Saturday, September 19, 2009

We Are So Banana

We, English-educated overseas Chinese, seldom realize how "banana" (yellow outside but white inside) we are. Then something happens to give us a jolt and then, my oh my, our true colours are revealed.

Take, for example, what happened last night.

Blooper No. 1

Hubby and I were commenting during cell fellowship that the relatively light traffic that evening came as a surprise to us because we were anticipating traffic jams due to the long Hari Raya break. In fact we were too early for cell meeting even after taking a makan angin drive around the neighbourhood.

We offered a number of reasons for the lack of vehicles on the road. First, the Muslims were at home breaking fast. Second, Taoist Chinese families would be busy praying because it was "s'nar chap meh".

This was in reference to the last and 3oth night of the seventh lunar month which was also the month of the hungry ghosts. The term seemed appropriate to us until someone pointed out that the correct term should have been "guaik buey" (lit. end of the month in Hokkien) because "s'nar chap meh" is only used specifically for Chinese New Year's Eve when it falls on the 30th day/night of the twelfth and last lunar month of the year.

Wah! So particular wan.

Blooper No. 2

The conversation continued and I proposed that we have a mooncake celebration on a cell meeting which falls nearest to "chap goh meh" (lit. 15th night in Hokkien).

I was referring to the mooncake festival which falls on the 15th night of the eighth lunar month and again someone corrected me saying the "chap goh meh" is a reference specific only to the last night of the Chinese New Year celebrations which falls on the 15th night of the first lunar month.

The mooncake festival is referred to as "pehk guaik chap goh" or 15th day of the lunar eighth month.

Two bloopers in one night and all centred around the same topic. Very fail.


We are Chinese but sometimes it's the nitty-gritty stuff that shows how un-Chinese our worldview is.

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