ong lai

The mother once informed me that it is a tradition for Hokkiens to decorate their homes with pineapple-shaped ornaments (made of soft red plastic), as pineapple is ong lai in Hokkien, which is a homophone for ‘arrival of good fortune’.

So yesterday evening I was walking through the void deck of a block near mine, and passed this middle-aged couple who had clearly just done a bit of last minute CNY shopping. The man was carrying a gigantic pineapple-shaped ornament. And I do mean gigantic. It was probably more than 1 m tall and was longer than his torso!

I gazed at it for a few delightful moments. Where are they going to hang it? I couldn’t help but wonder. :)


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