Haiku Horizons: Monkey

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In honour of the Chinese Zodiac Year of the Monkey I thought I’d join in Haiku Horizon’s prompt which happens to be Monkey.

https://haikuhorizons.wordpress.com/2016/02/14/haiku-horizons-prompt-monkey/

I watched a very interesting TV programme last night, Chinese New Year The Biggest Celebration on Earth. I hope to complete a children’s book about Chinese New Year so I was drawn to watching this.  It featured the Snub Nosed Monkey, such a charming fellow. These monkeys are an endangered species. They have been hunted to near extinction. That is beyond horrible…….  but the good news is there is a rescue operation in hand. A dedicated man  looks after these charming fellows and collects their nuggets of poo so it can be analysed to check their health. That must be quite a job, plastic gloves are a prerequisite, but he takes it very seriously. In fact he is so skilled that he can glance at each sample of poo and tell exactly which monkey produced it! Quite an unusual skill.. He must love those monkeys..

Do find out more about the snub-nosed monkey, he seems to be a delightful monkey full of character:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_snub-nosed_monkey

More than one billion people travel from the cities to the countryside at Chinese New Year to be reunited with their families at this all important time. Can you imagine? That is a huge migration of folk, involving all manner of transport: plane, car, motorbike, and police car….  The Hairy Bikers couldn’t rev up in their usual style in China without the necessary documentation so they ended up travelling in the back of a police car!  These Hairy fellows learnt how to make Congee, a warming porridge made of pork, rice, and spring onions, served at the roadside to travellers returning to see their families at Chinese New Year.

This programme continued to fascinate me with its commentary on the Ice City, a massive winter wonderland carved out of massive slabs of ice in Harbin, the largest city of Heilongjiang province, in China.  It is so cold in this province of China that the elderly locals are acclimitised to the extreme cold. These hardy pensioners dive into a swimming pool to engage in a spot of …… ice swimming! The thought just sends me into an extreme shiver ……

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harbin

My haiku:

The snub nosed monkey,

Forest high flier, cool dude.

Keep him protected.

 

Hope all you Monkeys out there are having a very Happy and Prosperous New Year. I’m a rabbit in the Chinese zodiac…. I like to hop about and put my feet up with a good book. What about you?

 

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Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx

 

 

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#Blog Battle Writing Week 20: Prophet

 Well it’s time for another Blog Battle, if you haven’t come across Rachael Ritchey’s  Blog Battles here’s your chance to join in this fun community of writers.

This link will take you to her blog battle page: http://rachaelritchey.com/blogbattle/

The rules are:

Week 20 Theme will be Prophet

Date to Post: Tuesday, July 28th, 2015


Rules:

  1. 1000 words max
  2. fictional tale (or true if you really want)
  3. PG (no more than PG-13) Content – let’s keep this family friendly!
  4. Your story must contain the word(s) from the theme and/or be centered around the theme in a way that shows it is clearly related
  5. Go for the entertainment value!
  6. Post your story by Tuesday 11:59 PM PST
  7. Use the hashtag #BlogBattle when tweeting your story, put a link back to your #BlogBattle Short Story in the comments section of this page, and/or include a link to this page in your own blog post (it creates a “ping-back” which will alert me and our friends to your #BlogBattle post)
  8. Have fun!

The prompt word this week is Prophet.  I thought I’d give you another little taster of my WIP, a children’s fantasy set in Edinburgh.  I have written about 12,000 words in total for this new manuscript, so there is still a long way to go! This is the opening chapter of Morag Eu-Fung’s adventures, which is still to be edited/critiqued, by my writing group so all comments appreciated.

Hope you enjoy!

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Grandma’s Prophesy

Morag shouted, a wide grin erupted on her moon-shaped face, any spirits evil or otherwise were probably deafened and finding a hiding place in a crater somewhere. Now Morag’s voice sounded hoarse. Eilidh rolled her eyes, and frowned, her forehead creasing tightly in a sisterly display of disapproval. Morag acknowledged the frown by sticking her tongue out at her sister, but it was too late, Eilidh had turned away totally missing Morag’s rebellious gesture.

Just at that very moment, the night sky lit up with another jubilant burst of fireworks. The rainbow of light seemed to catch Morag’s dark brown hair which hung loose, and then alighted on her coat which was unbuttoned, thrown on. Another burst of colour settled momentarily on her fingerless mittens. Morag’s face glowed, her breaths panting, like a tribe of joggers, trying to keep up with each quick step of excitement. As if to match the momentum of Morag’s breathing a sequence of fireworks burst into another wonderful display, light fell, illuminating the freckles on Eilidh’s face which squeezed together impersonating a series of tiny black dots. Somehow Eilidh’s freckles reminded Morag of what you might see after staring too long and hard at an optician’s bright light.

