Protasco’s Chinese New Year Open House 2017Protasco’s Chinese New Year Open House 2017

Malaysia is unique for her colourful cultural diversity, which I always enjoy when Malaysians come together to share the joy of festive celebrations, during Hari Raya, Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Harvest Festival and many more.

Thanks to my colleagues at Protasco for a job well done, we hosted  our annual Chinese New Year Open House at our Kajang corporate office on 7th February for more than 600 people, including friends, families and our very own Protasco citizens. Without their energy, meticulous planning and eye for detail, this happy event would not have been possible. Thank you for your contribution in making Protasco Group a strong and thriving corporation.

The ‘ang pow’ or red packet signifies our wishes for good luck  and good health  in  the coming  yearThe ‘ang pow’ or red packet signifies our wishes for good luck  and good health  in  the coming  year

Our celebration opened with a bang when I had the pleasure of lighting the string of firecrackers, and the thunderous roar not only enlivened our Open House but also symbolizes prosperity for everyone here. Of course, no New Year festivity is complete without the lively lion dance. Three lions greeted our guests, bounding and capering to the rhythm of drum, gong and cymbals.

Our feast started with tossing Yee Sang, a dish comprises a variety of colourful shredded vegetables, crispy crackers, pomelo and thin slices of salmon. By tossing the ingredients high with chopsticks, it signifies abundance of good luck, prosperity and happiness for everyone. After the Yee Sang, came the Malaysian all-time favourites – satay, fried kueh teow, curry chicken, roti jala, fried chicken, ice kacang and many more.

Protasco staff and guests  arriving at multi-purpose hall for CNY open houseProtasco staff and guests  arriving at multi-purpose hall for CNY open house

3 lions ushering in prosperity, good luck and success for everyone3 lions ushering in prosperity, good luck and success for everyone

For me, the highlight of the Open House was Lui Cha, a Hopo dish traditionally served on the 7th day of the Chinese New Year. Lui Cha literally translates as “thunder tea”, a reference to the sound of the pestle and mortar when pounding fresh tea leaves, peanuts, sesame seeds, grains and basil and mint leaves to make the bright green soup base. The soup is then poured over a bowl of rice, vegetables, tofu and peanuts. With the tea soup, rice, five types of vegetables, tofu and nuts, the ingredients symbolise an auspicious number, nine.

This dish has its roots in the hard lives of the Hakka people, which literally means “guest people”. We were called “guests” because our ancestors migrated over the centuries from Northern China to Southern China, and finally settling mainly in the Fujian and Guangdong provinces. For the Hopo Hakkas, Lui Cha was important for survival when food was scarce, created with easily available herbs, grains and vegetables.

Hopo Lui Cha consists of 9 ingredients, including tea soup, 5 types of vegetables, tofu, peanuts and riceHopo Lui Cha consists of 9 ingredients, including tea soup, 5 types of vegetables, tofu, peanuts and rice

These days, Lui Cha is consumed all year round, and not just during Chinese New Year. A nutritious and healthy meal, it has become a popular item on organic restaurant menus. This is the first time Lui Cha has featured in our Chinese New Year Open House, and I’m glad that I had the opportunity to share part of my Hopo Hakka heritage with guests and colleagues. I hope those who have tasted it enjoyed its refreshing herbal fragrance and visit restaurants for more in the future.

How Hopo Lui Cha is made at Hopo Cultural MuseumHow Hopo Lui Cha is made at Hopo Cultural Museum

At the Hopo Cultural Museum in Pudu, Kuala Lumpur, we have a special section displaying how Hopo Lui Cha is made, together with other exhibits like the Hopo lion, our ancestors’ beliefs and religion, an illustrated history and other items related to Hopo culture.

I hope you can pay a visit the museum to learn more about the Hopo Hakka of Malaysia. It is open from 9am to 4pm on weekdays. Weekend visits can be arranged too, with prior appointment.

Address: 65 & 67, 1st Floor, Wisma Hopo, Changkat Thambi Dollah, Off Jalan Pudu, 55100 Kuala Lumpur

Telephone: 03-2148 6567

Fax : 03-21426567