Sunday, February 22, 2015

Things that are different this Chinese New Year



Chinese New Year has always been a huge celebration in my life. Well duh, considering the fact that my entire family is Chinese, hailing from a small traditional village. However, as I looked through the numerous photos and posts shared by my friends on the social media, coupled with the five years that I have spent abroad, I can't help but to reflect how the Chinese New Year celebration have grown and changed around the years.

Like how I've grown from a cute young boy to a dashing young man over the years. And here's a few other ways how Chinese New Year (CNY) have changed for me, and I wonder if it's the same for you too?



1. Angbaos Are No Longer a Concern

Angbaos used to be quite an integral part to CNY for me. It's one of the things that I really look forward to, ever since my parents allowed me to keep my own angbaos. Those red packets are something that I do look forward to receiving. You can't blame the younger me though, after all when we are small kids without much money to spare, angbaos are the thing that allows us to buy that toy that we have always wanted.

I still remember how I would try to arrange my CNY in such a way that allows me to collect the most angbaos from the most amount of people, pestering my mum to go as many houses as possible to 'bai nian', eager to receive as many red packets as possible, to get what's contained inside. It's something like a business venture, where I aim to maximize my profits. When I eventually learned how to ride a motorcycle, I visited as many houses as I can, with the sole purpose of collecting more angbaos. The more angbaos I could collect, the happier I was.

However, my drive to collect angbaos seemed to have dropped over the years, perhaps it might be me starting work or perhaps I'm just tired of the never ending need to collect angbaos, but now I'm just happy to receive any amount of angbaos without really caring about how much I got. It's much easier this way, I found, in that I no longer cared whether how much someone gave me, and I'm just happy to receive something at the end of the day. It makes CNY much more enjoyable I guess, where it's not about how much money you can get from the red packets, but rather appreciating each and everyone that is given to you.


2. I Can Sit Longer Now

Not sure if this is normal, but when I was growing up, there was a prolonged period of time where spending time seated in a room full of relatives seemed like a torture. Everyone's talking about something that you don't understand or have no interest in, and you're stuck there feeling incredibly awkward, waiting for time to pass. You don't know who to call or what name to use, and all you could think of is going home. 

I used to hate situations like that too, constantly finding excuses to go out with friends to escape the long gossip sessions that I was not part of, but just have to sit there because everyone was doing so. 

Things have changed though. This year I found myself being able to sit through the entire thing without the urge to want to leave early, and just join in the conversation. For families that don't get to see each other often, mostly only once a year, it's an important moment to let everyone catch up to what everyone has been doing, and just to bond. I guess I never really appreciate what these sessions really meant, until now. 

Maybe because I have a smartphone now. Or maybe I'm slowly becoming old.


3. I Have Gotten Lazier

Once upon a time ago, CNY days are packed full with activities, where I will leave the house 9am in the morning and return 11pm in the night. Or maybe even later, like way past curfew timing. Nowadays even going out to get lunch/dinner seem to big a chore, and I prefer the comfort of my home than traveling around. 


4. It's much less fun now

I remember how I would look forward to CNY because it will usually be loads of fun. I mean there's so much to do during the whole celebration period. When I was younger I would play with my cousins, running around the house and making a lot of noise. There will be fireworks and games, cards and what not. And when I grew older, there was the late night outings with friends, from cycling around the village to cards session to heart to heart talk sessions. I had a lot of fun back then.

But CNY now seems to be much duller. There's no more excitement as compared to last time, there's no playing with cousins now or having fun with friends. Nowadays it's more of catching up for old time's sake or drinking alcohol if you're up to it. You don't enjoy yourself as much now



5. Everyone's taking pictures

I don't know about you, but everyone's taking pictures with their smartphones nowadays. Like a lot Even my mum does it. Not sure if this is a good thing or not, but instead of just sitting down and talking, everyone is like wanting to take a picture to upload to social media. 

I guess this is part of how our culture has changed over the years, where taking picture has become a big thing in all gatherings. Perhaps it's for the sake of keeping memories, but who knows right.

Like I said, not sure if it's good or bad, I guess we need to see how history turns out.



So yep. That's how my Chinese New Year has changed for me over the years. Maybe it's all part of growing up. Who knows? And perhaps in a few years time, I'll be the one giving away angbaos as well. 

How about you? How has your Chinese New Year changed? Or has it stayed the same throughout the years?


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