Chinese new year (CNY) is always a great time of reunion.
Many of us may be working far away from home town, busy schedule prevents us to visit our parents and relatives often. CNY is one of those beautiful moments you can share with them.
I heard young people telling me that CNY is such a waste of time. Big groups of family friends gather together doing “aimless” activities like gambling, chatting (or gossiping), cooking and washing. CNY is no longer treasured by our younger generations. Why? I can think of a few reasons for this phenomenon.
- Nuclear family structure becoming a norm – How do we define a family now? The first thing comes into our mind is “husband, wife and children”, right? This is our society’s “normal” family structure. We do not encourage living with our parents because they tend to interfere our family affairs. There are many good points to live as a nuclear family – the couple can learn to cope with life independently and therefore develop maturity in their characters. The downside of this is that these children grow up without interacting with grandparents very much. Grandpa and gandma are guests who come to visit them once in a blue moon – and their visits often create arguments between their parents. The antidote is to increase the opportunities for the children to interact with extended family members like going outings, travelling, shopping or having meals together. Do not make CNY is the only time the children meeting their uncles, aunties, cousins and nephews.
- 核心家庭成为常态 – 现在我们如何给“家庭”定义呢？第一个进入脑袋的应该是“丈夫，妻子和他们的孩子们”，对吗？这种“核心家庭”是我们社会所谓正常的家庭结构。我们不再鼓励跟父母同住，因为他们会越权干涉我们的家务事。当然，核心家庭有它可取之处 – 夫妻俩可以学习如何独立处理他们的生活，从而帮助发展他们更成熟的品格。可惜的是这样的家庭结构让剥夺了孩子跟祖父母交流相处的机会。爷爷奶奶，公公婆婆是偶尔在他们家中出现的客人 – 儿往往他们的造访成为父母争吵的原因。处理的方式是让孩子有更多的机会跟延伸家庭成员有更多交流的机会，譬如一起去郊游，野餐，购物或共餐。别让农历新年成为孩子遇见伯伯，叔叔，姑姑，舅舅，姨妈，堂兄弟姐妹，表兄弟姐妹的唯一时间。
- Parents’ hypocrisy – When we are not with the extended family, our children hear complaints and gossips about grandparents, uncles, aunties, cousins and nephews. The words are filled with anger, jealousy and sarcasm. During CNY, they see parents’ facial expressions change and sweetest words come out “naturally” from the lips – they are seeing the hypocrisy and they hate it. What the parents ignore or despise, the children reject. The antidote is to be REAL. We live a life which always give honest credit and praise to our extended family members, stop all the striving and jealousy among siblings but be thankful for each one of them.
- 父母虚伪的品格 – 当我们的延伸家庭成员不在身边的时候，孩子听见的都是一些对他们不满的埋怨和闲话。话语中充满着愤怒，妒忌和讥讽。农历新年一到，他们看见父母马上换了另一副嘴脸，好听的话很“自然”挂在嘴边 – 孩子看到的是虚伪，他们讨厌这种嘴脸。父母所忽视和轻视的，孩子就会拒绝。解决的方法就是活得真实。我们愿意常常衷心赞美延伸家庭成员的好，停止所有的彼此争竞和妒忌，也为他们来感恩。
- The influence of Western individualistic culture – The Western education and culture is mostly based on a self-centred operational mode. When parents are not placing importance to the value of community (which is one of the core value of Chinese or oriental culture), mutual love and generosity of blessing others, we should not be surprised by our children’s inclination of living a life looking at their own interest only. They will abhor any inconvenience arising from interacting with extended family which does not bring “benefits” to them. The small amount of money inside the red packets does not worth their effort to endure the inconveniences. The antidote is to teach community and oriental value by living examples. We practice generosity by giving to family and friends’ needs, encourage to live inconveniently for the sake of others, constantly remind our children of the positive value and root of the oriental culture and not idolising the Western culture and value (though they do have many good parts for us to learn from)
- 西方个人主义的影响 – 西方的教育和文化常常以自我为出发点。当父母不再把社群价值观（它是中国和东方文化的核心价值），彼此相爱和慷慨祝福他人的美好品格视为重要，我们不能责怪孩子活出处处只为自己的自私。他们会鄙视任何毫无利益且又带来不方便的相处时间，就算是新年红包里少许的金钱也不足以让他们去承受那么一点点的不便。解决的方式是以身作则，教导他们东方传承的社群文化。我们慷慨解囊帮助有需要的亲戚和朋友，鼓励他们愿意为了别人的好处而忍受一点不方便，不断提醒孩子外国的月亮不比本地的更圆更亮 （虽然西方文化也有值得我们学习的），东方文化和我们的根里面有许多值得我们去学习和传承的正面价值。
Of course there are many more reasons and ways of helping our children to appreciate CNY and the cultural value therein. You are welcome to give your suggestions via the comment in this post.
