarian. So, all the food you will see in the pictures below are more halal than halal itself.

My great grandparent's grave - 1970

Interesting story about my greatgranpa was that he had a restaurant before, think of it as old time kopitiam so original you have the spitton bowl next to every table. My greatgranpa came from China togehter with my granpa circa 1930's when my granpa was still a baby.

Business was good until he was played out by the other partners and was made bankrupt. Such is the cruel way in the world when money is involved. I see history repeated with my dad being played out by his business partner when he had a stroke years back.

I will never have a chance to know my greatgrandparents, unlike Ryan, which still have one living great grandma to know and play with.

It's almost a ritual every year, my cousin from Kuantan will make their way down to KL just for this. Me, my dad, sis and my uncles will be there as well. This time around, my mum couldn't come as she is taking care of Ryan at my place. But this year, the crowd was smaller as most of the other cousins and uncles need to work and can't take off.

We cleaned the graves in order of which graves come first. So, it was my greatgramps, then my great uncle/aunt, my 3rd uncle and finally my granparents, but since this year's traffic wasn't as bad because it was a weekday, we decided to visit my 3rd uncle last.

Close knit family

Ching Ming is not a religious thingy. It is a tradition, where you pay respect to your ancestor. No, it's not ancestor worshipping if you think it is. It is all about fillial peity. But with this value as uncommon as common sense nowdays, it's no wonder why most older folks would opt to be cremated and have their ashes stored in designer's cemetery.

Great view of Muzium Negara and KL Sentral

My dad's family does not practice burning of paper offering since the 1980's as it's a utter waste of money. A teaching passed down from my late grandma as they were trying to make ends meet with my grandpa's small income as Lee Rubber's factory supervisor.

Because of the fact that my greatgramps were restaurant people, it's no wonder why my granpa knows how to cook and whip up delicious food! Is that where my knack for cooking comes from even without any formal training?

My late grandparents

Lastly, we went to visit my 3rd uncle, which passed away in 1978, when i was about 2 years old. He was involved in an accident while transporting vegetable from KL to Kuantan. Back then, Kampung New Zealand wasn't even there yet. You guys that frequent KL-Kuantan would know what i'm talking about. ;-)

With enough vegetarian food being offered, we all left the cemetary, knowing that we've escaped one more jam (and totally avoiding looking for the tombstone in total darkness at 5am in the cemetary), with food enough to feed each family for dinner tonight.

Next year, Ryan will make his maiden trip and get to know his great great granparents and his lineage.

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