Random Events During Chinese New Year 2021

Over time, the Chinese New Year celebration isn’t quite like when I was a small boy. The pandemic changes the way we celebrate. Or not celebrate. Not just Chinese New Year. Birthday. Wedding. Maybe the future of celebration would emphasize something very personal. Like the first time when a couple holds hands and kiss. Or the first time you see a million dollar worth of assets in your account. Two million. Five million. Life then filled with personal badges and achievements like Steam or Garmin. Why not? My Princess is the 160th song I have written. The “badge” was earned on Oct 31, 2020. I am looking forward to earning the 170th song “badge” this year.

Tiong Bahru Market 2 Days Before CNY

Tiong Bahru Market

I cannot think of just one single reason why prices of meat and vegetable go up as we approach Chinese New Year. In my mind, there is a multitude of reasons. Most stalls are closed during the festive season. Hence, we stock up. More prefer to cook at home as we invite families and friends over. Hence, we buy more. And lastly, I reckon we eat way more during this period of time than we used to. Our meals during the Chinese New Year have to be sumptuous. It is the tradition.

Sum them up explains why a1.8 kg large chicken cost $16.50 two days before Chinese New Year. To put things in perspective, a medium chicken costs around S$8 on a normal day. Vegetable price has also gone up too. Curiously, pork and fish price stayed the same.

You would wonder why.

Someone At Work Delivered a CNY Gift to My Door

Two cans of abalone and biscuits for CNY, as a gift received.

I did not expect this at all. I had in the past someone junior at work sent me a bottle of wine during my birthday and Christmas. This is the first item I have received a gift from someone junior at work during Chinese New Year.

As a matter of fact, I am having the biscuits right now with my glass of white wine. I cannot describe what the biscuits taste like. They are savory and have a spicy aftertaste. Was it dried shrimp flavor? I can’t tell. The taste is so unique that … I just love it. I am eating non-stop as we speak.

Yummy.

An Antique Audio Recording Device

My Zoom Handy Recorder H2 that still works!

In the past, I could make do with the audio recording app that came with my Samsung phone. Now that I have right-graded to a budget realme phone, it just wouldn’t do. To assemble a home studio with a proper mic, DI box or guitar effect, and a multitrack recording device, is just so tedious. The wires. So many wires.

Last night I recalled I have a semi-pro audio recording device inside the dry cabinet. It must have been more than ten years old. I was used to having it to record my band’s jamming sessions inside a studio. Or for live recording when we performed live.

Surprisingly, my antique Zoom recording device still works today, albeit with a very inconvenient user interface. The sound quality beats any phone out there. And it is easy to set up too.

I Have “Rewarded” My Recent Active Lifestyle with a Garmine Venu

Meet my second Garmin watch, Venu!

Recently, I have started to resume living an active lifestyle. I walked a great deal more. I even jogged. I said to myself, if my knees don’t give me any problem after my jogging, I would upgrade my sports watch.

I wouldn’t say my knees are 100% okay. But they are well enough for me to take on a more strenuous form of exercise. My last Garmin watch was Vivoactive HR. It is ugly, very uncomfortable to wear. I was very skeptical over Garmin Venu. I even thought of switching from Android to Apple just for the Apple watch.

I have got to say, Garmin Venu has exceeded my expectation. It looks great. Very functional. And it is comfortable to wear. I will post an honest review once I have experienced what this watch offers.

I cannot remember when was the last time I swam. I have moved to my new condo a few years ago. Today was the first time I swam in an Olympic-sized pool. I have to work on the laps though. I have to glide more so that the watch can detect the strokes per lap correctly. And of course, it goes without saying that I have to swim faster.

Chinese Couplets

To loosely translate this, the couplets say “good fortune flows in smoothly every day, good luck comes every spring as each year starts”.

Before the pandemic, I was used to have a dedicated area in the office for my team of ten or more. I would – with the help of my team – have the area decorated. It could be Christmas and it could be Lunar New Year. Because my team was located in the IT department that are mostly Indian, the minority races such as Chinese and Caucasian would find our area refreshing. Something different.

Now with pandemic, we work from home. Since I have paid for these Chinese decorations in the past, I have decided to bring them home and decorate my place to be more festive.

Back to the Chicken Dishes

A 1.8 kg large chicken can easily be made into three dishes, if not more.

Back to the overpriced large chicken, I had to call my mom in Hong Kong and seek her advice on how long I needed to steam the large chicken. I actually knew the answer. I just wanted a reason to call mom and to confirm what I have already known.

We brainstormed on the phone what other dishes I could make from this 1.8 kg bird. My original plan was to invite my sister and her family over for a reunion dinner. But she could not make it. In the end, one dish on New Year Eve was the freshly steamed chicken (bottom left) serviced with soy sauce, oil, and spring onion dip on the side. Another dish was salt “baked” chicken, which was basically chicken thigh and wing marinated with salt overnight inside a frig. I had it on the Chinese New Year evening. It was delicious.

The third dish is going to be chicken porridge. I intend to shred the salt marinated chicken breast and add dry scallops. That will be my lunch on CNY day 2.

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