Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Chinese New Year

I read somewhere that the exodus during Chinese New Year is the world's largest annual human migration.
Something the rest of the world have trouble understanding. But to us, it's as simple as "balik kampumg".
This year, I'm especially excited to say that we will be joining the madness.
It has been 2 years since my last trip back (solo- part business as I gave a few lectures). It has been 3 years since Kris and the girls went. And they have never been there for Chinese New Year.
This is important to me. After all, being 1/2 angmoh, being raised in midwest USA where it's pretty homogenous and largely Caucasian, one doesn't get the feel for CNY. You don't get the firecrackers, food, and red being plastered everywhere (except perhaps for Valentine's day). Yes, we've attended a few CNY dos in the local colleges, but it's hard to get into it when the lion dance troupe consists of white guys.
And so, it's important for me to have my girls (wife included) experience what was the major holiday for my family when I was growing up. To feel and indulge in the culture and crazy traditions I grew up with.
Things like the CNY eve dinner. The midnight prayers to welcome the various Gods, with the altar facing different directions every year. The early morning routine- getting up and getting changed into our CNY clothes, the greeting mom and dad and getting our angpows, then the temple, and the open house thereafter.
Getting together with my neighborhood pals- cycling from one house to the next. Having our blackjack and cho-tai-tee sessions, feeling like a big shot betting 25 cent wagers. And, who can forget the fireworks- the Moon Travellers in the early days, graduating to Thunderclap later on.
The lion dance. The irritating but yet comforting high-pitched CNY songs by those Chinese opera singers.
Yup, we will be knee-deep in all that madness. We will be making the 21-hour flight back in the coming days, and spending a few weeks there. My siblings, whom I have not seen for years, will be there too.
Year of the Rooster, here we come!
At a CNY party with Alli 4 years ago!

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