I always see September as a month when changes start for the year. It begins with the weather. It becomes decidedly colder. In tropical Singapore, it becomes cooler, with rain and more rain. In fact it has been raining almost everyday. The sun has taken a vacation. Clouds, darker ones, are holding fort. In temperate countries, there is an apparent change as the leaves are browning. A change of colour. There is a saying that autumn is the second spring when every leaf is a flower. If you see a year in four seasons, and you sow the seed of change in spring, then autumn is when change flowers. When change begins.
In May this year, I moved into a high-rise after staying on a landed for almost a decade. Like the browning leaves, this is the more obvious change. I have been planting seeds of change from the start of this year and I am starting to see the results now. In this autumnal months. I like traditional festivals. Of all the Chinese festivals, I like the mid-autumn festival the most. There is something about the glow of the mid-autumn lanterns, the aroma of the moon cakes and the chill of the cool weather that arouse in me a certain connection to being Chinese, to my childhood, and mostly, a celebration of being with family.
Each year, I would drive my mother to see the lanterns in Chinatown. This is also the time of the year the Chinese find opportunities to appreciate the full moon at its brightest. I am probably one of the last few Singaporeans who organise family gatherings with friends during the mid autumn festival. I would put up lanterns in the backyard. In the balconies. In the evening, when the lanterns were lit, the moon with a sea of candle lights, was a magical sight to behold. l live for such moments in life. When friends become family. When we celebrate a traditional festival, with good food and wine, complete with moon light. This year, however, there are changes. How do I hang lanterns in a high-rise apartment?
A close friend has to spend time with his new-found family, some will not be in town, while others have to entertain visiting guests. The director of a movie I am working on, laughed at the idea of a gathering for mid autumn festival when I invited him. So will this year signal the end of such a mid autumn festival gathering? I will not wish for this to happen. While it should not be too forced, I am still holding a torch to continuing this tradition of a mid autumn gathering. To have friends as family, appreciating the time we spend together while ‘appreciating the moon’ 赏月. This year, perhaps it is time I wish for new friends in the family circle. A wind of wishful change. Another reason to light a mid autumn lantern…
‘Autumn is the crowning glory of the year. Behold the changing leaves and enjoy the crisp breeze. Let your eyes take in the bursts of colour. Transformation is afoot and hope is in the air.’