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Friday, June 3, 2011
Some of you may notice distribution of Bak Chang, as a gift, begun to take place among certain quarters of the Chinese community recently prior to the Chang Festival that falls on every fifth day of the fifth lunar month, to be exact the following Monday (June 6, 2011). This centuries old practice has a very significant value in the Chinese community, who love to preserve peace and harmony than anything else. That's the main reason why they preserved this old practice of eating Chang during this festival annually in commemoration to Mr. Qu Yuan's, scholar-poet, patriotism and loyalty towards the country.
This festival accords high honours to the above scholar-poet who took his life by jumping into a river in ancient China as he was saddened when the king refused to act according to his advice, which resulted in a war. Fearing that fishes would eat his body, Qu's friends and supporters made Chang and threw it into the river so that the fishes would eat the Chang instead of Qu's body. Since then, the symbolic act of honour that he had earned from his supporters, out of their love have been practised till today. That's why the scholars have a high social status in ancient China.
Append below please find a short biography of Qu Yuan.
Qu Yuan, born in the Xiling Gorge area of what is today western Hubei province, was a minister in the government of the state of Chu, descended from nobility and a champion of political loyalty and truth eager to maintain the Chu state's power. Qu Yuan advocated a policy of alliance with the other kingdoms of the period against the hegemonic Qin state, which threatened to dominate them all. Legend has it that the Chu king fell under the influence of other corrupt, jealous ministers who slandered Qu Yuan and banished his most loyal counselors. It is said that Qu Yuan returned first to his family's home town. In his exile, he spent much of this time collecting legends and rearranging folk odes while travelling the countryside, producing some of the greatest poetry in Chinese literature and expressing fervent love for his state and his deepest concerns for its future.
According to legend, his anxiety brought him to an increasingly troubled state of health; during his depression, he would often take walks near a certain well, during which he would look upon his reflection in the water and his own person, thin and gaunt. According to legend, this well became known as the "Face Reflection Well." Today on a hillside in Xiangluping in Hubei province's Zigui, there is a well which is considered to be the original well from the time of Qu Yuan.
In 278 BC, learning of the capture of his country's capital, Ying, by General Bai Qi of the state of Qin, Qu Yuan is said to have written the lengthy poem of lamentation called "Lament for Ying" and later to have waded into the Miluo river in today's Hunan Province holding a great rock in order to commit ritual suicide as a form of protest against the corruption of the era.
To add more colour to this legend, Miss Choong Kim Tin, 66, from Penang has given Bak Chang a "healthy makeover" by using oats instead of glutinous rice to make the delicacy. Wow! I am certain some of you may be curious where she got this idea from. She attributed during the recent interview from the Star that she became interested in making oat Chang after hearing from one of her friends two years ago and she managed to come up with the right combination after numerous attempts.
Her recipe is as append below for your information.
1. First stew pork with mushrooms for about an hour.
2. Then mix the gravy with oats until the mixture becomes sticky like the texture of cooked glutinous rice.
3. Its filling usually made of salted egg yolk, dried shrimps, pork and chestnuts.
She eventually began to sell them at the Jelutong market every Friday and Saturday, after she received encouraging feedbacks from her friends and relatives of her oat Chang. She feels happy to see her customers enjoy eating this healthy Chang as oats which can help to reduce cholesterol. Her creativity truly adds value to her customer, in particular, but also to the society at large because she has enriched our lives. Big thanks to her.
Of course, I will give it a try whenever I have a chance to do so. For Oat lovers take note, Miss Choong is showing how to wrap the Oat Chang at her home at Changkat Minden, George Town in Penang, in conjunction with the Bak Chang festival which falls on June 6. Do not miss this golden opportunity, write it down in your diary soonest possible. Please revert back to us thereafter. Thank you in advance.
For the benefits of everyone, I appended below a photo of Bak Chang
As usual, I love to hear your feedback after you have tried it. Thanks and look forward to receiving your comment.
YOUR CHIEF SERVANT,
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