If you’re a Chinese, you have to celebrate Chinese New Year. What’s not to celebrate? You get to eat all the unhealthy snacks you want. Reunion dinners are one of the highlights too. Furthermore, you receive red packets filled with cash because our ancestors decided it is prosperous to do so! Chinese New Year also gives me an excuse to gamble and earn (
or lose) more.
My paternal family members are Singaporeans. However, my maternal side resides in Malaysia. It is a little embarrassing to admit but I look forward to celebrating with my Malaysian cousins and relatives. Not that I dislike my paternal side or anything. It’s just that we get more leeway when having fun.
Things get loud during the new year. Fireworks are a must-have. In Singapore, most of them are banned due to safety reasons so heading back to Malaysia is the only way to get my hands on them. They are definitely dangerous though. I recall one of our large fireworks going a little haywire and exploding on the ground instead of in the air. Beside a car. Everyone booked it as soon as they saw it hit the ground. That could have gone badly, but it didn’t. I don’t think this will stop me from continuing to play with fire next year, quite literally.
One other thing we did was gambling. It’s meant to be a ‘family bonding session’ so we don’t bet usually bet a lot. Blackjack is the most common one we play, since it’s relatively easy to understand. It’s a shame I was on a streak of bad luck; I lost most of my money. Meh…
We also had plenty of food to stuff our bellies with. The main dish at any reunion dinner is yu sheng, a dish with raw slices of fish, vegetables and sauces. Right before eating, everyone at the table grabs a pair of chopsticks and starts tossing the ingredients, shouting randomly and shouting phrases for good luck.
Away from all the excitement, we had our calmer moments during the new year. We took a 2-3 hour trip to this gorgeous temple. It was bustling with people and the scent of incense hovered in the air. The weather was amazing too, and it really brought out the vibrancy of the place.
I had my fortune told as well. There is this tube-like container inside the hall containing several sticks and you’re supposed to hold them all up slightly and drop them. The stick that, well, sticks out the furthest is the one you’re given. You read the number on it, and from the container, look for the corresponding drawer and get your slip from there. Seems like I drew a good one.
At the end of the week I spent in Malaysia, I’ve gained a lot of red packets (or hong bao as we call them) :D. Combined with the ones I received in Singapore, I received quite a decent amount /heh/. Can’t wait for next year to come!
Until then, today marks the last day of the Chinese New Year period. Whether you’re a Chinese or not, here’s wishing all of you 新年快乐!