Smoothness and perfection – a wish for the Mid Autumn Festival

Today is the Moon cake Festival, a major festival for the Chinese Malaysians, as well as other Chinese in different parts of the world.

I am sure you all know about the story of how the Mongols were overthrown using an embedded message in moon cakes. That must have been a myth but since it has been told millions of times, it has become the story about the festival..

Moon cake festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th Moon of the Lunar Calender. On the 15th day of every month in lunar calendar, the moon is at its roundest and brightest. Roundness and brightness are associated with good fortune, perfection, union and so on, and that is why the festival has come to signify family union and  happiness.

Wah Lai Toi (Astro channel 311) is currently showing a TVB serial “Ka Hou Yuet Yun”, meaning literally ” family good and moon round”, and that about captures the spirits of the moon cake festival, where everything is supposed to be smooth and round and signifies a good ending to all.

Above all, this is not a religious festival but rather a cultural one.

With this, I wish all of you, people of all faiths and colours, a very happy and satisfying, uplifting and perfect Moon cake festival and hope the next one year will remain so for all of you….

 

…………………………………………………………

While we are talking about moon, perhaps I should post a photo from a reader (thanks monk) sent to me via email on the beauty of nature.

This photo shows the sunset in North Pole, taken in May summer.

The crescent shape moon is above the Sun:

 sunset at north pole

29 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. klm
    Oct 03, 2009 @ 13:38:27

    wow. This is so surreal. Did monk went to the north pole?

    Like

  2. Dr Hsu
    Oct 03, 2009 @ 14:06:18

    I think he got this meditating…:)

    Like

  3. clearwater
    Oct 03, 2009 @ 14:23:30

    Yes, a surreal image indeed. Thank you for sharing, Dr Hsu and monk.

    The diminishing setting sun represents Malaysia, a small country getting smaller by the day because of misgovernment. The sliver of crescent moon represents my aching heart, 90% eaten away by sadness at this state of affairs. Their reflections on the surface of the water represents our shared helplessness at what is happening right before our eyes.

    Like

  4. Meng
    Oct 03, 2009 @ 14:46:10

    Luckily the clown yen yen did not claim mooncake as malaysian.

    I am not shy nor shameful to admit that as young boy I never had the opportunity nor fun to play with lantern nor the pleasure of tasting & eating of moon cakes. I do not know how many of you were in the same situation.

    Living along Chulia Street were hard times for my family. We were just too broke but surviving on white rice and a plate of vegetables daily and most of the time on porridge.

    We were so bloody poor and can hardly afford a simple luxury meal. We never knew a bed but bare planks arranged on bench as beds. Same with table for food and study …But life went on.

    Often we were belittled and called poor devils in cantonese..and looked down as if we should not be seen. Life like that full of vengence on the poor and downtrodden and despised and when visiting a friend’s house was a disgrace to them and was eyed from top to bottom incase I steal anything.

    The world and society has no consolation for the poor but one’s own effort in the fight for a good life and thereafter for their children to enjoy the mid autumn festival and the pleasure of seeing them holding and eating mooncakes…

    Like

  5. cilipadi
    Oct 03, 2009 @ 14:54:57

    Hahahaha, this monk is my wonderful friend virtually. He would not be in “disgusted” mode when meditating.

    Auspicious day today, full moon day, nomination day for Bagan Pinang.

    Full moon is PAS symbol. PAS will win.

    Disgusted makan cili, monk rasa pedas

    Like

  6. clearwater
    Oct 03, 2009 @ 16:15:26

    Meng,

    Life in the 1950’s-60’s for most was a constant struggle getting by with the barest of necessities. Nearly everyone was poor or near poor, few were well off. There was just very little material wealth around to be shared. I grew up in a tiny cramped room in a shophouse with 6 other siblings, sleeping head to foot on wooden boards, wherever you could fit your body. Those childhood memories I have long discarded, they are not worth keeping.

    However, enjoy today’s relatively prosperous times, where we can enjoy mooncakes even at atrocious prices and children can parade with lanterns to their hearts’ content. Be glad for the little things, for the improvement in our daily lives. Have a good Mid-Autumn Festival and a feast for dinner tonight.

