Chinese New Year to me is like Christmas to a lot of people here. It’s the time when whole families get together and gossip catch up over good food. Celebrations last for days and days. I haven’t spent New Year at home for seven years now, this year will be the eighth. Some relatives at home think it’s a good enough reason not to give me ang pau’s (red packets) but my mum still tries her best to collect them for me! My brother totally refused to ask them for my share of ang pau’s.
In no particular order, here’s what I miss most about it:
1. Mum’s pineapple tarts. So moreish! My dad’s favourite. I remember being trusted to only roll out the extra bits of pastry, cut out small diamonds and press them on top of the tarts. Then I graduated to rolling out the pineapple jam. Never really went beyond that. Never really made good tart bases from the cookie cutter either.
2. Grandma’s New Year’s eve dinner with shark fin’s soup (I know, so unethical these days but back then there wasn’t as much consciousness over things like these).
3. Crazy ass spring cleaning before new year. Bad luck to clean out the house on the day itself! On second thoughts I don’t miss this so much.
4. Very superficially, new clothes! New shoes!
5. Visiting Grandpa.
6. Raiding Grandma’s bottles full of cashewnuts, peanuts, prawn spring rolls, etc etc.
7. Making the rounds to my numerous uncles’ and aunts’ homes. Meeting all my cousins, newborn nieces and nephews, most of whom I only see during new year. Love it!
8. Ooo, big banquet bashes at the restaurant (shark fin’s soup again!), courtesy of my uncle’s expenses account. Then he retired. So we resorted to potluck.
9. Staying over at one of my aunt’s homes. Hunting for the most delicious kampung (village) durian. Driving down south to the fish market for a barbecue later. Otak-otak and o’chien! Dragging myself out of bed for an early morning walk in Tanjung, then breakfast at the mamak place.
10. Really corny Chinese New Year songs sung by little girls in pig tails!
11. Most of all, my family.
Happy New Year everyone!