Morag’s dad had outdone himself. Where had he managed to find such a wonderful array of fireworks? The firecrackers had been noisy; the neighbours must be at breaking point by now. Morag imagined them in their houses gritting their teeth, and muttering with growing annoyance. She giggled. No doubt they could smell the aroma of burning bamboo sticks too. Anybody would think that they were living in Hong Kong or somewhere equally exotic, but no they were in Scotland, at least they were living in the capital city Edinburgh and not in some back water. The centre of Asian culture, no, not really, but most of the inhabitants of their house thought differently, and those who didn’t kept that opinion to themselves!

Mum, dad, grandma and grandpa joined them but watched from a distance. Morag and Eilidh huddled together in the back garden sharing this moment until Eilidh spoilt it with her selfish words.

“Come on Morag, let’s go, it’s over.”

Eilidh didn’t even have the decency to let the very last firework fizz out properly. Morag ignored her sister, she lingered, savouring the memory of the sight of the sparkling fireworks exploding into the darkness of the night, they might be gone but the atmosphere crackled with the promise of a New Year. She was so absorbed in her own thoughts that for a moment she hadn’t noticed everyone else trooping back into the house. But when she did she questioned why they always did as Eilidh said? Before Morag could wonder anymore Grandmother trudged up and grabbed her by the collar of her coat and yanked her back to reality.

“Whooa Grandma, I’m coming, stop pulling at my coat,” said Morag, as she turned for one last stolen glance at the night sky.

Grandmother might seem to be the patient one but when it came to tradition she was always the first one in line, on a mission, in a hurry, organising the family in her quiet, devoted way. She had come outside to collect Morag without bothering to put on her coat. Her black dress was tightly drawn across her plump body, acting as a fearsome barrier to the cold. Morag studied Grandmother Lean’s wrinkly, tired face. She’d been working really hard, busily preparing everything for Chinese New Year. Grandmother had very rarely sat down, whilst grandfather settled down into the best chair in the house and refused to get up! Typical grandfather!

The reunion dinner had been well worth all the effort. Morag’s favourite dumplings had sat like tempting morsels quivering with expectant anticipation on the dining table. Within one of the dumplings a gold coin  lay hidden and whoever found the coin was considered to be lucky. Morag had hoped that it would be her. She had looked at the dumplings hungrily and wondered which one to choose. Her hunger had got the better of her and she had chosen the biggest, fattest, one. In her haste she had opened her mouth wide and had taken an enormous bite, almost eating the dumpling whole. Of course, her elder sister had chosen the smaller more delicate dumpling and had found the gold coin. Typical! Why did her eldest sister have to be the lucky one? It was so unfair. Ugh! Still, maybe it was just as well, Morag had swallowed the gold coin last year by mistake, and they had had to rush her to hospital! After the gold coin incident, Eilidh had taken great delight in calling Morag a greedy pig. Morag didn’t want that name tag, even though the pig was one of the illustrious animals to grace the Chinese Zodiac.

The first day of this New Year had begun well. Grandmother Lean had greeted Morag and Eilidh with an individual ang pow, a little red packet.

“Spend it wisely, and all will be well,” Grandmother had prophesied.

Of course Grandmother hadn’t said this to Eilidh, she expected Eilidh to spend it wisely without being reminded. Eilidh would too, she knew how to get on the right side of grandmother and keep her sweet.

Morag had bowed respectfully to her grandmother, even though she was a bit annoyed by Grandmother selecting her for the “spend it wisely” message but she knew better than to say anything, and she certainly didn’t intend to open it in front of her. This was considered to be very rude! So she sneaked upstairs and opened the packet in her room, £20. Wow. She couldn’t wait to spend it.

She remembered her grandmother’s words.

“Spend it wisely.”

She loved her grandmother and knew that the spirits of her ancestors had been listening and that to disobey would be very, very, unwise. She must try her best to buy something worthy of her grandmother’s wish. She prophesied that she would be good, a little chuckle escaped betraying her like a prisoner from her lips.

© Marjorie Mallon 2015 – aka, Kyrosmagica. All Rights Reserved.

 

Hope you like my #BlogBattle story. I’m enjoying writing this WIP. Do let me know what you think. I would love some opinions on the Chinese New Year Theme.  Thanks a million.

kk

Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx

 

 

 

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My Friday Post: The Kitchen God and His Forgiving Wife

 

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 I’ve been doing some background research for my second children’s novel which is set at the time of Chinese New Year, so I’m dedicating this post to The Kitchen God, also known as the Stove GodZao Jun, Zao Shen, or Zhang Lang.

