|The Star 6 February 2012|
But according to a French expert, anthropologist Fiorella Allio, it is here in Malaysia and not in Fujian that this is so.
(Click here to hear her giving a lecture on Taiwan)
Fiorella Allio is now in Malacca to research the Wangkang festival.
She was quoted to have said in the Star newspaper:
" There is not much distortion in the way the culture is preserved and the dialect spoken here is authentic. In China, the tradition is somewhat skewed due to various reasons, and this was brought to the pinnacle during the Communist era."
According to the newspaper, Fiorella Allio is not only a Mandarin linguist but also fluent in Hokkien.
She was quoted to have said that from a young age, she had been fascinated by the ancient cultures and that the Chinese culture preceded even the Egyptian culture. She was also quoted to have said she had been interested in Chinese culture and religion since the 1980s when she called China and Taiwan home.
Something else she was quoted to have said took me by surprise, even though I am Hokkien myself. She was reported to have added that she believed the Hokkien to be the most ancient of the various Chinese communities.
Today is the 15th or the last day of the Chinese New Year or what we call Chap Goh Meh here in Malaysia and Lantern Festival in China.
In Penang, the festival will be celebrated in a big way. Many singles will be throwing kam or mandarin oranges into the sea in the belief that by doing so, they will "catch" their future partner.
I wish all my Chinese readers a Happy Chap Goh Meh!