Lest We Forget


Compiled by Chan Chee Khiong

Mooncake mania returns for festival


SEPTEMBER 10, 2011 – The 15th day of the eighth month holds an important place in the Chinese calendar. It is marked with the celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Mooncake Festival. Held in conjunction with the Lantern Festival, the Mooncake Festival has come to be associated with bright and colourful lanterns.

One of the biggest festivals among the Chinese, the Mid-Autumn Festival is said to correspond with the Western tradition regarding harvest festivals..

There are many accounts on the origin of the Mid-Autumn Festival. Most believe it started during the 14th Century when China was under siege from the Mongols. The mooncakes were used in a strategy that involved the population in a revolt against the enemy.

The Chinese have a story saying that there is a Lady on the Moon and she is in fact the first person to ever visit this planetary orb bearing the pill of immortal life. Another tale relates to an old man on the moon, who is believed to arrange the marriages between the Chinese people.

Regardless of their origin, mooncakes today have become the centrepiece of the Mid-Autumn Festival. They are regarded as symbols of family reunion and their flavours bring to mind the sweetness of family ties.

Mooncakes are regarded as symbols of family reunion and their flavours bring to mind the sweetness of family ties. PHOTO: NYL

The moon itself plays an important role in these festivities. Seeing a full moon is believed to be an auspicious sign.

The sighting of the moon is celebrated by stringing up traditional red lanterns in various shapes and sizes and exchanging mooncakes with friends and family an expression of good wishes. Other activities like dragon dance and obeisance to the moon are also considered highly important.

With the Mid-Autumn Festival just few days away, bakeries are going into over-drive to keep up with the growing demand for mooncakes.

While traditional mooncakes prepared with a simple paste of lotus or red bean and baked in a thick crust of pastry, other Chinese, particularly, those living in southeast Asia have revolutionised this custom with local flavours.

Many retailers now sell exotic flavours such as chocolate, cheese, tiramisu, pandan, green tea, dragon fruit and durian as well low-fat yoghurt with fruit flavours to cater for the younger crowd.

Snow skin mooncakes made an appearance some years back and thrived since many confectioners introduced flavours that boggled the palate.

For the health-conscious mooncake lovers, sugar-free and low-cholesterol varieties of the pastry are also available. A recent innovation is the Angry Birds themed mooncakes, which are popular among fans of the mobile game.

On September 12, 2011, Chinese all over the world celebrate the Mooncake Festival with a festive air and an abundance of mooncakes eaten by the glow of multi-coloured lanterns. It is an occasion where families and friends spread warmth, care and love as they gather together and remember the importance of unity.

More ‘Soulz’ put into Brunei music scene


Zureena Abdullah

SEPTEMBER 15, 2001 – The first local music concert last Saturday night has opened the eyes of local people. The smashing success of Pneumatic Soulz organised by Nextlevel Entertainment Production has sparked a new fervour in Brunei as locals have approached Nextlevel seeking jobs as entertainers and the like. According to Jozy, leader of Pneumatic Soulz and who is also owner of Nextlevel, the company is now recruiting new, fresh local talents to fortify themselves as the company aims to upgrade the music industry in Brunei.

Jozy said Brunei needs to act to take the local music industry to new heights. “We are not professional artistes but we are not afraid of the challenge to be successful,” said Jozy, who with Zul, Hatta and Em-Dee form the Pneumatic Soulz, have plans to hold a charity concert for Paraplegic and Physically Disabled Association (PAPDA) and Association of Children with Special Needs (KACA).

The Pneumatic Soulz – Hatta, Zul, Jozy and Em-Dee. PHOTO: ZUREENA ABDULLAH