Christmas is here, and for the Chinese a few days before Christmas Day, it’s Happy Solstice Day. During this time, many Chinese around the world would make rice balls, also known as tong yuen or tang yuan (in Chinese). You could say it’s like Thanksgiving for the Chinese people, an important tradition. The rice balls are made out of glutinous rice flour in the form of play dough, and they are made into many small round balls. Amongst the many small rice balls, a very few large ones are made where some of them have fillings in it such as crushed peanuts, black sesame and red beans. I’ve never been a fan of the ones with fillings. I’ve always preferred my rice balls plain and simple. Colourings are also added to make the rice balls look bright and colourful. Rice balls are always made with close friends and families together as it symbolizes the importance of closeness and bonding.
Some Chinese are very peculiar about the ’roundness’ of the rice balls. They believe that the more ‘perfectly’ round the rice balls are, the stronger the closeness and bonding there is. Just like with my mother, she would always inspect the ’roundness’ of my rice balls. And if any of the rice balls are not as round as it should be, she would sigh loudly and re-rolled them until they were perfect to her, even if it meant re-rolling every single (200 plus) rice balls.
Afterwards, the rice balls are boiled twice in boiling water. The first round is to give them a wash. And in the second and final round, rock sugars, ginger and pandan leaves (pandanus amaryllifolius) are added into the water to give it its final flavour. When it’s done, share and serve the rice balls in small bowls. Those are the ingredients I would add to the ‘soup’ base, but there are also other flavourings used such as brown sugar or rice wine.
I’ve written a couple of posts on Chinese rice balls which you can check out or even learn to make.
The Wanderings of William Whiptail is a newly published children’s book by PUIYIN W.L. PUBLISHING authored and illustrated by Vivian Head and Biddy Lee. It is about a mouse who goes on a magical adventure across the English country to get to his Cousin Peanut. Even though it is a children’s book, it is also loved by adults as well. It has become a book loved by everyone.
Imagine discovering that you had a magic suitcase. What wishes would you choose? William Whiptail had to think very carefully before using up his magic wishes because he needed all the help he could get to help him on his way to Trickle Wallop.
I have a good friend, Oudvin Cassell, whom I had written a short post about in the past. He is an amazing artist/illustrator. There is nothing he cannot do when it comes to art and design. I am here to continuously help spread the word of his works and talent. Below is a message from his teacher/manager, Renee.
“Introducing the works of Illustrator Oudvin Cassell, and also some of my work too. Oudvin and I have known each other since he was a high school student artist, who was part of my short-lived NGO in Liberia called the Art House (disbanded due to the war). Oudvin then went on to get his art degree in the US and has been freelancing ever since. We have partnered to create comics and I am also managing him. He has completed two assignments, one making art for Liberian school books and another to story board a short film in the US. We will also put other work we create from time to time. I hope you enjoy our comics. More to come. If anyone is interested in hiring Oudvin for graphics work or to do commission work for you personally, please inbox me.”
Here are the following links to the website/page of Oudvin and Renee, and their contact details:
I have a friend, Oudvin Cassell, who is a natural when it comes to art. I have known Oudvin for quite a while now, and he is an inspiration to me when it comes to ‘expressionism’ through art, which is why I wanted to post some of his work and share it with everyone. He is also good at animation. He has been very supportive of my writing, and in return, I am here to help him promote his work. When it comes to art, I don’t think there’s anything Oudvin can’t achieve. He currently resides in America. If anyone is interested in working with him, or they just want to contact him, they may leave a message on his website http://chirhil.deviantart.com/gallery/ or contact me directly via this blog.