A long long time ago, Chinese New Year’s was this thing I both loved and hated. Loved, because in Singapore, it was a 3 days long holiday complete with lots of food, reasons to get new clothes and shoes as well as people throwing money your way simply because you’re a kid (or, an unmarried soul).
I hated it because of the sheer amount of fuss I had to go through because of it. Without fail, every year, mum would go to OG (which I nicknamed Old Grandmas as it used to sell terribly fashioned clothings) to buy her New Year’s clothes. The whole process often included her either asking or telling me she looks “sexy” in said clothes – I don’t even want to think of her even looking remotely looking sexy, thank you very much.
Then there’s the whole visitations, the facade people put up to others whether they like each other or not, just for the whole CNY thing. Not to mention the amount of travel one have to put oneself through for this entire facade to play out.
I haven’t had a proper reunion dinner and chinese new year for something like 12-13 years since we moved to a particular area. Mum is not a neat person, and spring cleaning for chinese new year’s never sound good to her so it didn’t happen once we got rid of the maid. However, my cousins asked me to consider coming back for chinese new year this year – so I agreed. 12-13 years is a damn long time.
I must admit, I was very nervous and stressed in the lead up to the whole gathering for various other reasons AND because I didn’t know what sort of things I can say or do at such gatherings.
It’s been so many years, I was worried about so many things. And worst – was it really worth it to go back for chinese new year’s, get stumped trying to look for food for 3 days (nothing’s opened) and more if the new year’s party turned out to be another huge facade?
but you know, my family was not like that at all. They were all warm, welcoming, funny, understanding, caring and concerned. We all had so much fun! we were a family and it felt great! I was quiet for the most part, I took a lot of photos for this family that I rarely got to see in the last 2 decades. I remembered most of them, but I have never felt this feeling that I had during this Chinese New Year’s.
And the best part was, they all gave equal amounts of attention, care and warmth to my sister! We were both so happy!
In lesser parts, because it was a quieter sort of celebration, we felt the same way celebrating chinese new year’s in Malaysia too. Yes, it was quieter, but it was in no way less fun or less happy. We baked cookies, we ate good food together, we chat, we laughed and we joked. I took nearly no pictures here for there were few people altogether at the same time, but now I thought I should have.
Nevertheless, this trip really worked, this trip was worth it and I was glad I went back, though I am terribly glad to be home