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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Good Fortune To You!

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Monday, January 26, 2009

2009 - The Year of the Ox


(Image courtesy of http://www.onlinechineseastrology.com/astrology-sign-ox.aspx )

What lies ahead? According to Online Chinese Astrology, this is what we can expect:

"The Ox is the second sign of the Chinese zodiac. Like its predecessor and complement, the Rat, it signifies new beginnings. The main difference is the Ox is associated with building to last and slow but sure action. Even more so than last year we all have to make good choices, as that which is begun now is likely to have long term consequences.

As with last year, this is an Earth year. The difference is this one is yin rather than yang. It is thus likely to be less tumultuous. On a personal level, better results are more likely to be achieved by reacting to circumstances and going with the flow rather than aggressively charging forward and initiating a lot of action.

Unfortunately Earth has a destructive relationship with the Ox's fixed element, Water. In fact this is the fourth in a run of six years governed by an unlucky conflict of elements. This fact should come as no surprise to those who have followed US and world financial markets or the unspeakable horror that has persisted in Iraq.

The combination of Earth and Ox, however, is not at all a negative combination. Its primary characteristic is durability. It suggests an environment dominated by cautious pragmatism rather than quixotic dreaming. Things will get done.

Furthermore, they will generally be successful if done in harmony with the spirit of the Earth Ox. This applies both to the type and amount of new projects as well as the approach to accomplishing them. That means focusing on just a few, long term projects. It also suggests proceeding in a cautious yet determined manner. Finally, it counsels avoiding taking unnecessary risks and yielding to the temptation to seek short term gains.

Since this is an Earth year, those people born in a Metal year will generally fare better than others of their animal sign, while those born in a Water one are likely to do worse than those born in Wood, Fire, and Earth years.

The year 2009 will be a period of lasting accomplishments. This is true for individuals, societies and the human race in general. There may be times when motivation appears to be lacking. In fact the big challenge everyone faces is to generate the enthusiasm and desire to act. Those individuals and organizations that do will create enduring benefits for themselves and the world."


Well, I certainly hope that this augers well for most of us!

新年快樂 ! 恭喜發財! (Happy New Year! Be Prosperous!)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Spring Festival

The Christmas season is a big holiday here in predominantly-Catholic Philippines. We had a very long Christmas break, much longer than that of other countries. In China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and other Chinese-dominated countries though, the festival that they look forward to is the Spring Festival. In fact, in China, people have started flocking back to their home provinces in order to celebrate the festival with their families. It is going to be a long break for them, as work stops on January 22, 2009, and will resume only on February 2, 2009. Chinese New Year falls on January 26, somewhere in the middle. It marks the beginning of the Year of the Ox (so now, it's still the Year of the Rat, since it's not Chinese New Year yet).

Here in the Philippines, Chinese New Year is just another ordinary working day for Filipinos. Except for some treats like Tikoy (sweet cakes), the Chinese Lion and Dragon Dances and traffic on the roads going to the temples.

Our family makes it a point to have dinner together on the eve of Chinese New Year. The father's side of the family gets together for dinner, give out ang paos (red envelopes with money inside) to youngsters and unmarrieds. Some families even have fireworks.

On Chinese New Year's Day itself, we wake up to a breakfast of misua (thin noodles) and tikoy (sweet cakes). People (not everybody coz it's not an official holiday here and people have to go to work), mostly housewives and children studying in Chinese schools (where classes are usually called off) go to light incense in as many temples as they can. Chinatown is teeming with people and there are demos of dragon and lion dances. :) I used to go with my grandmother and mother when I was still studying in elementary and high school (since I was studying in a Chinese school), but when I entered college I couldn't since there were classes. Now I can't because of work. Oh well.

It's just a simple celebration really, not like the Christmas celebrations that we have here. But we always look forward to it because it is something traditional and cultural. I'm sure the celebrations in China are more elaborate. I'd enjoy carrying on this tradition to my children and I hope they'd pass it on to their children.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Proms From a Tsinay Point Of View

I guess, in my family, my mother is not the best person to turn to if you need prom dresses and advice (now you can get loads of that over the net). You see, she may be a modern Chinese woman, but she grew up in China and Hong Kong, where proms were not really events to watch out for, to say the least. I really do not know if proms are already around during the time when she was in high school, and knowing that she had her high school education in Hong Kong, I certainly doubt that she has some pictures of herself and classmates in prom dresses lying around.

