Gong Xi Fa Cai! Happy Lunar New Year!
Yes, it is the time for makan-makan sessions, lion dances, the endless tossing of the Yee Sang and those juicy Mandarin oranges for 14 days! What a great place to be for those who enjoy devouring the beautiful cornucopia of cultures that our nation has to offer.
It is a great time for all Malaysians – regardless of our ethnicity. We go through massive ‘balik kampung’ exodus to our hometowns annually. Most for Reunion dinners and for the rest to spend quality time with loved ones during the long holidays. The fact that we brave the unbelievable traffic congestion for every major celebrations never seems to amaze me. To me, it is a positive indication that all is not lost when it comes to reinforcing our relationship with our families and old friends. Whether we realize it or not we are creatures of habit and I must say that we are the best kind there is. What more when there are plenty of attractive temptations of cheap flights and holiday offers during the festive seasons, we still hang fast to our traditional values and still ‘balik kampung’ for the holidays, at least once a year.
Over the years, a lot of things have changed, modified, and replaced but the spirit stays the same. Marked changes are, that Reunion dinners are now held in restaurants (so that Grandmas can rest and look pretty); and carbonated drinks with lots of peanuts are now being replaced with ‘teh tarik’ and a spread of Malaysian favourite (halal) dishes at the table demonstrating our respect and tolerance towards each other. Among the few…
A modification in cleaning the house on the day is the best. No more monkey business when it comes to sweeping, okay Grandma! No more screaming as no one will be holding a broom. Sweeping has been replaced by vacuuming. It has been for ages now. Justification, Grandma? Instead of sweeping away good luck, the vacuum provides the best alternative for storing the good luck for as long as Grandma would like to! That is what I call creativity… Hehehe…
Faces at the Reunion dinners are more interesting and beautiful these days, due to the increasing number and frequency of our own mobility across the globe, and hence cross cultural marriages. Walk into any restaurant during a Reunion dinner; one might think that one accidentally crashed into a United Nations dinner! It is a welcome change, in the spirit of diversity. Well, we are citizens of the world and it is a step for us to learn accepting and embracing each other, and overcoming our explicit and implicit religious, cultural and social biases. We do live in an interesting time!
With the coming of this year of the Monkey, let us hope that it brings us all the good things in life. Monkeying around aside, let us always wish for a better year filled with lots of prosperity, peace, love and harmony while embracing new and positive changes and modifications while hanging on to traditions which are close to our hearts and uniquely define us of who we are.
Missing the sound of the firecrackers while Monkeying for a Healthier, Wealthier & Wiser me,
p/s: Sorry guys! I am still eligible for ang pow (again) this year! Hehehe…