I was having R&R session with my colleagues and come across this interesting topics about renovating new HDB BTO flats encounters. A “must share” for everyone who are getting the keys to their new flats.
We have came across many renovations and almost all new flat owners will make some preparation before our renovation works kicks in.
Irregardless of the races and religions, everyone seek blessing for their new sweet home, be it for good health, good luck, happiness and prosperity. Everyone believe in respecting and sharing the space that we live on this earth and the universe in peace and harmony. (Sound like our Singapore National Pledge) “We, the citizens of Singapore, pledge ourselves as one united people, regardless of race, language or religion, to build a democratic society, based on justice and equality, so as to achieve happiness, prosperity and progress for our nation.”
After many years of consolidation and seeing all the happy prospers families that we renovate. This is one of the most commonly practice consolidated from all my colleagues for sharing.
Floor Plan – Where is the centre of the house?
Center of the house can be easily found if the perimeter of the house form a square or rectangle shape. However, due to different design and layout of new HDB flats, center point can end up in the store room, kitchen or even toilets. Therefore, majority of them will use the living hall as a marker. (See the image below)
Using the living hall for 5 directional points – North South East West
The 5 directional points is different from the compass (you don’t need to use a compass here). When you first step into the house (back facing the main door) on your right side, it will be East & South, on your left side, it will be North & West. (See image below)
Items for the 5 directional points and their resemble
Banana -（Try not to get a Del Monte banana – see image below.)
You will need to get a bunch of green banana. (You need place it there for 3 days, by end of third day, it will ripe and ready to eat). A banana shape that it looks like a scoop, so that you can scoop all the goodies into your house. In dialect, Hokkien – it sound like “jio” – meaning inviting all the goodies into your house.
As Sun always rise from the East, everyday you will invite and “jio” all the goodies into the house.
Rice – depend on your own consumption, normally owners, get a 1kg rice to resemble.
Now you will never go hungry staying in this house, as you are “jio – ing” foods everyday into your house.
5 Pears – 香梨 － Pears arrangement – 1 on top of the other 4, in hokkien, it sound like “Lai” “来“. You want to invite all the good luck into your house.
Cooking Oils – 油 －Golden color oil, You need cooking oil to cook, it also sound like “有”.
Now, you are inviting all helpers ( 贵人 ) into the house to fulfill your dreams. 有贵人来相助!
5 Apples – 苹果 － apples arrangement – 1 on top of the other 4, resemble family wellness, staying safe and sound (in Chinese – 平平安安). Of course, you don’t have to get green apples here as it won’t not turn red after 3 days. (We encounter a few couples who brought green apples thinking it will turn red after 3 days.)
Salt – 盐 － salt was a highly precious commodity in the history and it is mainly used for its ability to preserve foodstuffs, 盐具有保存食物作用. Now, you have everyone staying in the house well protected, safe, sound and healthy. 保家平安
North – 北
1 pineapple – 黄梨 － resemble someone wearing a crown with sweetness within. In Chinese, 头带皇冠， 甜甜蜜蜜。In Hokkien, it called “Ong Lai” ”旺来“
Vinegar – 醋 The wonderful thing about vinegar is that, because it can be used in so many different ways, from cleaning the house, freshen the air to deter ants and someone animals – it resemble a way to wand off all unlucky metters.
Centre – 中
5 Oranges – Oranges arrangement – 1 on top of the other 4, resemble 大吉大利 , prosperity
Charcoal – 䠕, resemble 财, it is also commonly known as dark gold – 黑金, definitely you need this to survive.
Tea leave －茶, Tea are for good health and adding value to water, you know that some tea leave are more expensive than hard liquor.
Prayer biscuit – 钱合, 和和气气
Prosperity Cakes – 发糕 for good luck
Optional* Prayer paper and incense stick
Optional* Normally used for commerical
Ginger －姜, 人参 Ginseng. 步步高升. In fact some get ginger that look like 人参 Ginseng for 早生贵子
Turnip Cakes 顺糕 – for an obstacles-free life
1 set of 地主金 + 5 sticks incense + 1 pair candles
Anyway, these are the 5 basic fruit and layout we always get to see when renovating a new flat.
Now that you have all these items for the new home, the fruits combine to resemble, “Jio, Lai, Peng, Ong, Da Ji Da Li” 招来， 平安， 兴旺， 大吉大利 and the 5 or 7 basic necessities for survival, 䠕, 米, 油, 盐, 姜, 醋, 茶 are there in the house.
You will need seek professional to find the right date and timing for you to start the ceremony.
3 days later, owners will return to keep the dry items (as it can be recycle when moving in) and collect the fruit for consumption.
The same process is repeated all over again when the renovation has completed. Seek professional for the right date and timing but this time right there is an additional process call “入伙“ moving in.
On the actual day of moving into your new house, You will need to prepare the following:
- The same 5 types of fruits as mentioned above
- The same 5 or 7 types of household necessities
- A packet of tang-yuan 汤圆 (glutinous rice balls).
- A rice bin filled with rice at least 3/4 full or 88% full (mentioned by one of my client).
If you don’t have a new bin, using an old one is fine.
- In the rice bin, place an Ang-Pow (Red Packet) of $8 or place a red sticker writing 满
- Get a beautiful basket “welcome basket”. After the ceremony, you can collect the packet of salt, rice, a bottle of vinegar, a bottle of cooking oil, with added on a packet of sugar, some canned food,
- A new clay charcoal stove.
- Some charcoal and a fire starter.
- Some rough salt (recommended fish tank salt)
With all these prepared, you are ready for the moving in ceremony!
- Get everyone to dress up in nice and clean clothing gathering outside the door. Remember to shut all windows and doors inside before leaving the house (with the main door shut too- don’t forget the keys)
- Normally the male owner of the house will light up the stove at the door, and make sure the charcoal is set alight and burning brightly! Now sprinkle, the rough salt over the fire, chemical reaction will create “fire crackers” sound.
- Open the main door.
- The man of the house will carry the rice bin and step over the charcoal stove, reciting auspicious phrases like 生体健康, 步步高升, 心想事成 en route into the house. He will be the first to enter. Once he is inside the house, he will open all the doors and windows.
- The female owner will be next to cross over the charcoal stove, carrying with her the ‘welcome basket’ of groceries (The 5 types of fruits and necessaries. She is also the one who rolls the pineapple in the house, and shout “财源滚滚来”
- Once inside, she should start to:
a. Light the kitchen stove.
b. Boil a kettle of water (88% full – as mentioned by the same client)
c. Start cooking the tang-yuan for the family to eat.
- Children will be next to enter the house, also stepping over the charcoal stove. When everyone is in, leave the charcoal stove at the door.
- The man should then retrieve the pineapples and start preparing the process similar to prior start of renovation. Of course this time round, with furniture around.
- When all that is done, he will retrieve the charcoal stove, bring it to the kitchen and place the kettle over it. ( Let the flames extinguish naturally)
Wind and air are required for the charcoal to burn = (风）
With the early stage when you sprinkle salt over it, it create sound (声 ＝ 生）
With the boiling kettle, you will have water in it (水）
Boiling water will create steam (水气 ＝ 起）Congratulation! You have completed the ceremony called 风生水起Once the flames are out, you can keep the stove in either the kitchen or the storeroom.