    Like

  7. A true Malaysian
    Oct 03, 2009 @ 17:28:30

    “I grew up in a tiny cramped room in a shophouse with 6 other siblings, sleeping head to foot on wooden boards, wherever you could fit your body. Those childhood memories I have long discarded, they are not worth keeping.”

    I don’t see it this way. Tough time of yesteryears make us what we are today. Without this tough time, things maybe very different in our mindsets, in the ways we look at things.

    In fact, we should constantly tell our offspring those tough time of us for them to appreciate what they have today. They may say these grandfathers’ stories are “loh-soh” or repetitive, but they are worth repeating.

    Why discarding or not worth keeping such memories?

    Like

  8. disgusted
    Oct 03, 2009 @ 17:48:10

    Pleasure, sharing the beauty of the earth….

    Cilipadi, see article I saw in the Malaysian Mirror on Zhong Qui Jie (Chinese name for festival).

    Malaysianmirror.com

    Folklore on the origins of this festival

    Like

  9. Meng
    Oct 03, 2009 @ 18:52:17

    clearwater.

    You are right, I am now enjoying every bit of my life. Now my children are the ones buying mooncakes brought over fom Singapore.

    How ever I tend to agree with true malaysian we should not discard the old memories but kept as an example how life was like in those days. The children will be better educated regarding life and should be able to make a comparison. These are the golden years of golden memories.

    “”Have a good Mid-Autumn Festival and a feast for dinner tonight.””

    Thank you I certainly do hope it is the same with you, true malaysian and all others here…

    Like

  10. A true Malaysian
    Oct 03, 2009 @ 19:35:56

    My best wishes to all friends over here in this wonderful Dr. Hsu’s Forum, 中秋节快乐

    Like

  11. Dr Hsu
    Oct 03, 2009 @ 19:46:25

    ATm
    Thanks for posting this Teresa Teng’s ‘the moon represents my heart” song.

    A most joyous mooncake festival for all of you out there…

    Like

  12. frank
    Oct 04, 2009 @ 02:38:52

    Meng,

    Reading your story which makes me to recall my childhood 50 years ago when I was a kid walked with bare foot and slept on the planked bed like yours, having an extra of a mat only as even a piece of sponge mattress was a luxury to me!

    Life was tough as my parents were only odd job labourer and a pig rearer! Though so, life had to go on also. As you mentioned, the past days of destitute was not worth keeping, but to the contrary, I kept it and i use it today to tell tale to my children they have been so much pampered and well taken care of, as an educational material. And me the past, as a live example!

    It may or may not work on the children’s mind but at least it serves as a reminder to me, that, I should not in any similar event allow my children to lead a life of my past, in a state of grave poorness and contemptible by my own cousins! Hence I would have to work hard to match the mean, and it worked for me, and my kids lucky enough they have been enjoying what the average kids would have enjoyed in terms of education, comfortable and decent life with all the basic wants being met.

    Without the historical trait, one will not learn and breakthrough, that’s what I believe……

    Like

  13. Meng
    Oct 04, 2009 @ 03:05:53

    Frank

    Looks like You, clearwater and my self were in the same boat. I am glad you all made it for the happiness of your children.

    Frank, Never a moment in my mind I would forget those days “”These are the golden years of golden memories.”” I often tell it to my children as a reminder how I made it through real hardship and now it is their fight in this world to earn a decent living and not forgetting the poor.

    Like

  14. clearwater
    Oct 04, 2009 @ 05:54:01

    AtM, Meng, frank….

    Those were unhappy times and were associated with a complicated family history; material poverty and deprivation then did not cause pain as other things did. Hence, I consigned these chapters of childhood memories to oblivion. They are not missed. Rest assured, the lessons were well learned. Education freed me from bondage and this I will never forget. Break the bank to educate the children and this I have done; fortunately the bank has repaired itself somewhat. Have a good weekend, all….

    Like

  15. frank
    Oct 04, 2009 @ 10:40:53

    Meng, clearwater,

    Yup, the hard time was history and seeing our kids grown into maturity and become professionals in their careers, it’s indeed something worth our nostalgia to the past though in great misery, we had picked up the lesson and changed our lives with our strenuous efforts and striving for betterment.

