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Thursday, February 10, 2005

Chinese New Year

It's that time of the year when relatives gather together to chat and catch up, while the children receive red packets filled with money, and oranges are aplenty on every table.

This is the first year that I decided to give ang pows. Usually, only married couples give them, but I learned in the newspapers that once you start working, even if you're single, you should be giving red packets too. So I gave my parents and grandparents. If I had direct nephews/nieces, I'd give them too.

I went with my parents to my auntie's house, which has become the main gathering place because my maternal grandfather lives there. Some other relatives were there already. I found out that my recently unemployed cousin just returned from a three-week trek through Viet Nam and was looking forward to more bumming, that lucky girl.

Later, more relatives arrived, together with the new generation. Two things I noticed:
  1. None of the kids seemed to recognise me, or at least they would only give me cursory glances of acknowledgement. At least I got a wave back when I waved at a niece who was leaving later (the same niece who was enthralled by the candy (second last paragraph)).
  2. The kids wait for ang pows to be given to them. Back in my day (wow, I sound so old!), we had to greet each of our uncles and aunties before receiving a red packet.
We stayed from 10:45am to about 3pm, then went to visit my paternal grandmother at my uncle's house. After staying there for about an hour, we had an early dinner at a Malay Muslim restaurant before returning home.

Thank goodness for multi-racial Singapore. I remember when I was in Madison during Thanksgiving, it was so difficult to find a place to eat. The only places that were open were the few Chinese restaurants. All of the other shops and restaurants were closed and the whole place was like a ghost town. Over here in Singapore, when it's a Chinese holiday, the Malay and Indian shops are open. And when it's a Malay or Indian holiday, the Chinese shops are open. Whew!

So, as a cousin greeted us:
HAPPY YEAR OF THE COCK!

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