Monday, 19 October 2009

China- Day 3 (28/09/09) Part Two

Continued from Part One.

Chor Pek Kong
(The family's ancestral saint)

I was brought up as a Buddhist with the usual disciplines of Taoism, Confucianism and more than the six of the best thrown in. I started to lapse in my belief in God during 9/11 and ultimately gave him up when the Beslan disaster took place. But one thing that’s been ingrained in me is the Confucian virtue of filial piety; in short an absolute and interminable respect for my parents and ancestors. As the McCartney’s song goes; When I find myself in times of trouble or in my hour of darkness I turn to my Dad, Grandad and the good chap above. By resolutely believing in their spirits; words of wisdom and the proverbial get out jail card are always granted on me. Religions cause too much dependency for anyone and I can’t deny the fact that my conviction echoes that. Ancestral worship without a belief in God is my religion and I don’t speak for my Mum, my daughter, my brothers or my relatives. Let it be.

Warning, this post includes some graphic shots of animal butchery that may prove too gruesome for the fainthearted.

Cousins Juneberry and Hua.
This is the preliminary session at the 'home' altar

The game of Mah Jong is played whenever and wherever, be it weddings, Chinese New Year, funerals or religious festivals. Excuses are plentiful when this form of gambling is considered. No Chinese person (except for those brought up in the West) would ever play the game without the vital accessory that's money; it would be too pointless!

Richard with his winning hand.
Just in case you're wondering, I can't play...Mum never taught me for obvious reasons.

Oink no more.

This was one of the six pigs that has been slaughtered earlier.
It's quite unnerving to observe how similar the skin is to us humans.

Preparing brawn

Sacrificial kid

It was unusual to see the animal...

...goat or lamb is hardly eaten in this part of China... much so that it didn't appear on the menu...

...and that same table was later used for dinner...

...all prepped and propped for the altar.

Getting ready for dinner

Chopping bamboo shoots.
The board! No one suffered from food poisioning as far as I was aware.

Salting to taste or it could well be MSG

The Chinese have their meals comparatively early, brekkie at 7AM, lunch at noon and dinner pronto at 6pm; for some reason or the other we always seem to be in a rush!

Uncle 7
Not the eldest but certainly the most important, he 'runs' the family interests.

Hai Yun
Or Sea Cloud in English; she's the redoubtable tour guide that the family have been relying on for years whenever they visit China. She's accompanied them from Urumqi to Shanghai. Tibet is probably the only place in China my Mum and her siblings haven't been to. Give Hai Yun a problem and she'll always fix it!

Most of the villagers here are farmers and the above was nice enough to let us interfere with his work.

Soy beans

The farmer's son clearing excess foliages

Sweet potatoes

Uncle 9
The youngest of Mum's siblings, she has thirteen of them. Like Uncle 8, they both went to Japanese universities and are suitably bilingual. If I ever have aspirations to write a Wild Swans on the family then I'll need to consult him as he is the only one who bothered to chronicle the tree. Unfortunately the knowledge he has amassed is also in his head; I need to spend some time with him soon.

Sweet girl, sweet potato

Dinner imminent

Perspective showing my granfather's 250 year old birthplace.

Bamboo shoots and pork

I've gone off pork belly on my third day in China!

Clam soup with tofu and pork again.
Two different kinds of soup plus a minimum of five other dishes are normal during lunch or dinner.

The Deities await

Prompt start of the ceremony at 7.30pm.
This will go on for the next eight hours.


thora said...

The photos and your comments are enjoyable.
I did not mind the photos, my grandfather used to prepare rabbits and pork and I usually assisted.
LOL at the gambling, I'd have insisted to be taught.
Thanks again and hopefully there's more to come.

porkknuckle said...

thora- The Chinese are natural gamblers and that's dangerous enough! It's going to take me at least another month to wrap this blog up...the urge to is sadly lacking!

thora said...

I must be a Chinese then, I'm a natural gambler as well. Controlled natural gambler :-)
Patiently waiting for the next post, and waiting and waiting ...

porkknuckle said...

Thora- I know there are ghost writers but; 'An equivalent! an equivalent! my kingdom for a ghost blogger!' Post coming this week ;)

Bronte said...

It's this week. ;)

Bronte said...

Two weeks.

thora said...

Yep, Bronte is right! (we will not give up!)

Bronte said...

Your so lazy... Seriously. It's been like 6 weeks.

June said...'s more than a month now, cuz..when are you posting more??..want to see more of what you've been snapping away when we were there!!!

Su-Lin said...

What happened to this blog? You surely spent more than 3 days in China?!