The Kitchen God watches over families and records their behaviour, good or otherwise, so beware!

Each year during Chinese New Year the Kitchen God reports back to the Jade Emperor of Heaven, Yu Huang, about how well the family members have conducted themselves throughout the year.   A paper picture of the Kitchen God is hung in a prominent location in the kitchen. The family have a thank you dinner in which a bowl of sticky rice is placed in front of the Kitchen God. It is believed that if the Kitchen God’s mouth is full of sticky glutinous rice, he will not be able to speak out about the family’s wrongdoings. Others give glutinous rice balls served in sugar soup and brown sugar bars as a bribe for the Kitchen God to say favorable things about the family.

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Sweet Glutinous Rice Cake

 

After the thank you dinner, the picture of the Kitchen God is burned and thereby sent back to heaven. A new picture of the Kitchen God is hung in the kitchen after the start of the Chinese New Year festivities.

The story of the Kitchen God is an interesting one, to begin with he’s just an ordinary mortal, Zhang Lang, a wayward fellow who has an affair with a younger more attractive woman. The heavens aren’t impressed by his behaviour so as a punishment he’s struck blind, and his young lover leaves him. In a nutshell his forgiving wife takes him back, as he seems guilty for his wrong-doings, and he is so remorseful for his adultery, that he throws himself onto the fire.  All very dramatic! Well, that’s one of the stories anyway, there are several spins on it, but this one sounds the one I’d be inclined towards accepting.

The picture below is a statue of  the Kitchen God and his wife in a temple in Chenghu, China.

 

thZTJ1KJU6 Statues of the kitchen god in a temple, Chenghu
Statues of the Kitchen God in a temple, Chenghu.

http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Asia/China/Sichuan_Sheng/Chengdu-1023458/Things_To_Do-Chengdu-Wenshu_Temple-BR-1.html

 

He’s represented here in a clock. The hands of time, ticking away from one Chinese New Year to another, so watch out, be good! Don’t be greedy!

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Here he is with some of the Chinese New Year signs. I’m a bit confused by the duck. I didn’t think a duck is one of the Chinese signs, (maybe he just waddled in,) though the rooster, pig and dog are. Anybody can clarify the duck’s role for me? Is he just visiting?

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He’s looking very splendid here watching over some food.

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I think the Kitchen God has found out that someone’s been badly behaved! Look at those eyes! No getting past them!

 

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Before I disappear into the kitchen to do my impersonation of a domestic goddess let me share with you a book that I discovered today while typing up this blog post.

Guess what, the book has The Kitchen God in the title, and he’s joined by his significant other!

The Kitchen God’s Wife, by Amy Tan.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Winnie and Helen have kept each other’s worst secrets for more than fifty years. Now, because she believes she is dying, Helen wants to expose everything. And Winnie angrily determines that she must be the one to tell her daughter, Pearl, about the past—including the terible truth even Helen does not know. And so begins Winnie’s story of her life on a small island outside Shanghai in the 1920s, and other places in China during World War II, and traces the happy and desperate events tha led to Winnie’s coming to America in 1949.  

 

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Happy Friday. Be good! Eat lots of yummy food! Enjoy your weekend.

Oh, if you’ve read The Kitchen God’s Wife, I’d love to hear what you thought of it.

 

 

Links:

http://fengshui.about.com/od/use-of-feng-shui-cures/qt/Kitchen-God-Feng-Shui.htm

https://breadetbutter.wordpress.com/2010/03/04/the-food-of-chinese-new-year/

https://marshmallow92.wordpress.com/special-food-serving/chinese-new-year/

 

THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and you do not wish for it to appear on this site, please contact or e-mail me with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

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Happy Chinese New Year Gong Xi Fa Cai

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Gong Xi Fa Cai – Happy Chinese New Year, it’s the Year of the Sheep, or I think so, some say it is the year of the Goat, or the Ram. Read the article at the bottom of this blog post to find out more. Would you rather be a fluffy Sheep? They’re far cuter I reckon.

I opened a fortune cookie today and this is what it said: You will find fortune on the 8th July. Very specific! Hope it comes true! Maybe I should do the lottery on that day.

Are there any sheep following my blog?

If you had a fortune cookie what did it say?

Do let me know in the comment box below, I’d love to hear your fortunes!

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/chinese-new-year-is-it-the-year-of-the-ram-sheep-or-goat-10055872.html

 

 

THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and you do not wish for it to appear on this site, please contact or e-mail me with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

 

 

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