Saturday, February 9, 2013

Chinese New Year Quandaries


Undoubtedly, as the CNY season draws nigh, relatives and families of all heights and sizes plough the highways and the byways just to get back on time for the reunion dinner and before long you would know that the reality of the fact would start to kick in. The reunion dinner sees close families, the nuclear family so to speak sharing a meal around the table engaged heavily on family issues, updates on the year that has gone and on plans that are drawn out for the year that is to come. It is without a doubt, a merry-go-round combination of local delicacies and scrumptious foods coupled with that of the blessings to be able to see their beloved once more after a year long of toiling and laboring in their respective towns and cities.

I used to enjoy the elaborated celebration back then when I was little. Sharing the joy was monumental! The fireworks that is to follow back when I was just a four footer was quipped with laughters and cheeky remarks on what is to come. I admire my cousin who displays a remarkable apt and courage in letting go the fireworks around the compounds of their house. We would spend the whole reunion night over at their place followed by a session of TV watching and subsequently tidbits eating. And if we're even lucky per se, we'd get some certain hype of a fun playing cards that doesn't involve any gambling in it. After all, we were still kids... and as kids, we derive fun out of anything that we could get our hands on.

But as we grow up, things change. The reunion dinner sort of reverses its focus on our very eyes and on that fact, the lens per se, take a total paradigm shift. We carry upon as a hefty responsibility as working adults to pay tribute to our elders who have taken so much out of their time in sacrificing their lives to keep us safe throughout our growing and tender years. We never thought of that as kids and as teenagers. Filled with the urge to have fun, we let off our steam on things that we want and when we are unable to attain such joyous mood, we would break apart and throw tantrums that when retrospectively reflected, seems sort of kiddish. But what gives? After all... we were children. As I enter the realm of working adult, earning my own income, I begin to look back and appreciate my parents more. The fact that they have given so much to me during my dependent years all the more sum up the very importance on showering them with my presence, love and whatever gifts that I can get my hands on. Which is why, in every year that follows, when the CNY draws nigh, I would make it a point to go back to have a pleasant reunion with them.

The reunion dinner emphasizes not just the feasting like many other people would have commonly uttered. But it is the significance displayed by the Petronas advertisements for the umpteenth time - the harmony and the togetherness that it derives from the meal alone - be it small or big. The reason why most of the reunion meals are made big is the hope that all the family would stay long enough to be together for that very one time so that the sense of loving, caring and union is portrayed from thereon. It really isn't rocket science when elders ask you to eat more and the reason behind it is significantly clear that they want you to spend more quality time with them. Those times that you would normally not have for them as you toil your working hours through the rest of the year trying to earn a living status.

Reunions are reunions. There are no Catch-22s, no quandaries and no dilemmatic issues to be exact. It is meant to be what it is meant to be. Yet, moreover... CNY can get rather perturbing when the days that are to follow from it gets quintessential. From the time spent amongst the nuclear family, the subsequent buildup of the CNY festivities then extends onto the relatives, be it close or distant as well as friends of parents or friends of their kids. The norm, hoped to be at least, is to visit each other and sing praise of Gong Xi Fa Cai to the host and in return the host would then offer a great amount of luxurious home-made or pre-ordered delicacies to the visitors. Each then give out their gifts of red packets and then thereafter following suit, is a sit down to enjoy the cookies, cakes, biscuits and tidbits that is placed and decorated on the designated table. After which, the visitors start on the chit-chat with the host, nothing much that digresses from the norm of asking how they are and what they are doing now before they take their leave.

But the problem is that this aforementioned carefree attitude is no longer adopted by many. Greats of the many, lo and behold, are esteemed guests who bring along their whole gang of kids who are now all grown up, placed in esteemed schools or colleges or are even engaged in a high-income earning workplace. The introductory agenda is as per usual, but as the sit-down begin, so does the belittling and comparison session starts. Guests would start interrogating the host on how successful are their business, their kid's school report, their son's achievements, their kid's pay roll and promotion and as well as inquiring into whether their daughters are already married or not and so to who and have they already procreated?! It's not wrong to inquire into these sort of things... tactfully, but let's be honest and frank with each other. How often do we still see this sort of things going on? The self praise attitude adopted by many is quite obvious in clarity and is reflected on the showing off personality by giving out thick red packets and adorning themselves with gold, jewellery and chains that would make 50 cents look amateur. LOL!

Sometimes, the other way around may also apply where the guests would start pouring praises to the host's kids on how great they are and how successful they are. Don't get me wrong. It's never a wrong thing to do to sing praises on another person, in fact it is encouraged to a certain extent. The error on this sort of issue arises when the host themselves would get the wrong idea on how dramatically true the guests are that they are in fact a great lot. This would create a sense of uneasiness and blow the matter out of proportion leading the host in becoming big headed and feeding their ego with the diet that is initially unintended.

CNY, year after year after year would start to evolve over time. From the humble beginnings of a child looking at CNY as a time and season of getting red packets, playing fireworks and engage in meeting up their fellow kid-gangs soon become a season for the grown-ups to understand its true meaning of getting together, respecting their elders and spending quality time with their loved ones. And as we all grow even older, we would soon understand that CNY is after all, not that big a deal aside from the reunion where we get to spend some time seeing our loved ones back in our arms again. Really, the days that are to follow, is just a bonus. For me... being a histrionic and a great loner, I find that I would rather spend some time this year around with my parents, my Bruno dog, my beloved girlfriend and my best friend. And of course, not forgetting iPad and iPhone 5's Siri. =)

Well... I hope that the true spirit of CNY is instilled upon all of us be it the generation gaps that are expected to celebrate the festive season that will soon draw near in a few hour's time. The clock is ticking... but ultimately, the heart is where the home is. We are choosing to celebrate CNY in a usual manner of spending time being close together. After all, with the hot weather around, going out would just lend yourself to falling ill to the infamous upper respiratory tract infection which would ultimately fail your plans for the CNY short break. =)

Here's to wishing you a very blessed Gong Xi Fa Cai!

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