HA0014A Ten Ping & Friends - Ten Ping (Winter Solstice Festival)

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HA0014A Ten Ping & Friends - Ten Ping (Winter Solstice Festival)

$249.00
  • Model: HA0014A
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5lb(s)
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Product Description
Major Material: Cotton
Major Colour: Red, Beige and Blue

Wig Size: 5.5 inch

After school one day, I found a package in the middle of the table in our living room. As my grandmother was illiterate, the package was still unopened. I took a peek at the note on top of the package and shrieked out in delight! My mother had sent us a pack of glutinous rice (sweet rice) flour from Hong Kong!

Glutinous rice (sweet rice) is a special kind of rice that becomes stretchy and malleable when it is combined with water, like dough. The major difference between flour dough and glutinous rice, however, is that the dough loses its malleability after heated; bread can be ripped apart; but glutinous rice products continues to stick together as it keeps the stickiness and the malleability even after cooked.

This food became a major icon with important symbolic significance in China, mainly because it encompasses Chinese belief in family values. In times of hardship, a family can be bend or stretched to the limits; but at the end of the day; all members of the family still sticks together, just like the glutinous rice dough.

I understood my mother’s intent of sending the glutinous rice flour to us. It will be the Winter Solstice festival soon! Winter Solstice is as important to the ethnic Chinese as Christmas is to the rest of the Christian world; and the two shares some similarities in many ways too. During the Winter Solstice festival, it is a time when all family members gather, to give thanks and celebrate for a fruitful year of hard work. The only difference was that Santa Claus was missing in the past Chinese folklores.

Located far away in distant Hong Kong, my mother probably regretted not being able to be together with the rest of the family on this important date, and sent her feelings and thoughts through this glutinous rice flour; as a reminder that our family might be stretched apart, but we were still very much together.

Anyway the arrival of the glutinous rice flour also promised another joyful reward; the thought of eating glutinous rice balls already had my mouth watering!

But an important question remained: “How do we make this delicious festive food, the actual glutinous rice balls?” I wondered.

Luckily, Gigi showed up just in time to help me with the answer.

After being informed about this special surprise, Gigi promptly went home and brought back to me a little booklet on the ways to cook glutinous rice. And there it was, on the second page of the little booklet, that we found the recipe to make glutinous sweet rice balls!

Just as Gigi and I decided to make the rice balls, my grandma came home. She was very happy after she was informed about the surprise gift from my mother, but she asked us to stop making the rice balls until the Winter Solstice actually arrives. “We should make it on the day of the Winter Solstice so the rice balls will be nice and fresh!” Grandma said cheerfully, as she snatched the glutinous rice flour from my hand to store it on one of the top shelves.

My spirits plummeted, not only was my excitement taken away, the glutinous rice had also meant something very special to me. The thought that my mother, who I dearly missed, had recently ran her hands on this particular bag of flour, and had held it in her hands; seemed to have gave me a direct connection to her. I dearly wanted to touch that same bag of flour which my mother had touched before, and maybe even nibble on some of the flour which my mother may have tasted earlier.

With luck, maybe right now, my mother was holding another bag of the same flour thousands of miles away and thinking of me at this very same moment just like I was thinking about her then.

My eyes started to swell with tears. The ever joyful Gigi seemed to have sensed my thoughts, because she immediately started to subtly cheer me up.

“Oh right! We don’t even have any red beans ready yet! It would be a waste to cook the glutinous rice now without the red bean. I mean, we definitely shouldn’t waste your mother’s sweet rice! I will prepare some red bean and we can do this properly when the Winter Solstice day comes!”

After a few restless nights, Gigi surprised me on the night before the Winter Solstice. She brought over a bag of red bean and asked us to wash and soak them in water for the night. Apparently it was the preparation work to make the red bean paste the next day.

Finally the long awaited Winter Solstice day arrived! The usual empty neighborhood became lively with people! Families had traveled far to get together on this festive day; to meet and celebrate the end of another hard working year!

Gigi came right on time to make the symbolic rice balls with us. We happily boiled the red beans until the shell cracked. We then added sugar into the water and stirred until the mixture became a mushy paste.

Then my grandma handed us the precious bag of glutinous rice flour. I quickly snatched it and hugged it close to my face.

I was elated!

Gigi grinned at me with a mischievous smile.

I blushed slightly and quickly proceeded to pour some of the flour into a bowl and mixed it with water to make the dough. When the dough was ready, we proceeded to made little balls, the size of a golf ball, out of the dough and then carefully inserted the prepared red bean paste into them.

Without being asked, my three younger siblings quickly joined us to make the tasty rice balls.

My little brother insisted on making rice balls that were double the size of mine. “I want mooore!” He roared.

Gigi and my other siblings laughed.

Meanwhile I paid attention to make sure that every ball of mine was of the same uniform size, and of perfect spherical shapes.

I knew this is what my mother would’ve done if she was here. If here in person, my mother would have insisted that we should always put our heart into our works.

I wondered if she was also making the same rice balls that I’m making right now, thousands of miles away, in far- away Hong Kong. Somehow the completion of each rice balls gave me a fulfilling sense of satisfaction, as if with each ball I had made, it had connected me closer to my mother faraway.

Finally grandma dropped the finished rice balls into a pot of boiling water to cook. A few minutes later, we started chewing on our delicious creations.

My brother’s rice balls took much longer to cook due to the sheer size of it, and it ended up a little overcooked on the outside and undercooked in the inside; but he enjoyed his trophy nonetheless.

All this time, I enjoyed watching the teases Gigi kept giving my little brother on his little accomplishment.

Suddenly a thought came to my mind; these joyful moments would not be as enjoyable without my mother’s gift! In other words, the flour had given us the invaluable moments of family pleasure. My mind immediately raced to my faraway mother, my diligent mother who worked all her life selflessly to provide us with happiness. This bag of flour was exactly like the birthday dress, during the night, that she had made for me on my 5th birthday, that she would work herself to her bones just to see us smile.

But on that birthday, my mother did see me smile! And now, thousands of miles away, I wondered if my mother was looking up in the sky, asking the same question that I was asking myself as well. “How is she doing, and is she enjoying herself in this Winter Solstice day? Is she smiling?” I silently fought back my tears.

Items included: Nude doll with make-up, Wig, Blouse, Pants, Vest, Under-pant, Head-piece, Earrings, Hand-warmer, Socks, Shoes and Limited Edition Story Book

Limited Edition

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