Saturday, February 01, 2014

Lunar Laser New Year

"The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen
A kingdom of isolation
And it looks like I’m the Queen"

Let It Go (2013) by Idina Menzel

Cheryl and Darwin have flown back to Penang to spend the week with my in-laws so I forded the Lunar New Year this year with Sophie and Mikey, our two feline freeloaders whose sole contribution to this household is occasionally pooping outside the litter box. As per Chinese custom, we sat down for a reunion dinner on the eve of the holiday. I had a seasonal Golden Fortune pizza from Pizza Hut accompanied by a homemade Rusty Nail (two parts Scotch, one part Drambuie) while the cats have their usual - kitty kibbles with no alcoholic beverages because they haven't turned 21 yet.

Reunion Dinner with Cats
The table conversation was stimulating.

I live on the 8th floor of my building and was treated to a fantastic firework display that the people of Kuching were putting up since 7:00 PM. I was glad that Darwin wasn't here because I have no idea how I could put him to sleep when it sounded like the freaking London Blitz during World War II out there. Because Kuching is a pretty low-rise city, I had an unimpeded view of the pyrotechnics all the way to the neighbouring town of Bau and it got to pretty epic levels at midnight when everyone let their best rockets rip all at once.

Kuching Fireworks CNY Eve
I wonder how much more awesome it would have looked had my apartment faced the more affluent suburbs.

Kuching Fireworks CNY Eve from Balcony
Fireworks, burning of incense, burnt offerings for the dead and China's heavy industries - I'm starting to think that the Chinese people's main contribution to the world is smoke and air pollution.

The tradition of exploding stuff during the Lunar New Year started from the legend of a fearsome man-eating monster called 年獸 (nián shòu - literally means "Year Beast") which terrorised some village annually on New Year's eve. Fireworks and firecrackers were set off to finally scare this creature off for good and now, because we are a superstitious lot, we still do it to ward us from the visitations of evil spirits. Supposing that evil spirits used to be living folks, why would they be spooked by some flashes of light and loud noises - why wouldn't they be enthralled by it like any regular individual? And if they do find it aversive, why wouldn't they come and haunt their victims on any other day of the year when no one is lighting up any repellant fireworks? Question for the philosophers, this.

Just for a lark, I purchased a laser pointer for our cats. Mikey, our Ragdoll seems to be immune to the allure of bright darting points of light and acts as if he couldn't see it.

Mikey is Immune to Laser Pointers
Hi, I'm Mikey. I eat expensive kibbles and pee on my humans' floor mats, but I wouldn't provide them with any entertainment chasing laser lights.

Luckily, our Maine Coon, Sophie, loves it and wouldn't tire of trying to run it down all over the apartment. She's the more athletic of the two anyway and regularly kills any vermin that dares trespass into our house. Mikey, on the other hand, occasionally mistakes his own shadow for a challenger and tries to wrestle it to submission.

Now, I read that even low-powered green laser pointers produce beams that are visible at night via Raleigh scattering from air molecules and is frequently used by astronomers to point at stars and shit in the night sky so I tried it and the result was pretty damn cool.

Shooting Down Stars with Mah Lazer
Now, I can insult astronauts using laser Morse code.

Refracted Laser
Laser light refracted through a glass of booze.

Anyway, since I'm alone here in Kuching away from the family, I decided to do something I couldn't usually do on the first day on the Lunar New Year. What is it? Well, you'll find out the next time we speak again.

P.S. This post was written while Sophie's tail was partially obstructing my access to the keyboard. She likes lounging between my keyboard and the monitor when I'm at work on the PC.

Horsing around,
k0k s3n w4i

1 comment:

Su Ho said...

Your pet is so cute, so happy to see you play, I also intend to buy a green laser pointer home and my pet try.