2016 - Year of the Fire Monkey It's the 7th day of Chinese New Year. Chinese call it the People's Day/man's birthday (Ren R...

2016 - Year of the Fire Monkey

It's the 7th day of Chinese New Year. Chinese call it the People's Day/man's birthday (Ren Ri), which symbolizes the birth of new life and new hope after the fight against the Nian Beast (disaster and bad luck). We stayed back and spent the new year in KL this year because my sis-in-law just gave birth not long ago and my in-laws are here helping her with the confinement. Unlike years ago when KL was always quiet with very few cars on the road at this time, this is slowly changing. More and more people (including those around me) are choosing not to go home, asking their old folks to come out instead, and even going elsewhere for holidays during this festive season. This is apparent with the significant increase in car volumes/traffic jams on the road and bustling shopping malls. So why are these people breaking away from the Chinese New Year tradition? Here are some of the reasons I've heard so far:

Annoying traffic jams

Imagine being stuck in your car for hours on the highway, having an overwhelming urge to pee but the next R&R or petrol station is nowhere in sight (I'm sure we all agree that it is difficult and unpleasant to hold it in...Can't even keep the safety belt buckled nicely. Lol!), listening to all the crying, whining and shouting (for those travelling with young children), there is no way to u-turn and get out of it. Some journeys, especially towards the north, take up to 12 hours to reach and this may just be too much for some people. In order to dodge the traffic, they decide to stay back or to move the celebration here, for convenience sake. Having the old folks down here is also easier compared to the hustle of bringing a carloads of stuffs back when travelling with toddlers/kids.

Saving money (Lesser people you meet = lesser angpows)

People used to say the amount doesn't matter, it's the red packet blessing that counts. Well, the truth is, it actually does! If the amount is small, it doesn't look good and mind you, people do talk about it behind your back, especially if you are perceived to be better off. When you go back to kampungs (hometowns) where everyone seems to know everybody, you are bound to see many kids and single youngsters, be it relatives or neighbors. Some might even ask you to give extra for their daughters', sons' or some distant relatives' kids who are not around at that time -_-. With the current economy and weaker Ringgit, most are already grumbling about not having enough money to spend, what more giving big angpows. So, no see means no give.  

Avoiding the interrogation 

When you are single...

"When are you gonna get a boyfriend/girlfriend?"
"Who and who already got married with a kid. Same age as u."
"You are too old to get angpow from me. This is the last time, OK?"

When you are in a relationship...

"When are the 2 of you gonna tie the knot?"
"When I was at your age, I've already got a kid, or 2."
"What are you waiting for? Both of you are not getting any younger. Older mothers have a higher risk of pregnancy-related complications, you know?"

When you are married with no kids...

"Your parents are eager to carry grandkids, give them one quick."
"The 2 of you are having problems, aren't you?"
"Maybe she is having difficulty getting pregnant." (It's funny why they usually think the women are the ones having problems)

There is no escape for those who are married with one kid either...

"When are you giving your first child a younger brother or sister?"
"Your first child is 1yo already, so it's time for a 2nd one. What are you waiting for?"
"The nearer the gap, the better, since you can take care of them together. Otherwise, you would have to start all over again, or you won't feel like having a 2nd one anymore."

When your kid is >1yo...

"Why can't he/she eat these CNY goodies? He/she is old enough what."
"If you don't let them eat now, what if their immune system can't take it next time?"
"So pitiful. This mummy deprived her baby of all these nice snacks."

And in gatherings...

"What are you working as now?"
"How many kids do you have?"
"My kid is studying in this famous school and he scored how many 'A's in the last exam. What about your kid?" 
Then, an awkward silence. . . *cricket sound*

Any of these ring a bell? Haha.

Suddenly, everyone ESPECIALLY those busybody aunties become relationship/fertility/family planning/education/nutrition EXPERTS. Get used to it. I'm not sure if this is an Asian thing or it's the same throughout the world...

For the past few days, I've been hearing and reading a lot of complaints from mummies, particularly first time mums like myself (Older folks tend to think that they are more experienced and that new mummies like us don't know anything), complaining and ranting about relatives feeding their babies/toddlers/kids sweets, chocolates, crackers, cookies, biscuits, tarts made from bleached, processed flour, salt etc. I consider myself lucky so far, as I've managed to breeze through the last whole week without a hitch in trying to defend what's good for my little one when it comes to the so-called Chinese New Year goodies. Though I've been asked twice why can't my LO eat some of the cookies, I simply answered, "I don't care what other kids eat coz each mum has her own way of raising their kids. She will have plenty of chances to eat all these flavorful unhealthy junk food in the future. If there is a choice of giving her healthier better food for as long as I can possibly help it, especially when her young and tiny little body is still developing, why not?"

Anyway, I'm sure everyone has their own plans, so lets just mind our own business and enjoy the jolly New Year. At the end of the day, Chinese New Year is an occasion and time to be with our loved ones. To those who made it through the 'interrogations', congratulations!! I hereby end this post by wishing all the Chinese out there Gong Xi Fa Cai!! :D


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