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Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Gong Xi Fa Cai! Happy Chinese New Year!

May the Year of the Golden Pig bring you good health and porks-perity. Oink lai oink lai!

After much negotiation, pleading and convincing, I finally got my kids to put on some red / CNY clothes and take some pictures early this morning before we went for work and childcare. They were pretty much in the I-just-woke-up zone, but at least we got 1 out of 2 of them to look and smile at the camera haha.

Look at Amy! Totally in her own dreamland haha!

I’ve been trying to hold on a little more to our Chinese culture this year. I showed Amy how to make lanterns out of ang pow packets, and insisted on getting them in red today. We also managed to have our reunion dinner (steamboat! thank you hubby!) yesterday, and I’ve been teaching them to say ‘Gong Xi Fa Cai’. I tried to look for yee sang at the Asian supermarket, but alas, I was too late and it was all sold out. The good pineapple tarts were gone too! There were other selections of CNY snacks but I wasn’t really keen on them.

I’m definitely missing the CNY feels and atmosphere back in Malaysia. To be fair, there are quite a number of CNY celebrations and performances around Melbourne too. There are events and shows, and a lot of Chinese foods are available. But most of these are only held in the city or selected suburbs, and they are all quite some drive away from where we are.

Also, what I miss is actually not so much the performances (although I do want to see a lion dance), but the practices – visiting families and friends, exchanging gifts with kam (mandarins), bak kua (um, don’t know what this is called in English) and other food stuff like crackers and pineapple tarts, giving ang pows to those younger and single, and watching funny Chinese movies on TV (yes, like Chow Sing Chi movies).

Oh, and listening to dong dong chiang music being played over and over on radio and in shopping malls! I know we used to roll our eyes at them, but we secretly enjoyed them and now I miss them all.

I also liked how it was so hard to miss the CNY vibe in Malaysia, because the whole country celebrates it together. Now in Australia, I feel as though I have the responsibility of consciously teaching and exposing my kids to our Chinese culture – something I find difficult because I am not an expert myself! But yet, some traditions and practices are what make us unique as an ethnic, and should be preserved and passed down. And if this is not done intentionally, Amy and Alistair will easily become ‘lost’ – not quite Aussie, not quite Chinese, not quite Malaysian.

How are you celebrating CNY? If you’re also in Australia or any other countries that do not observe CNY as a whole, I would love to hear about how you celebrate too!

Gong Xi Fa Cai again!

 

Love,

Natalie

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