Thursday, January 31, 2008

Chinese New Year is coming?

Chinese New Year is a week away and I'm swamped with work. Well, I suppose it is the way with many local university undergraduates. It is always during CNY that you have to hand in your assignments, sit for tests etc. Sometimes I think that it is unfair. But then again, what do we do during CNY these days anyway? The most is that we will be a little busy with relatives and friends who are visiting on the first three days. After that, it is basically back to the normal mode.

One of the things that happens as you get older is that you tend to enjoy the celebrations less. I remember that when I was younger, I get excited waaaayyy before CNY, Christmas, Hari Raya or Deepavali was due to arrive. I used to insist buying new underwear even to celebrate CNY. These days, I would even wear my old T-shirt and shorts to entertain the guests who visit my house. And as the years pass, the guests become less and less lively and enthusiastic. The situation used to be that us children running around the house, begging attention from the uncles and aunties who come and visit. We used to look forward with anticipation the arrival of the lion dance troupe and watch in a mixture of awe, excitement and fear as they set off firecrackers. We used to enjoy eating all sorts of sweet meats and mandarin oranges and drinking jugs of carbonated drinks come CNY. Of course, the children and adults alike enjoy the traditional culture of receiving and giving of ang paus. We used to receive RM 5 from an uncle and be very happy and contented with the extra money. Nowadays, children pooh-pooh at an uncle or aunty (behind their backs) when they were given RM 5 as ang pau.

Perhaps it is with the banning of firecrackers that the celebration has become a little more mundane as years go by (it is also ironic that firecrackers which were traditionally for chinese to scare the devils are no longer often set off during CNY but more during Hari Raya and Deepavali). Perhaps it is the economic downturn that never seemed to end that has dampened the feelings of everyone. Or perhaps it is just that more and more Chinese are losing the tradition as they no could no longer link themselves to the point of celebrating the coming of Spring (coz Malaysia is summer all year long?)?

Whatever it is, CNY doesn't have as much meaning to me and the younger generation, I suppose, compare to the older generation. I will not be surprised that I will one day cease to celebrate CNY as the reason for celebration becomes more remote to me in the future. I am not saying that I will be abandoning my cultural identity, it is just that I do not see the point of celebrating the coming of Spring anymore. Perhaps, the superstitious part of me would still follow the lunar calendar, but to make a big deal out of the coming of Spring? Well, maybe I will make a big deal out of it if I have a dozen kids who are eligible to receive ang paus from relatives who do not have children. Hahaha...

But then, as morbid as I may sound, I do look forward to the once a year gathering with some friends. After all, it will not be long before everyone becomes too busy with their own family to be bothered to have a gathering with their old school mates whom they hardly spoke to. :) So, guys, better set a date to meet during CNY!


We should do this again, folks!

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