Gong Xi Fa Cai -- Happy Chinese New Year everyone!! Well we have definitely learned what the biggest holiday and celebration of the year is here in Malaysia. It is for sure Chinese New Year! WOW what a party they throw. We went to downtown KK on Tuesday night for a Chinese cultural/talent show they were having there. There is a well known street here in KK called Gaya Street. Similar to what 25th street would now be in Ogden. Gaya Street was all blocked off and thousands and thousands of Chinese Laterns were hung everywhere
The main reason we went to the show was to see one of our newest members performing. She is 11 years old and has so much talent and so much charisma and so much vibrancy about her. She is so amazing for someone who is just 11. She is the only one in her family who joined the church but she comes every week and participates in everything.
A big part of the Chinese New Year is the lion dance. These lions were outside of the stage area and every now and then the drums would beat and the lions would get up and start their dancing. It was very fun to watch them. But I think it must get really hot under those costumes.
Of course, any respectable Chinese New Year will have tons and tons of fireworks. For people who don't seem to have much, they seem to have a lot of fireworks. They started Sat. night/Sunday morning at midnight. The whole sky was lit with fireworks going off all over the whole city and area. And they love fire crackers. Strings and strings of firecrackers. Some strings were so long they would last for a minute or longer. That's a lot of fire crackers. And they are the big loud ones, not woosey little quiet ones. BIG LOUD ONES!! There was still a lot of smoke in the air this morning from all the fireworks last night. I don't know if there will be more fireworks tonight. But I know we'll definitely hear them and see them if there are more. Many of the businesses will be closed for about 4 days. If you want anything done you are usually told "Not til after New Year". They don't even publish the daily paper for 4 days.
Chinese New Year is so big here that we only had one Sacrament meeting for both branches today. No other meetings, just Sacrament and both branches were at the same meeting. There was a really good attendance though. Everyone was going home after to cook and meet with their families later in the day. Sounds like a lot of fun.
The Chinese also have a tradition for the new year called Amp Pau (not sure of the spelling). The Chinese have the amp pau red envelopes in which they place money. Then they give the red envelope to someone who is not married. It must be given to someone who is not married and if you receive one you must accept it or you will insult the giver. Some of the envelopes contain quite a bit of money. Makes you almost want to be single for a day or two, especially if you know some rich Chinese.
Tomorrow the transfers will come out. I really really hate transfers. I know, I've mentioned it before but it never gets easier. This is a picture of the KK missionaries in the KK district today after Sacrament:
Front row l to r: Sis. Christianson, Sis. Cabella, Sis. Read, Sis. Nielson and Sis. Parker.
Elder Tadius and Elder Song are native Malays. Elder Tadius also has a wonderful conversion story I will tell you when I get back if you remind me. So this is our wonderful group of elders and sisters whom we have grown to love so much and we hate to lose any of them. I tell them all they must keep in touch and let us know when they are in the Roy area or when they get married. I tell them I will even give them a present if they will invite us to their wedding reception. I figure they might remember to invite us if I promise them a present.
So as they say in Chinese "Gong Xi Fa Cai" or in Malay "Selamat Tahun Baru Cine" or in English "Happy Chinese New Year" everyone. It is the year of the snake and I hope it will bring good luck and prosperity to all of you. We love and miss you all. Send us an email! E/S Read