I’ve come to like chinese new year more and more. While the ‘literal’ new year as it seems to have come to be is more about getting-out, partying and painting anything red with your reds, the traditional chinese new year has always been about the return of the flock, remembering communal ideals and just catchin’ up, catchin’ up.
And the food: instead of greasy fries, alcohol and cake, there’s far more creative carbo-laden fare (this year’s winners are kueh bangkit and pineapple tarts) and pokka drinks, and reunion dinners.
While the cusp between Dec 31st and Jan 1st leaves one typically spent and all worn down, chinese new year is about re-collection: renewing memories, remembering one’s place in the family (regardless of whether you bring that back home), trading stories (and actually remembering them), and angbaos.
You might be tired at the end of the house-hopping, but the unmarrieds at least will not be broke. In fact, i do believe this new year is more conducive for resolution making, and cementing. all the enforced sitting down, rubbing shoulders with slighter unfamiliars, makes for some subtle mental breakthroughs.
Even if it’s just going home and know, more firmly than before, your path ahead for the new year is the one you choose, for better for worse. or deciding that kids are just little adults set loose (ie. not cute angels).
It’s the penultimate family occasion for many families. for those with a complex pull-push relationship with theirs, chinese new year is quite usually an eye-opener.
Speaking of eye-openers, i love how alecia neo tries to illuminate by taking her viewer along the process, riding the waves, stumbling through, hopefully coming out to see clearer.
Here’s my favourite picture of a few she entered in a photography competition: