On the 3rd of February, Chinese Independent School Alumni (CISA) organized a Chinese New Year Festival the celebrate the Year of the Monkey. The theme of the event, as it was associated with monkey and the Chinese tradition, was ‘Journey to the West’. It’s the 1st event at the open area of Sunway to have events and a night market all the way till 9pm at night! It was a platform for Sunway students to perform and it could be seen through their performance routine whereby most performers are Sunway students.
Three members of the board of directors, Dr. Elizabeth Lee, Dr. Lee Weng Keng and Professor Graeme George Wilkinson where there for the opening ceremony and they also took part in calligraphy writing, whereby they wrote 人杰地灵、威风八面 and 双喜临门. These quotes, in their respective order, represents to glory derived from a person, an awe-inspiring reputation and good things coming in pairs.
On that day, there were wishing areas, and stalls selling food and drinks and even a place for students to learn Chinese calligraphy as well. One of the events that drew a lot of attention from people around was the spicy food challenge, which according to Chloe Kwok, had three stages. The first stage would have 10 people, 6 at stage two, and 3 at the last stage, before a winner emerges. The dish served at stage one was popiah with chili in it, while the second stage featured rice balls with cili padi. The 3rd stage one however, was a plate of spicy noodles, so said ‘homemade’ with secret recipe.
Most contestants, when asked about their reasons for joining the Spicy Food Challenge, said that they were either there to support their friends, just to have fun and also, of course, have their eyes on the prize. The first person to finish their food has to raise their hand and then shout their own name.
Contestant number one, Billy, was the first to finish in stage 1. The emcees teased him, asking whether his girlfriend or the food was hotter – in Chinese, ‘hot’ can mean spicy or, well, hot – in regards of a person. He said, to everyone’s applause, his girlfriend was still hotter. The majority of contestants in stage one rated 5 on level of spiciness from a scale of 1 to 10.
At stage 2, contestant 1, 5 and 9 were asked about their rating of the food’s spiciness again and this time, we even had one contestant who cried because the food was too spicy to handle! This time, the rating was 6 from contestant 1, and 5 said that he did not feel anything; apparently the food was still child’s play for him!
At stage 3, contestant number 9 quit, and his place was replaced by Roy who couldn’t even handle spicy food but was pushed by the rest of his committee members! Contestant number 1, Billy, ended up being the champion of the spicy food challenge, and we asked him for his comments on the whole festival afters. This time, when prompted about which is hotter, he said that both are equally hot!
Billy rated the food a 9 on the spiciness levels, and said that he had tried spicier food that the ones provided in this challenge before. He thought that it was a good event overall, and it provided a chance for most people to learn more about the Chinese tradition and languages.
Attached below are photos taken by our photographer Nicole Chin.