Painting the town red …

4 01 2011

It is not hard to find the colour red around most of the major cities in Malaysia and Singapore, red being considered an auspicious colour by the ethnic Chinese community. Red is a colour that screams out for attention and one that I love. Red for me is the colour of Chinese New Year, when red decorations, red lanterns and red (now mock) firecrackers, cast a bright glow over the streets in the lead up to the lunar new year, when as children we would look forward to the gifts of red packets (the practice these days is to fill the packets, or Ang Pow (Hong Bao in Hanyu Pinyin, with money). Red to me is also the colour of football (or soccer as some like to refer to the game that makes extensive use of foot action rather than what is actually referred to as football in many other parts of the world), being the colour of the top three English clubs (in terms of support) and with the popularity of team shirts these days, the Rooney, Fabregas and Gerrard brigade are very much out in force particularly during the weekends, when the shopping malls are awash in the red of football supporters. Red in fact is everywhere, and painting the town red on my recent trip to Malaysia were:

reflections off a puddle of water in the rainy Kuala Lumpur December;

a neon sign of a restaurant in Subang Jaya;

strawberries on sale;

tops of foldable plastic tables stowed away on Petaling Street;

fireworks in the New Year's sky over Kuala Lumpur;

a wrought iron gate of a temple in Central Kuala Lumpur;

a new world post box at the Railway Station;

an old world post box outside Pasar Seni;

the wagon of a train at the Railway Station;

a cosmetics outlet in a popular Kuala Lumpur shopping mall;

a phone booth near Pasar Seni in Kuala Lumpur;

Chinese New Year decorations on sale at a store in Ipoh;

lanterns illuminating the outside of a shop in Ipoh;

painted lettering on the pillar of a five foot way in Ipoh;

and of Malaysia on sale!

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