大年初三 Third day of the Chinese New Year
The sights and sounds of my childhood Chinese New Years in Singapore were actually rather tame and would always pale in comparison to the thunder and fury of the CNY celebrations practiced by the folk in father’s hometown in Johor Malaysia, with their assortment of firecrackers [more like sticks of dynamite and literally firecracker-powered guns and ‘guided missiles’ we would fire from grandfather’s hilltop house onto the neighbouring houses below. We would always win the firecracker missile war (there really was a scheduled competition and war which my uncles would start at a precise time in the afternoon by firing the first missile) – we had height and terrain advantage; and after all, grandfather was the ‘village headman’ and main landlord of the plantations and fields he tenanted out to the other smallholders and tenant farmers], loud and boisterous temple festival parades and drums and lion dances, even dragon dances.
It was way too loud, garish and actually downright tacky, and sometimes even a little frightening. But to a goggle-eyed city boy, it was also amazing fun. I loved it.
Merry gongs (cymbals) and joyous drums, Dong De Long Dong Jang
And I love this song 廟會 Temple Festival, a very famous old Taiwanese song, which captures the sights and sounds of a New Year’s temple festival so succinctly. The folk in the smaller towns from both Taiwan and Malaysia have much in common. City slickers are missing out on a lot…
廟會 Temple Festival:
王夢麟 – 廟會
Ah, great lyrics. Old songs always have such meaningful lines. Simple yet filled with poignant imagery. Too much context will be lost in translation, so leaving as is.