Saturday, January 17, 2009

mei hua or plum blossoms

The florist shops are often the first places for a Chinese mother to go to before Chinese New Year.

This huge red plum blossom arrangement costs a bomb. It welcomes you at the Cinta Florist Shop in Mega Tower Miri. The Foochow lady owner allowed me to take a photo of it. Later I told her I was not going to buy it but I have a photo of it and that was enough. Well she gave me a smile.

This has been my plum blossom arrangement at home for the last 18 years. Very simple and now very old I need to throw it out after the new year as I have promised my children. At least they have made me happy for quite a while. I used to have about 5 branches but slowly the flowers dropped off over the years and these are all I have this year. Plastic flowers from Hong Kong actually became a craze after Li Ka Shing the most brilliant Chinese entrepreneur in the world became the owner of the Cheong Kong Company. His factory manufactured plastic flowers which were so real that they became much sought after in Asia and in other parts of the world. So we should be very thankful to this exceptional entrepreneur especially for the plastic plum blossoms in our living room.

This is my blue and white porcelain with plum blossom motif.

Lovely white plum blossoms.

What do plum blossoms remind you of? What thoughts do you have when you see them? I have plenty of thoughts in my head.

Plum blossoms are lovely on Chinese new year cards and ang pow envelopes. They just remind us of Spring and cheerfulness (even though when we were younger we did not have any idea what spring was like in China). They announce the coming of spring and happiness. And they remind me that the earth is once again alive and goodness can only come out of nature.

If you remember Titoni watches are also called Mei Hua Brand watches. Many Foochow brides wore a Titoni watch on their wedding day in the 60's and 70's. I am wondering whether I could find a Titoni watch that I like and buy one for my next big birthday! The Foochows really value this brand. So I often wonder whether it is the plum blossom which is very relevant to the Chinese that says it all or the true quality of the watch. Politicians often talk about branding these days.

A very infamous name in Chinese is the Mei Poison which is the pseudonym for venereal disease. People referred to this sickness in whispers behind doors when I was a child. Today I am glad we talk openly about STD in classrooms and in public workshops. I am not sure how many people today refer STD as Plum Blossom Sickness.

This new year as in the past few years I will just send images of plum blossoms to all my friends and loved ones for a change. But it is a first for me to write about it in my blog.

1 memories:

hedgemaker said...

Thank you for your reflections. When I was little in Washington DC, we used to go and see the cherry blossoms, and now I have a plum tree in South Dakota. It is blossoming as I write.
We also have black walnut trees. As I was eating a brownie with black walnuts, I suddenly realized that the flavor of the black walnut was like the fragrance of the plum blossom. That is so strange, because the black walnut is very black and considered very sharp, while the plum is so delicate. Nevertheless, same fragrance.


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