Yesterday we repeated our favourite pre-celebration ritual of vegetarian meal, temple visits and decoration shopping in the Fortune Centre area. The last time we could do so maskless & free, was in 2020.
In 20 days’ time the Lunar New Year will be upon us.
It was good to see the old folks up and about at the vegetarian cafe. They were happily taking food orders and heartily conveying their choices to the kitchen.
The evening puja at Sri Krishnan Temple had started as we walked by. The aroma of incense offering and intermittent peal of brass temple bell lifted our spirit.
At the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple (Goddess of Mercy), devotees were quietly praying outside the closed temple gates as dusk fell.
A few steps ahead, we chanced upon a shop called “Good Neighbour,” that appeared to be only selling household goods. As we ventured further in, an array of chinese new year decors in shades of vermillion & carmine greeted our eyes.
Even though it was near closing time, the staff and cashier remained hospitable to browsers and handled each customer’s enquiry good-naturedly.
The young man at the cashier counter code switched effortlessly among English, Mandarin, Malay and Hokkien depending on the language being used to address him.
“When beautiful people talk to me nicely, I will speak clearly too,” he shot back cheerfully when we expressed amazement at the accuracy of his Hokkien pronunciation.
After he had helped us take a picture with the Year of the Hare (Rabbit) decor, he respectfully wished the two of us elderly Rabbits good health and many years of new year jaunting to come.
When my friend wished him the blessings of good employment & kind employer for all round prosperity, the carefree boy with studded ears and golden streaks in his hair listened intently & bowed lightly.
Our first day outing of 2023 came to a sweet close as we stopped for local ice cream wrapped in bread. Above us the nearly full moon shone.