    By right I would have the same opportunity akin to Meng, can now sit back and enjoy every bit of relaxation and enjoyment brought by the children, but still I am thinking of doing some little bit more efforts to help enhance the deteriorating political scenario which, ever, will affect the future and the prospects of our beloved children! Due to their lackadaisical attitude towards politics, we being their fathers, aren’t we their mentors to ensure they understand the facts of life – politics dictate the fate of a Nation and the subjects, not that the belief of fatalism…….

    I just hope that my kids will be as vigilant and aware of how to contribute their votes and loyalty on how to do their bit to change our beloved great Nation, and a promised land, disasters free – like Dr Hsu is doing!

    i use to proudly recommend it to my alien friends when was working in overseas – Malaysia is a real promised land, without any disaster of act of God and all troubles are created by the principle-less politicians whom they were over-pampered, since most of them born with the silver spoons, need no hard work, only by their hypocrisy, would have continued to reap and loot and exhaust all the hard earned harvests of our forefathers!

    “坐享其成,掠夺成性,贪腐无能,不思長进,禍国殃民”

    Probably that above could be my only message in the moon cake for the chew of those corrupted and power crazy low life politicians!

    Cheers!

    Like

  16. A true Malaysian
    Oct 04, 2009 @ 11:37:15

    Clearwater and all,

    From what we read here about the valuable life experiences of many people here, I can say that “education” is a must for any society to get rid of “poverty”.

    Without good education as foundation, a country will not be able to progress into a developed status. Malaysia is blessed with intelligent people and vast natural resources, yet, we are far lacking behind many countries.

    So, at micro level (i.e. individual family basis), you and me can put emphasis on education of our children, and we get better and better from one generation to the other, but at macro level (i.e. a government), if the one who run the country could not create a conducive environment of macro level to progress in tandem with efforts of each family put in (i.e. micro level), then, a country as a whole still could not enjoy the optimum benefits of each of us put in.

    That is the reason why good people should be a politician to create conducive environment for a country. I don’t buy the saying that only crooks can survive in politics, and we should not let crooks have a say in running the country, don’t we? Let’s rewrite the definition of “politician” as perceived by many, Dr. Hsu inclusive.

    We can do that by volunteer ourselves to be a politician, or to the very least, cast our votes intelligently. Go register yourselves as voters if you are not one yet.

    Like

  17. frank
    Oct 04, 2009 @ 12:32:39

    A true Malaysian,

    You are right, EDUCATION is a must and the only synergy which could effectively fine tune the cerebral faculties of our upbringing children!

    As one great man had said – ‘Give them money they become rotten, give them education is an insurance to their better prospects and survivals”!

    I missed my opportunity to pursue the regular education path and after I completed my senior school education, I was forced to opt for early working life in order to support the family of seven siblings, by giving up an invitation from Taiwan National University. At that stage, I couldn’t even afford to buy the air-tickets to that Country, let alone the expensive lecture fees and all that!

    Only after several years I had worked with some hard savings, I pursed further with night class after work hours, in some private institution to attain my diploma and, the rest is history!

    All by my own, nothing as to the special privileges as the Malay Supremacy i could have possibly enjoyed, though I was amongst those kids lived below poverty line, the genuine poors the Government supposedly to have taken care of!

    Even the Government then in the early 70’s had had their eyes blinded, only they could see the brownish color they would had helped! Where got the fairness?!………..

    Somehow or rather, a government which had proven to be a scum fossil will have to be discarded into the septic tank instead of the whole Nation is dragged into the cesspool!

    We can change the fate of the Nation, and ours, with one voice and solidarity……!

    Like

  18. ong
    Oct 04, 2009 @ 12:42:22

    Meng and others,

    My childhood was during 40s and 50s and young adulthood during 60s. Until early 60s I only sleep on beds with wooden planks which is practically no different from wooden planks placed on benches. Almost everyone else I know, relatives and friends, also sleep on the same type of beds. In fact we grew up in a shophouse and some have to sleep on the wooden floor. As far as I remember non of us ever lost any sleep because we slept on beds using wooden planks on on wooden floors.

    It was only from sometime in the 60’s that I started sleeping on spring beds in a school hostel. Initially it was quite a thrill sleeping on those soft spring beds, until I started getting backaches and other back problems even as a young man. I still cherish my childhood sleeping on wooden floors and beds with wooden planks instead of springs.