Above all, LOVE is the main reason for us to celebrate CNY. We want to share our love with our extended family members. We want to full heartedly wish them goodwill and blessings.
A Christian friend share this CNY song with me via his FB. It was composed by his church friends. I love it – CNY is a time we recount God’s grace and blessings and be thankful in our hearts. CNY is also a time we want to share with our extended family members, relatives and friends the love of Jesus as we experience it daily.
一个基督徒朋友在面子书分享了这首他教会会友所编写的贺岁歌曲。我很喜欢 – 农历新年是我们回想神的恩典和祝福，且怀感恩的心来赞美他。农历新年，我们也要跟亲朋戚友分享耶稣的爱 – 因为我们每天都经历耶稣的爱！
I hope you enjoy this new CNY song – 蒙福
“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to have both? That’s perfection.” By Timothy Killer
Who can offer us both? Only Jesus!
走在高山，有欢欣跳跃的时候；走在低谷，有沮丧疑惑的时候 – 不管你是信徒或不是，这些都是无可避免的真实。
If you cannot trust God for the temporal, how dare you trust him for the eternal? – Spurgeon
How true! This is our common blind spot. We believe and trust Jesus for eternal life and salvation…….but we cannot even trust him for today’s problem. Our problems and issues become so much bigger than Jesus when it comes to bolts and nuts of living. Pray that we are strengthened by the Holy Spirit to truly believe and trust Him.
Giving is a virtue and it’s working out of our faith
I received this short film via a Facebook friend.
The story is very simple but the meaning is great, especially for those of us who strive so hard to be successful and rich.
What is success? To different people, it means different things.
Some measure success by the amount of money you have (I mean that kept in your possession), some by the number of properties you own, some by the string of status you put on your name card, some by the profession you are in, some by the number of friends you have (everyone is talking about EQ and networking now)……..the list if endless. However, we notice that these measures are all based on money, material possession and fame.
What is success? Continue reading
Let us not love by words only but by actions
I received this video shared by Sister Adeline this morning. I find it a great encouragement for us to continue loving in actions and not only by words.
The video is about a 30 year old man spending his time as a teacher in a poverty stricken village in Yunan Province of China. He can play guitar and compose songs. He joined a Talent Search programme with a simple desire to earn more money which could afford him to buy meat for his students. He did not mention a word of loving these children but his action spells “sacrificial love” for them and it can be understood by all.
There are so many passages in the bible telling us that our belief is like noisy gong if it does not touch others’ lives and make a difference. Continue reading
What do you value the most in life?
I received this inspirational video from Pastor Inky – and I like it!
It spells of wisdom from the professor and it highlights the main issues facing us today:
We chase after the unimportant things and forget about what is the most valuable.
What is valuable can be very different to different people. To me a simple test is this:
What money can buy cannot be most valuable;
I am looking for things which matter most in life – relationships.
农历新年终于到了 Finally….Chinese New Year is here
Time flies…..we are going to celebrate Chinese New Year Eve tomorrow. Usually it is a time when the whole family (including all extended family members) having a reunion dinner together. With the increasing individualistic value and extended family disappearing rapidly, the younger generations may not see the significance of this event.
Do you know? For most of elderly family members, this is a day they have been looking forward for the entire year. This is especially true when most of their children and grand children are staying away from them for the rest of the year.
他们殷切盼望见到你们 They are looking forward to seeing you…………….
It reminds us the year is coming to an end soon and a completely new year awaiting us. I pray that there is peace in every heart, peace in every nation and peace in the world.
And for every Christian, may Philippians 4:7 be with us always; “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Red is the favorite colour in Chinese New Year. Wherever you go, shopping centres, markets, shops, schools, recreation places and streets, you cannot miss the “redness” of these places. I wrote a Chinese article last year about this special colour in this festive season. Let me share with you.
