It is Chinese New Year again. Once upon a time, these words conjured up visions of new clothes, sweets, cookies and best of all, *ang paos! Even the tedious, respectful chants of “Great grandaunt” and “Cousin Ah Kow” (who is perhaps 10 times removed), the dangers of being suffocated by enthusiastic hugs, the drop dead boring waiting sessions (when old folks reminisce about their youthful exploits about 60 years ago) could not diminish the lure of the red packets. (See! We have been taught to be $$$minded at a tender young age!) Anyway, we didn¡¯t have much of a choice. What could little 8 year olds do in situations like that, except to put on a brave face and endure the ordeals?
20 years later, the thoughts of having to elbow my way through the mad crowds during sales (For some reasons, there are always sales at this period of time!) for new clothes, the high cholesterol and calorie levels of sweets and cookies and sitting through droning of 80 year old adventures (YES!! They never tire of repeating the same story every year!) seem drearier as CNY draws near. The pluses gained through the ang paos simply do not justify the agonies anymore.
Is it due to the fact that I am holding a job now and the ang paos aren¡¯t attractive anymore? Or is it due to the erosion of my grasp to my ethnic roots (as my father lectures us on the degeneration of traditional values of today¡¯s youths)? Or now that I am 28, I have the means to more choices and mobility?
Somehow I just do not see the point of sitting there, nodding my head eagerly to stories which I have heard for more than 20 times or making small talks to people whom I have either never met in my whole life or kept asking me if I have eaten already. To me, they are people whom I will not keep in contact with after my grandmother and my parents have passed on. Everything is mechanical and emotionless. Does this really endorse the true spirit of Chinese New Year? To me, it is a season to get together with close family members and friends. And the above certainly does not subscribe to this.
CNY gives a different meaning to my generation. There is no debating on if it is a merit or a minus because it is a change to our way of life. It is here to stay.
*CNY = Chinese New Year = Celebrated by the Chinese, in accordance to the Lunar Calendar
Ang Pao = Little red envelopes filled with money = Usually given by the older folks to the younger unmarried ones for good luck.