    I think your story would have been better without that part about the “bed” you had to sleep on.

    Like

  19. A true Malaysian
    Oct 04, 2009 @ 13:00:26

    Frank,

    You are one success story that you can take pride of, I inclusive. Cheers.

    You raised a good point here about SAVING. I always have this thinking, even if I earn RM1, I still insist of saving 1 sen.

    You are right, septic tank is their rightful place. No point talking sense to them. They simply have no common senses.

    Like

  20. frank
    Oct 04, 2009 @ 13:07:13

    Hi Ong,

    To sleep on the floor of a shophouse could have been fun but for mine, can you imagine, to have lived in an shoddy atap house, when the floor was without the cement rendering and only compressed earth where ants and even snakes would be our companions! Do you think it would be fun and I should call it a laurel or more optimistically, the gifted bosom of the creator?

    Only those stay in the skid rows or slump of a village could realize what is plight of being real poor and the living environment was slight better than the dogs with one elevated ‘bed’ on planks full of bugs, with the snakes and centipedes slept beneath it !

    Still fun?…huh!

    Like

  21. ong
    Oct 04, 2009 @ 13:50:25

    Hi Frank,

    As a matter of fact I have also lived in an atap house with compressed earth floor with pigs running around outside. Occasionally one would come into the house. When it rains water leaked from the roof. Bugs? I know how they are like. They not only hide in crevices in the wooden beds but also on walls. We had to wake up in the middle of the night to kill them because during the day they are in hiding and we don’t see them.

    I won’t describe my life’s experience as pleasant but on the other hand I also do not lament having lived those experiences. I accepted those experiences as part of my life. I talk about them but I don’t complain about them. I have moved on.

    Fun? Who said it was fun? I never said bed bugs were fun. I never said leaking atap roof was fun. Centipedes were common where I lived but I never said they were fun to live with. My experiences with snakes was that they never liked me and run when we meet. Looks like I was luckier than you. For this my condolences.

    Like

  22. frank
    Oct 04, 2009 @ 14:38:08

    Ong,

    Yeah, I believe you are talking about your life experience as well. Your experience with the snakes was exactly as what I had with a black viper! When unknowingly I was once running towards its coming direction, it turned its head and fled into the bush without the close encounter! Probably the old saying was quite true – ‘the fiercest creature is the the poor devil” – even the vipers were put to hide!

    We are only here talking about the olden days and not that of condolences as you put them lah! Friend, we have no regret of the past life and while we are still kicking good, wouldn’t it be a good idea we are telling the youngish generation about how lucky they are now, that they ought to feel appreciate with the parents of being able to take good care of them, to groom them all the way despite the hardships their parents had all gone through and refused to transfer to them!

    I dun consider my past experience unlucky and i have never in my mind allude to blame my parents for that. I am indeed thankful of the test of my will power of getting through the poverty which i had surpassed and hence my children do not have to repeat the undesirable life style that I was in!

    The same will power if we all are applying, sure we will see, a better Nation…….!

    Like

  23. ong
    Oct 04, 2009 @ 15:22:42

    Hi Frank,

    My comments was because of statements such as:-

    “sleeping head to foot on wooden boards, wherever you could fit your body. Those childhood memories I have long discarded, they are not worth keeping.” (by Meng)

    “…and the living environment was slight(slightly) better than the dogs” (by you)

    Such statements appear to me more than just talking and reminiscing about the earlier part of one’s life. I detected a fair amount of bitterness. My apologies if I was mistaken.

    Best regards and goodbye

    Like

  24. Meng
    Oct 04, 2009 @ 16:02:44

    Ong

    In those days getting a plank is a luxury. The planks were used by constractors in construction. We had to scrub to get rid of the cement and the joy in seeing a clean plank to sleep on…. I for one would treasure those memories.

    Frank

    I also had the same problems in education,
    as you and true malaysian said, education determines ones future. On this matter I had to work as a labourer in the port authority to get money to pay for school books and fees and the toughest time was in form 3 where exam fees were real headache. Getting a job as a casual labourer in the port as a boy of 16 years old..had lots of convincing to do before they put your name down. The paying was good with a days work and extra tonnage allowance it was slightly above RM30 and its good money in those days. Thats how I got through the money problems but it was tough job.