前几天,我买了些新年装饰品,墙上贴上红春联,客厅挂一串闪闪发亮的红爆竹,角落摆设红扇,置放一束红桃花,一篮子的柑和礼篮,再从书房拿出杭州买的”枫桥夜泊”的字画挂在饭厅………….真的满室春意盎然.爸爸一踏进家门,马上露出笑脸:”哈 哈,这样红彤彤的才有新年的气氛!” 他拖着小侄儿的手,站在春联面前,操着浓浓的客家音念着:”甜甜蜜蜜庆团圆,欢欢喜喜迎新年.”
圣经里的箴言如此说:”一句话说得合宜，就如金苹果在银网子里。”金苹果在银网的画面本身就是一种美,绝对符合赏心悦目的标准.如果我们常年都慎言,诚心用话语祝福鼓励身边的人,我相信社会更美,我们的面容也会变得”赏心悦目”吧? 我希望天天是新年,人人讲好话,一切的误会,不欢, 咒诅和怨恨,都要了结,定意要重建温馨和睦的关系.
Besides seeing red everywhere, you also hear Chinese new year songs being played everywhere. Most of the songs are traditional with fire crackers, drums and cymbals as the background. They are great to add to the festive atmosphere.
However, I like a more sentimental Chinese songs sung by Kelvin Lau 刘勇男 & Angie Leong 梁爱慈 recorded in 1997. Click the video below and start enjoying it.
Did you say, “Merry Christmas”?
I know, Christmas is coming soon. It’s just less than a month away. Are you starting your busy schedule yet?
I can imagine you are busy shopping and buying all sort of things to decorate your beautiful home. Yes, glittering ornaments hanging on a Christmas trees at the corner of your living hall is a class of its own. You feel good that you have a share of this holiday season.
Of course you will not let the church goes bare during Christmas season, right? You will volunteer yourself to put up the most traditional nativity scene at the church’s entrance. A small wooden bed surrounded by hays and sticks; may be a small little doll sleeping on the bed. How about putting up a few cattle around it, it adds to the Christmas atmosphere.
One more thing, your children must join the church’s carol team. When they stand up there wearing their best outfits, singing with cheers and confidence, your face will beam with happiness and pride. “Haven’t I brought up my children well? Look at them. They are the shining stars among the other children.” Parents are usually not objective when they come to looking at their own children. 🙂
Are these Christmas all about?
I came across the following video which I thought captured the heart cry of those who truly know the meaning of Christmas. Go ahead and listen to it and tell me what you think about it.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
I love receiving emails which contain stories.
I particularly like my friend Simon Yap’s emails. He has been sending me different stories, jokes and sometimes riddles – and without fail these emails would either send me into laughter or set me thinking about life. Instead of enjoying them myself, I choose to share some of them with you.
Thank you, Simon, for your friendship. Let the email’s stories coming.
This story has an encouraging message which keeps us walking courageously as a Christian in this world. I hope all of you will enjoy it.
Woman and a Fork Continue reading
What is so special about this day? It may not mean much to most people but it is an important day for the Chinese and Vietnamese. Today is the 15th day of the eighth month in the Lunar calendar, a day of a full moon, which we commonly call it the Mid-Autumn Festival. （中秋节）. Originally the Festival was to celebrate plentiful harvests and family reunion. Most families, especially children, love to light up lanterns and walk in the streets or gardens.
Moon in Chinese literature and songs
The Chinese has many poems （诗词）and songs associate with the moon. We have a special kind of love for the moon. During our secondary school time, we are to memorize many nice poems written by the ancient scholars. One of the popular ones is LiBai (李白)’s “Quiet Night Thought” （静夜思） written in the Tang Dynasty：
Moonlight shines on my bed side, it looks like snow on the ground. Raising my head I see the moon, bowing my head I think of my homeland.
An attempt to put music into this poem can be viewed below:
When I was much younger, something always happened at the dinner table.
Which parts of chicken and fish are mother’s favorites?
When there is a whole chicken on the table, my mother would take the two drumsticks and put them into the plates of my brother and mine. She would then say this, “The two chicken wings are for your father.” (All of us are fully aware that, up to these days when he is over 80 years old, Dad still loves chicken wings. We have given up advising him not to eat these most unhealthy parts of a chicken.) And then mother smiled and said, “I love eating the neck and the boney parts of the chicken.”
When there is a fish on the table, the unsaid rules in the family are that I will take the tail and the two fins, my brother and Dad will take the “meaty” parts. Mother always takes the fish head. She said, “Fish head is delicious. Anyway, nobody knows how to eat it in this family.”
When I grew a bit older, I thought for myself, “Does mother really like boney parts of the chicken and fish head? Did she eat them because Continue reading