You see, proms are more of a Western influence, specifically American. I learned about proms from a lot of teen oriented movies back in the eighties, when the Brat Pack ruled. That's when I learned about this fabulous school party when boys get to wear tuxedoes and girls get to wear glamorous prom dresses. The leads in the movies certainly seemed to look forward to this. Of course, in the teen movies, there'd be a lot of drama associated with getting a date to the prom and with the prom itself. I found myself looking forward to that "special" day.

I went to the prom twice, once as a junior and once as a senior. Compared to the movies, it was quite a letdown. The prom was held in our school's multipurpose hall (also used as a lunch hall). The dates were preselected by the teachers (by height! And a junior girl was paired with a senior guy and vice versa) and since there were more boys than girls, some girls (including myself) had to share a date with another girl! The prom dresses during that time were also nothing to rave about. We were told to dress "semi-formally", whatever that meant. The boys wore long sleeved shirts with ties. (Oh well, that was the eighties. I now watch movies from that era for nostalgia, and I cringe at the fashions then.) Of course, my proms were unglamorous events compared to those portrayed in the movies, but then generally Pinoys (and most expecially Tsinoys) don't give as much importance as the Americans do to these shindigs.

But during the recent years, I've noticed that the proms have evolved into something more resembling the "movie proms". The events have become more formal, with boys wearing coats and ties or barongs and the girls wearing glamous ball gowns (like in prom dresses Jovani). Even glossy magazines now feature tips for proms, designs for dresses, and tips for getting dates. I guess times have changed. It would be great to be a teen right now! :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Quiz Time!

Growing up in a semi-traditional Chinese Filipino family is kinda different from growing in a Filipino family, I guess. There are quite a number of things about our family that the Pinoy won't understand. I feel it every time I try to tell my Pinoy/Pinay friends about it and they just don't "get" it. Well, I guess it's really different for everybody. Not better, not worse, just different.




You Feel Humbled By Your Family



You are very quick to forgive your family for wrongdoings. You don't expect them to be perfect, and you try to help them out whenever it's possible.



You feel like some members of your family are too unhappy. These family members tend to create unhappiness for everyone else.



You've improved your family relationships through introspection. You always look at your own behavior first, and you've made changes to how you act.



You are honest and very outspoken with your family. You sometimes hurt feelings by saying things they don't want to hear.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Improvements?

Most Chinese women have small breasts. That is part of the genetic make-up, just like the yellowish skin tones, the small chinky eyes, the small nose, the small stature and the slender body. Of course, there are some exceptions.

It's one of the frustrations of Chinese women and other women of a more Asian type of beauty. Beauty standards nowadays lean towards the more Caucasian type of looks. Look at beauty pageants. They invariably choose candidates who fit the more Caucasian mold. While I would agree that it's best that you just be happy and content with what you have and see the beauty in yourself whatever you look like, some Chinese women have resorted to MYA breast surgery to try to "improve" themselves and make themselves more beautiful and alluring to others. Of course, this is not limited to Chinese women, but also to other women all over the world who feel they just "lack assets". That's why you now see some Asian women who are much "bigger" than their mothers.

Cosmetic surgery is now being more acceptable. Nowadays, movie stars no longer deny that they went under the knife in order to improve their looks. And, the common, everyday person who has enough money, can actually opt to modify their looks to make himself/herself look better.

Of course, we should always remember that cosmetic surgery is still a medical procedure, and as such, is not free from risks. One should always have a medical clearance before undergoing the procedures in order to minimize (but not totally cancel out) the risks.

While I also believe that it's a free world and women (and men) could choose to undergo cosmetic surgery if they want to (and they can, health wise), I'm perfectly content with what God has given me. Breasts serve the most important function of nourishing babies, and mine have very nicely served their purpose and will again do so when I give birth this coming June.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Something Happened...

December was VERY busy...much busier than I anticipated, so I have inadvertently put updating my blogs on hold.

I have planned on being a little more active once the festivities have come and gone, but then the start of the year has not been "nice" to our family.

Will blog about this once I get the time. In the meantime, you may just see some "sideline" posts. Sorry I can't post more personal posts in the meantime.