    When my old man passed away I wanted to leave school for there are another three children that needed education. It was real bad situation but fortunately the school gave me free texts books and daily cash for the canteen break…school scholarship. I also managed to obtain a grant from the Rotary club to buy my schools uniforms and I am grateful for help provided.

    Those who have gone through hard life are in a better postion to understand what life is all about.

    Like

  25. Meng
    Oct 04, 2009 @ 16:45:31

    Ong

    I do not detect any bitterness in Frank answering to your comments. He is frank and truthful in his comments.

    Comments will invite response whether the originator agrees or not. Many times I have been told off bluntly and I accept it in good faith for my reasoning is, not all the ten fingers look alike..similar to thinking, reasoning and behaviour.

    I don’t see any reasons why you should get worked up

    Please don’t get worked up cause you also quoted me wrongly as:: “sleeping head to foot on wooden boards, wherever you could fit your body. Those childhood memories I have long discarded, they are not worth keeping.” (by Meng)

    At this stage of the game, we have to accept others thinking and feed back whether it is agreeable to us or not. It is only through these that we are able the gauge the common understanding and thinking out there.

    “The right to agree and not to agree”

    Like

  26. Atila
    Oct 05, 2009 @ 00:34:19

    Childhood comes once in our Lives, its gone before you knew it.

    I had mine too when we were poor back in early
    1970s. I was about 3years old, i still remember eating rice & ketchup everyday in this biege/blue tin plate beside my Siamese cat in Penang Hill. My mom used plates left by the whites becoz we cannot afford to simply buy any new ones.

    Though now we have better plates, but i treasure such old memories. How many Malaysians now eat in that tin plates?
    Maybe some have not even seen such tin plates.

    Dr. Hsu, I like the image here, verry pretty.

    Like

  27. edwin teow
    Oct 05, 2009 @ 10:00:28

    Dear Dr Hsu, sorry if this is not an appropriate question to ask , but i m sure quite a few people are interested in this subject. yesterday i went to see a chinese sinseh who had claimed to be able to read my total health condition by placing my finger on a microscope and on a computer screen was picture of my internal organ with blood vein and all , according to him each of our finger represent certain part of body , examples are heart , liver , digestive systems and etc. by moving my finger across the microscope , he points out certain defect organ like weak heart or sinus problem or something like that . in the end i was giving 6 types of medicine costing $240 . my question is , really there is such type of machine ? by the way the sinseh is a local registered chinese medicine practitioner of 75 years old . according to my friend who took me there , he has been practicing at the small town for tens of years. What do you think ? thanks for your time for listening to my tales of seeking medical wonders !!

    Like

  28. Dr Hsu
    Oct 05, 2009 @ 11:16:55

    Atila, welcome back.. 🙂
    ……………………………
    Edwin Seow,
    There is no such things as just looking at your fingers and able to diagnose everything.

    There is black sheep in every profession.

    Anyway, with morality and ethic so low, you have all sorts of people trying to hoodwink others by claiming this and that.

    there are ‘Sinsehs’ doing minor operations on trigger fingers and carpel tunnels..Most of them have never study anatomy before, so do you trust them to do the cutting on your fingers and your hands? I wont.. Common sense. They wont know where is the major blood vessels and nerves and tnedons, so if you do not know, you may just cut these structures… But there are a lot of people willing to be treated by them.

    Just like laboratories. Anyone can walk in and get a blood test. In most othe countries, only a medical personnel can order a blood tests when the need arises.. and most of those manning the lab cannot even explain the tests results. Even in interpreting blood results, you need to look at the overall pictures and the patients, and you cannot just look at the figures itself since there are a lot of individual variations..

    The problem is we have all the laws but no enforcements. A cowboy town really, everyone for himself..

    Like

  29. edwin teow
    Oct 05, 2009 @ 14:39:00

    thanks , Dr Hsu for your reply, ya i was thinking the same as your explanations , well , sometimes we just wish there is such an easy cure for the illness that we have , making us falling into traps like this , and i do agree to prevent more people become victim of such practice , we need more enforcement from the authorities .

    Like

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