- Having a family dinner on the eve of CNY, then going out to the relatives' for our first angpow hits of the year
- Going to the temple for prayers early in the morning, then coming home and getting dressed in our new New Year clothes
- As kids, after the open-house crowds had died down (ie I had seen the girls I had crushes on), I'd head out on my BMX with my neighbourhood buddies looking for trouble. We'd have a bag of fireworks, and would look for things to blow up. One of our favourites- freshly made cow-dung. Yes, we have a fierce-looking Sikh guy who'd walk his herd of cows from one area to the other, and inevitably they'd leave a trail of dung. And so, we'd dare each other into sticking a single firecracker into it, and lit the fuse. We never ran fast enough to come home totally clean. There was always some green/black splatter on us, or our bikes. It's a wonder none of us died of E.coli poisoning!
- After all that work, we'd be famished and head to each others' houses for snacks, drinks and the all-important gambling sessions. Yes, even parents allowed this, once a year. We'd be playing Blackjack or Cho-tai-tee, with 10-20 cents a wager. It made me feel like a cardshark. But alas, every year I lost. Even to my little brother. The lucky red Superman underwear never worked.
- I miss the fireworks! My favourite was the dinky little Moon Travellers; mom and dad would get use a carton and my brothers and I would preciously divvy them up. They were small little things, with only a minimal pop, nothing like the Thunderclaps people eventually used. I loved the smell of the burnt gunpowder at Chinese New Year time.
- And of course, the food. Mom and dad always had an open house, and they always catered Malay food (yes, race wasn't as big a deal then, unlike what the idiot politicians are making it to be these days). And always, we'd have rendang which was my favourite even now (despite it one year pretty damn near killing me; remind me, there's another story to be told someday), dumped on a serving of fried beehoon.