1. Before joining the gambling sessions, put some money aside for your cab ride home. First point.
The four long days of main Chinese New Year celebrations are over in Singapore. Its a sunny Wednesday morning, the new lunar year has begun and my desk is still filled with as much work as last year. If there was snow I would feel like being back home in Europe, and welcoming the New Year with a hot coffee and a snowball on my neighbors window.
And although the Chinese New Year celebrations will continue for another 13 days, many colleagues are still on their holiday, the Orange trees are still flanking my office doors and McDonald’s is still offering the “CNY Prosperity Menu”, I decided to draw my conclusion about this years celebrations already today and put a final line under this Chinese New Year topic, until we will welcome the roaring year of the Tiger in 2010.
(Read: Which Chinese New Year Animal Are You?Find Out!)
2. You Can Attend A Reunion Dinner Without Being Part Of The Family
Having been invited to the important Reunion Dinner on Chinese New Year evening for the first time, I felt anything but comfortable. I felt both honored and confused. But not being part of the family I wondered if a “Reunion” with me wouldn’t be somehow awkward. Thoughts ran through my head, “The only Ang Moh… Doing Something Wrong … Not speaking mandarin…”
In the end I prepared as good as possible. I got the Oranges, the little present, I read over all my posts again and on the bus ride over I fired questions at my friend, squeezing the last bit of CNY information out of her. I definitely wanted to avoid any embarrassment through doing something wrong. I cannot confirm the stereotype Ang Moh picture under any circumstances. I repeat, Cannot!
(Read: 10 Things You Should Never Do At Chinese New Year!)
I even called another friend for help. And when he replied that I should simply avoid talking about Porn and Orgies, I finally felt the tension floating away a bit.
In the end all my fears confirmed to be unnecessary. It was a wonderful experience and evening, and although I wasn’t part of the family I definitely felt like being it. (And I received my first Hong Bao, wohooo!)
3. You Can Not NOT Eat
I had planned another dinner tonight, but got cancellations from half of the guests since they were sick with Too-Much-Eatniss. In fact, I rolled over this morning feeling sick myself.
I cant remember having eaten so much in four consecutive days. Since it is considered rude not to stick your meat or veggies in the boiling soup of the Steamboats you will be greeted by at every ones home, the digits on your bathroom scale will just keep on increasing until those days are over. And you cant do anything.
4. Dont Leave The House Without Your Earplugs
I already felt like being “normalized” to the daily “Tsching Bung BANG” wakeup sounds from down the streets, colorful dragons instead of the Kellogs Frog on my breakfast table and the, at least in my opinion, completely out of rhythm operating guys swinging their drumsticks.
But when I got put into a state of total audio destruction at 7AM, just having returned from a very eventful night before, I felt like getting my sword and fighting these dragons my own.
They had put up their morning ritual right on the rooftop of my building!? What the hell, 10 guys torturing their drums, were dancing and moving around the pool and BBQ area. I rubbed my eyes, but it definitely wasn’t a dream. So, back to bed, earplugs right where they belong, and trying to find some more rest.
(Read: Chinese New Year Through The Eyes Of An Expat!)
5. Not Everyone Beliefs In The Superstitious Rules Of CNY
I felt kind of bad when I was not even wearing a red shirt for my visits on the first day of the Chinese New Year, but when my local friends greeted me in pitch black tops, I again, felt kind of relieved.
“And I thought wearing black would be a total No-Go!?“, I asked, just to get presented with 10 neatly polished and red colored nails, “Thats enough“. I understood.
And also the “No washing of your hair or cleaning up your flat rules” seemed to be not as important as I thought. At least the appearance and look of the female friends, still comes before the old traditions. Point.
The only thing that everyone really paid attention to, were in my opinion the mandatory Oranges and the number in which they were handed over. Don’t fall into the trap of uneven numbers my friend.
.. will be a short one this year.
My Chinese New Year experience got another very significant boost this year. Transforming a lot of things that I eyed at skeptical last year, into traditions and rules, evolving out of fine history, and more then understandable now.
I much more felt like being part of the celebrations, attending my first reunion dinner, visiting friends on the first day and gambling till the sun comes up again. I received my first Hong Bao and I finally learned the most important words:
Gong Xi Fa Cai!!