Sunday, 29 March 2009

Cheng Beng party 2009

Every year, my family undertakes a very quiet, uneventful Cheng Beng at about this time of the year. We went early yesterday morning, leaving the house at 6.20am and arriving at our first station of call, the Batu Lanchang Hokkien cemetery, at about 6.55am. Traffic was quite good and we found a good parking space just a stone's throw away from my maternal grandparents' tomb. Sky was still quite dark but my cousins from the Klang Valley were already at their parents' tomb a short distance away. I had been expecting them.

This was a scene from the Batu Lanchang cemetery. It's wide open space without trees or shade. We'd normally leave by 8am to avoid the full force of the sun. Afar, the apartments were washed in the sun's morning glow.

From Batu Lanchang, we moved to the almost forgotten Wat Pimbang Onn Siamese cemetery on Green Lane, across the road from the Caltex station. Here's where the ashes of my paternal grandparents were buried. This is an old cemetery. Normally, we wouldn't see many people but yesterday morning, there was an unusually larger crowd than normal.

There were tombs of almost every shape and design in this cemetery. From miniature versions of the traditional Chinese graves to cemented Thai versions with cement lotus flowers and mini-stupas. Unfortunately, the whole cemetery was in a mess with very little upkeep from the resident monks. About 10 years ago, a huge tree fell across the graves, damaging many of them but luckily, missing my grandparents'. It took the temple people about three years to remove all the wood finally.

And finally, we made our way to the Triple Wisdom Temple on Pangkor Road where my parents' own ancestral tablets are located. That's where our usual, quietly reflective, uninteresting visit turned unusually boisterous this year. I hadn't expected so many of my aunts and cousins to come pay their respects to their own family elders too but yes, we bumped into them ... at least 13 of them. It was like a reunion party without the angpows. Never gladder to see them than today.

Three of my de Vosse cousins: Eddy, Edwin and Edgar. We are all still learning to pull in our stomachs together ... rather unsuccessfully, as you can see!

1 comment:

stephen said...

Good grief!! Its a small world.I know the brothers from way back including the father and sister.